Theodore Swann is a jobbing writer, proprietor of the Matrimonial Advertiser lonely hearts gazette, and all-round weasel. He’s the very last man that Martin St. Vincent would choose to rely on—and the only one who can help.
Martin is a wealthy merchant who finds himself obliged to put a stop to a young heiress’s romantic correspondence in the Matrimonial Advertiser. When she and her swain make a dash for Gretna Green, Martin drags Theo on a breakneck chase up the country to catch the runaway lovers before it’s too late.
Theo guards his secrets. Martin guards his heart. But as the two of them are thrown irresistibly together, entanglements, deceptions, and revelations come thick and fast...
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About the Author
KJ Charles is a writer and editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, a garden with quite enough prickly things, and a cat with murder management issues.
Find her on Twitter @kj_charles for daily timewasting and the odd rant, or in her Facebook group, KJ Charles Chat, for sneak peeks and special extras.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love stories with atypical characters and this time period but am tired of reading about the nobility and the wealthy. This author writes such fabulous historicals with attention to detail in slang and the mores of the time. I have almost all her titles and am acquiring the last few as I can. Historicals are my genre of choice, especially those with such strong characters. I can't wait to read the other book I just bought by KJ Charles. Martin and Theo are perfect examples of the not usual heroes. They are interesting and likeable as individuals and as a couple. There are very few historical romances with people of color as the main character. Bravo to the author for addressing the painful issue of slavery in such a moving way.
KJ Charles writes such beautiful stories and if you've never read any of her work I suggest you start!! I've read every one of her books and I honestly cannot pick a favorite.
First, how unique is the premise of this book? The blurb is in the form of a Wanted ad, and when I realized that the man behind the marriage-minded ads gets confronted by a disgruntled customer, I just had to pick this one up. From the first page to the last, I savored an absolute gem of a novel! Theodore Swann is the editor of the Matrimonial Advertiser, a paper that helps people looking for love and companionship. He’s cynical himself, but the business of love is quite profitable, and he makes no apologies for who he is or for how he makes a living. An article comes one morning - a man looking for a man - and Theo debates publishing it. He could get in trouble, but how many can read the subtext? That’s before Martin St. Vincent arrives on a mission. A friend’s daughter has been sending and receiving notes through Theo’s publication and it has to stop. Along the way, however, Martin dives beneath Theo’s exterior and bonus! He can read the subtext. It angers Theo to no end that Martin knows his number. How dare the fellow walk in here and weigh him up and in just a couple of moments decide that Theo was untrustworthy, unreliable, ready to be bought? He was, of course. But how dare this man just assume it, with that lazily dismissive look in his eyes? I love that Martin is a black hero and that this story features an interracial couple. Charles takes all out the stops and delivers a man riddled with a painful past, but despite it all, he’s so loyal and patient, so forgiving and kind...He truly is an amazing individual, and Theo can’t help himself. For no matter how much Theo hides behind his snark - his backstory just as heartbreaking - Martin sees past that. And then there are the heat waves coming off these two! Sweet, but spicy, and Theo is such a delightful character. “In a single day,” Theo said, incredulous. “Great heavens. No wonder my arse hurts.” “Stop telling me about your arse.” “I wouldn’t tell you if you didn’t care.” “I do not care!” “I’m sure you do,” Theo said. “Deep down, under that gruff exterior, beats a heart of gold with an urgent concern for the condition of my arse.” Hint: Theo’s right. I gave it five stars because this story is beautiful in its simplicity. Not that it was a simple story because it wasn’t. It’s the sheer scope covered in the story - debt and absolution, forgiveness and spite. The conflict is structured in such a way that it draws the most emotion out of the reader while not making the story feel bogged down. This was a fabulous read all around. Such memorable characters, an easy flowing structure that took my breath away, and a great ending that left me grinning. So, what are you waiting for? Prepare to be charmed. *This book was reviewed by Michaelene for the Alpha Book Club*
This story is set in 1805 London, and is a historical M/M romance with no paranormal elements. Theo Swann is a writer who runs a weekly marriage paper wherein he posts the ads of lonely people seeking affection, companionship, or marriage for better or worse. He also writes what we'd consider Regency romance under the pseudonym of Dorothea Swann. Theo's barely eeking out a living in his humble printshop-slash-living quarters and is none-too-pleased when Martin St. Vincent, a free black man of some wealth raps upon his door to demand the identity of one of the lonely hearts featured in Theo's paper. Theo may find Martin attractive, but what does he care if coded messages from clandestine lovers are part of his paper. THey paid their money, and he ran their ad. Simple. Martin makes it clear that this is in fact very complicated. He is an agent of a wealthy family--the