Sebastian Lewis never expected to become a duke. But with the sudden deaths of his cousin and uncle, Sebastian's position changes. He is determined to fulfill his new responsibilities with grace, even if it means remarrying, and even if the attractions of women, so often lauded by poets, fail to interest him.
Captain William Carlisle, newly returned from India, is elated when he meets Sebastian. Nobody knows of his inclinations, but his harrowing experiences in battle have prompted him to reach for the type of companionship he longs for. He thinks Sebastian might feel an attraction as well, but to his dismay, he discovers that Sebastian is courting his sister, Dorothea.
After a semi-arranged engagement and a disconcerting romantic tangle with William, Sebastian escapes London to look after his manor, only to face mysterious thefts, a headless ghost, and the arrival of his fiancée, her brother, and his family. Sebastian's new estate sits on the south coast, England's most vulnerable location, and Napoleon has set his sights on conquering the area. Amid this growing turmoil, Sebastian must sort out his feelings for his fiancée's brother and keep his home safe...and determine if he has the courage to reach for his own happiness in the process.
This is a gay regency historical romance.
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A new favorite for sure!
I think I would. Joel Leslie's performance is pretty wonderful. He voices Sebastian wish such tenderness and William's low Northern brogue was so sexy. I really loved this story - I haven't come across many Regency Romances in the m/m genre and this wonderful novel combines the with such charm and real heart.
It's definitely got that wonderful Jane Austen charm and sense of societal sweep. I loved how sensitive the author was to the reality of social taboos the characters would face, and used it as a totally convincing argument to their ability to openly communicate. It inherently provided that wonderful 'unspoken longing' that is such a common element in Regency Romance. The characters' struggle for the courage to face their true love was heart wrenching and really had me totally engaged. I kept thinking it would make a fabulous movie.
I thought William's voice was pretty delicious. But I also really loved all the range and variety he gave to the characters. Leslie is a really strong narrator - great storyteller and really draws the reader into the world. All the accents are wonderful.
I really loved it. I was very impressed with this author who was totally new to me. I will definitely read the rest of the Scandal in Sussex series.
The book also contains a mystery storyline which I thought was a really nice touch to give a fresh feel to the 'love at first sight' formula. I really felt this book was a beautiful homage to those BBC costume dramas that sweep you off your feet - and the fact that it's a m/m romance is icing on the cake.
M/M Romance at it's BEST
I just adored the fact that this combined two of my favorite things... Jane Austin style Regency Romance with m/m characters. The plot was engaging with elements of mystery and thriller coupled with costume drama wit, charm and two leading characters who were beautifully crafted. The narration was wonderful - warm, sexy and he brought real sensitivity and sensuality to the characters' internal passion and struggles. Not only one of my favorite m/m romances that I've come across... but it was also one my favorite modern Regency tales. I hope that Ainsworth gives a whole lot more in the future.
Sebastian is a young man who, due to the death of a cousin, suddenly finds himself in the unexpected position of becoming a Duke. He is determined to be a credit to the family name, and do honor to the position... Of paramount importance is finding a suitable match despite his puzzling lack of passion for the opposite sex. He is inexplicably drawn to the dashing brother of his suggested betrothed... a strapping Northern soldier recently returned from service. Sebastian is a really lovely character... he is filled with confusion and angst about this own desires and shameful passions...coupled with a overwhelming wish to do justice to the title to which he has suddenly been granted. He could easily become an aggravating character - but I adored him. The HEA is a given - but crafted in a very clever way that doesn't ignore the real social challenges of the time.
I've listened to some of his American stuff - and I was astounded that this was the same actor... the versatility is pretty extraordinary. I couldn't believe it was the same guy. I was totally drawn into the story... it was totally performed, not just 'read'.
Yes - I have to say I was expecting it to be formulaic and just a sort of typical bodice-ripper with genders swapped... it wasn't that at all. I loved the Aunt - she did make me laugh - but I won't get into spoilers. :)
If you like Jane Austin and m/m romance - this is going to be one of your new favorites.