Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing The Gentleman’s Book of Vices by Jess Everlee. I was so excited to be approved for this ARC because it sounded like it would be a great read. If the synopsis or my review piques your interest, you can pick the book up starting tomorrow, November 29, 2022.
Is their real-life love story doomed to be a tragedy, or can they rewrite the ending?
Finely dressed and finely drunk, Charlie Price is a man dedicated to his vices. Chief among them is his explicit novel collection, though his impending marriage to a woman he can’t love will force his carefully curated collection into hiding.
Before it does, Charlie is determined to have one last hurrah: meeting his favorite author in person.
Miles Montague is more gifted as a smut writer than a shopkeep and uses his royalties to keep his flagging bookstore afloat. So when a cheerful dandy appears out of the mist with Miles’s highly secret pen name on his pretty lips, Miles assumes the worst. But Charlie Price is no blackmailer; he’s Miles’s biggest fan.
A scribbled signature on a worn book page sets off an affair as scorching as anything Miles has ever written. But Miles is clinging to a troubled past, while Charlie’s future has spun entirely out of his control…
***Thank you to Carina Adores for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
I’m not quite sure where to start with this one. I had so much fun while reading it that I finished it in a day. The story was easy to sink into, and I loved the historical setting even though there were a few anachronisms. I’m not an expert on this period of British history (late 1800’s), and I didn’t even notice them until I saw other reviews point them out. I fell in love with the characters almost immediately, and the story did a wonderful job of peeling back their layers and making them feel real.
The premise of this book was just so much fun. A man, Charlie Price, loves his smut and wants to get the autograph of his favorite writer to add to his illicit collection. The only problem is the writer is anonymous. After using his friend to investigate, Charlie discovers the writer’s identity and decides to ambush him to get his signature. The writer, Miles, freaks out about his identity being revealed, and hilarity ensues along with the beginning of their steamy romance. To make matters even more complicated, Charlie is due to be married in a few weeks to a woman he admires but does not love.
I loved the dynamic between Charlie and Miles. Charlie was a certified rake who spent most of his free time in underground gay sex clubs. He was an eternal optimist. Although, that optimism hid a deeper and more complex person with understandable fears beneath its shiny veneer. Whereas, Miles wore his fear and paranoia on his sleeve. After his former lover was persecuted for being gay, Miles mostly stuck to himself, his anonymous writing, and the failing bookstore that his dead lover left him, which is why it was such a shock to the system when Charlie waltzed into his life knowing the secret of his smut writing gig. They had a delicious sunshine/grumpy thing going for them, as well as a light sub/dom dynamic. The chemistry was great, if a little quick, and their illicit affair really felt tense, as if the shoe could drop for either of them at a moments notice. Even though I assumed they’d get their HEA or HFN by the end, there were moments where I really questioned if that would be the case, which I really liked.
I loved the found family of the gay club, as well. It had such a fun and wholesome vibe considering it was a sex club. lol. The workers and regular patrons truly had each other’s backs, and I was excited to see that the bar owner will be the topic of the second book in this series. Charlie’s bride-to-be was also a great character. When I first read the synopsis, I was worried that she would get completely shafted by Charlie’s selfishness, but she was treated much differently than I expected and was a major character in her own right rather than a victim of the circumstance.
There was only one thing that keeps this from being a five star read for me: one specific fade to black scene. The moment had been built up for so long, and the importance of the emotional intimacy attached to it was heavily underscored leading up to the interaction. Then the scene just ended and skipped to the next morning. It was SO frustrating because it felt like such an integral moment for their relationship that the reader didn’t get to experience firsthand. There was plenty of other spicy content in the book, and I just don’t understand why that scene wasn’t also included.
Overall, this was a hilarious, heartfelt, and slightly raunchy romance filled with big personalities, tons of bookish goodness, and plenty of drama. I don’t know how anyone could not laugh, or at least smile, while reading it. If you enjoy MM romance, I definitely think you should give this one a chance. Therefore, I rate the book 4 out of 5 stars.