family which owned him until his 18th birthday as it turns out--and the only daughter of this family seems to be planning an illegal elopement--as the messages indicate. Martin has been pressed, a bit, into helping if he can. And Theo's not really interested in helping, unless he can profit from it. So, Martin offers him money, and Theo discovers the day of their departure from London. For a grand sum, Theo agrees to join Martin on the chase to Scotland, to save this underage silly chit from her ultimate ruination. While Martin and Theo share a mutual interest--they both like men--Martin's not keen on Theo much at first. Still, his intellect surprises him and the long, arduous journey is endearing. For about a day. That's about how long it takes for Theo to blow this who caper sky-high and send Martin into fits trying to cajole his childhood friend from making the greatest mistake of her young life. I'll tell you right now, there's a huge curveball to this plot. It seems like a romance, but it isn't a traditional one. Nor is Theo who he portrays himself to be. While that threw me for a loop, I wasn't averse to the plot shenanigan. It allowed to re-investigate Theo, who--to that point--seemed rather lackluster, in comparison to Martin's stately and intriguing character. Martin is a thriving merchant, set up with an education and some seed money to begin his business from the very family that held his enslaved for fourteen years. The very people he's crossing England at breakneck speed to assist in their domestic dilemma. Theo has trouble fathoming why Martin would lift a finger to help, and can't see the profit in it. Martin is a man of honor, but even honor doesn't bind him to help--and it's an interesting situation for Martin to be in. Theo, for his part, makes a lot of trouble, but also makes a lot of good. He's a man in the worst sort of binds, and has no qualms trying to help himself out of them by any means necessary. He has neither time nor patience for a willful girl snookered by an obvious con-man; not when he's being financially enslaved by his own flesh-and-blood. His assistance to Martin was always going to be mercenary, but falling for Martin wasn't part of the plan. I really found the thematic juxtaposition between Martin's enslavement, Theo's financial situation and the girl's elopement to be fascinating. In this time and place, a girl's only worth lay in her marriage prospects and this situation--a wretched elopement--would have damaged all hope for her family to ascend higher socially; so her position as property to be granted by her father.
Wanted, A Gentleman, KJ Charles Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance I never take much notice of covers but this one – that’s just how Martin is in my mind! I love KJ Charles writing, love the way she portrays the past with such vivid reality. Her books always make me think too about the issues raised. This is a romance and yet there are serious points in it, slavery and the (im)morality of it, how homosexuality was a crime, debtors prison and the way that impacted on people's lives, plus of course the whole marrying a title/marrying for prestige and money conundrum. The words too, she’s one of the writers that really uses English to its fullest extent, throws in words I don’t know – I can guess them from the context of course, so its not off-putting – but its fun to look them up, see where and how they originated and ponder on why they fell from use. Gamahuching – that one I’d read before in one of her books but is a wonderful word! So we’re back in time to when a free person of colour was still a novelty. I loved Martin, loved the way he was so angry about his past, and yet he understood compared to others he’d been lucky. When he’s conversing with Theo about it though and Theo is trying to convince him he has the right to feel angry, doesn’t need to feel obligated at being set free after being ripped from his family at 4 years old and given as a gift I felt so sorry for him. So sad that this was real for many people back then ( and for far too many now too!) Its awful to think of kids being treated like that, and yet back then it was commonplace, and even ostensibly “free” people were treated as disposable in the same way. I really enjoyed the way they talked about it, the way it gave me insights into what kind of people they were, the way it set the whole story solidly into that era where Money and Class ruled. Theo is one of those “free” people who are anything but. He’s scrabbling to make a living, haunted by past decisions, and really living hand to mouth. I was so taken by the attraction between these two very different characters, and the way they came from disliking each other, full of cynicism and preconceived ideas about the other, to lovers. Of course it being a heinous crime back then they had to be so very discreet to avoid being caught, imprison and lose what little freedom they had. Its a great fun read, I loved the way the romance novels played such a great part, the way everything finally worked out. I was racking my brains for a solution but couldn’t see one, and that’s why I’ll always be a reader not a writer :-) When things go wrong, poor, poor Theo, I so felt for him. I understood how Martin felt too and wondered what I’d do if I was either one of them. Its a sad tale and one that was all too common back then. The ending KJ gave us though was just perfect. Stars: Five, I really enjoyed this but as a one off read. Its not got the appeal for me of the Magpie stories which are ones I enjoy re reading, but its still a well deserved 5* read for me. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publisher