Proper English by KJ CharlesProper English by KJ Charles is a good old-fashioned Edwardian country-house murder mystery.

When Pat shows up to join her best friend’s shooting party, she doesn’t expect to find herself falling for his fiancée…or thrown into the middle of a murder where her brother may well be a prime suspect. The supporting cast is the usual assortment of colorful characters, all of whom have excellent reasons for wanting the rather unpleasant victim dead. And a handy storm keeps them penned in while suspicions and anxieties are high.

The Characters

Pat and Fenella are both engaging characters who invoke and then break free from the stereotypes that society pushes them into. The story shows the frustrations and options for women who long for something outside the scripts that their era and class have written for them.

The Writing Style

The murder/detection part of the plot is tight and packed with all the desired misdirections and characters who muddle things in trying to protect each other. Almost everyone has some secondary secret that further tangles all attempts to sort out the suspects. The romance felt a bit rushed to me, but part of that is due to the length of the overall narrative.

The Pros

KJ Charles has a real feel for the era and genre and handles the dynamics of the British aristocracy with skill and deep knowledge. The legal and social issues around homosexuality ring true to the times without overshadowing the delightfulness of the various romances.

The Cons

The only real con is wishing that the author turned her hand to f/f romances more often. (The only other, much shorter, piece of hers that included an f/f couple was more heavily focused on the male characters.)

The Conclusion

If the description “cozy historic mystery with plenty of erotic content” hits your sweet spot, snap this book up at once.

Excerpt from Proper English by KJ Charles

“Oh, to hell with husbands,” Fen said, and pulled her forward. Her mouth met Pat’s, as warm and real as the night before but tasting of beer with a tang of mustard rather than brandy. She wriggled into Pat’s arms, and Pat’s hands were in her hair, and they kissed with open-mouthed wonder, because Fen was free and wanted to be here with Pat, and it was all right. It was all wonderfully, marvellously all right.

Pat could have shouted. Instead she slid a hand up, cupping the edge of Fen’s breast, and felt her whimper. Fen’s hands were on her now, sliding over what was by comparison a deeply inadequate bosom, but which still did the job because they both quivered at the touch. They were kissing wildly. Fen strained forwards into Pat’s grip, and pulled back again with a mumble of annoyance. “Sitting on this miserable dress.” She tugged at fabric to no avail.

“Take it off,” Pat said, and clapped her hand to her mouth as Fen’s eyes widened. “I meant, take it out. From under you. I really did mean that.”

“How disappointing.” Fen’s eyes were sparkling bright. “Would off be bad?”

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Series

Think of England

Think Of England (m/m historical romance)

Bits and Bobs

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