4.5 stars – A wonderful, delightful, and delicious historical romance/suspense that follows stiff and proper Archie Curtis, still reeling from his debilitating injury that forced him out of his military service (one that he thought would be his life career) as he travels to a secluded country estate for a two-week sojourn. Although his intentions are less about relaxing and more about uncovering some mysteries that may be hidden behind all the gilded wealth.
To Archie’s chagrin, among the other visiting guests is a haughty (and very gay) poet who’s sharp tongue and lackadaisical demeanor grates on his nerves, except when he realizes they share something in common. And then things get REALLY interesting.
Although it had a slow start for me, once I got into this book, I was IN, and LOVING it. Charles is just as witty and engaging here as she is with her Magpie series, and Archie and Daniel are truly a dream team, once they iron out some of the bumps between them.
I loved Archie’s slow build to wanting Daniel (and his realization about what that means) and I loved Daniel in general, both for his facade of not-caring, for his quick thinking, and for how he carried himself, so strongly, even though he was battered with an almost constant stream of anti-Semitism and homophobia. I loved that Archie wanted to his be Viking (even though he’ll have to be subtle about it—not overtly there to protect him.)
And a special shout-out to the side-characters, especially a lovely duo of ladies that keep many important skills beneath their hats. They could have their own series!
A fantastic and thrilling read. I almost want to reread it right now, and I finished it this morning. I’m pleased as punch that the author has already announced there will be a sequel. I’m already mentally lining up to pre-order it.