cover image The Gentleman’s Book of Vices

The Gentleman’s Book of Vices

Jess Everlee. Carina Adores, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-335-67998-7

Everlee’s sparkling debut finds rakish Charlie Price, a collector of erotic novels in 1883 London, falling for his favorite author, Miles Montague, who writes under the pseudonym Reginald Cox. Struggling bookshop owner Miles is initially wary of the handsome stranger who tracks him down for an autograph, convinced that Charlie intends to blackmail him for his tales of queer sex—until, as insurance, they each confess “something damning” to insure mutual destruction should either come forward. When Miles returns Charlie’s visit, poor timing has him comically mistaken by Charlie’s soon-to-be mother-in-law for a sommelier and he’s tasked with selecting wine for Charlie’s dreaded impending nuptials. The two men act on their passions in Charlie’s library later that day, and their budding secret relationship inspires Miles to write, but there’s a clock on their romance. Though Charlie’s marriage is a loveless match to get him out of debt, Miles refuses to have an affair with a married man. As Charlie plots to call off the wedding and pursue a future with Miles, a bid to buy Miles’s shop threatens the men’s happiness. Charming supporting characters and vivid period detail enhance this enchanting romance. Everlee shows real promise. Agent: Laura Zats, Headwater Literary. (Dec.)