~ Book Review: The Secret Lives of Country Gentleman (Doomsday Books #1) (ARC) ~

Published March 7, 2023

Author: K.J. Charles

Bridgerton meets Poldark in this sweeping LGBTQIA+ Regency romance from award-winning author KJ Charles

Abandoned by his father as a small child, Sir Gareth Inglis has grown up prickly, cold, and well-used to disappointment. Even so, he longs for a connection, falling headfirst into a passionate anonymous affair that’s over almost as quickly as it began. Bitter at the sudden rejection, Gareth has little time to lick his wounds: his father has died, leaving him the family title, a rambling manor on the remote Romney Marsh…and the den of cutthroats and thieves that make its intricate waterways their home.

Joss Doomsday has run the Doomsday smuggling clan since he was a boy. His family is his life…which is why when the all-too-familiar new baronet testifies against Joss’s sister for a hanging offense, Joss acts fast, blackmailing Gareth with the secret of their relationship to force him to recant. Their reunion is anything but happy and the path forward everything but smooth, yet after the dust settles, neither can stay away. It’s a long road from there—full of danger and mysteries to be solved—yet somehow, along the way, this well-mannered gentleman may at last find true love with the least likely of scoundrels.

The Secret Lives of Country Gentleman (#1)
A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundral (#2)

The Secret Lives of Country Gentleman is the first novel in the Doomsday Books series. It is a fun action-packed historical m/m romance, so it immediately drew me to want to read it. Sir Gareth Inglis, who was abandoned by his father as a child, is a newly appointed baronet in Romney Marsh. Joss Doomsday is an overworked smuggler that runs the Doomsday smuggling clan. The two connect and are separated only to be reunited under different circumstances. The two of them were great representatives of the mix of smugglers and country gentry in times of tension in England with France.

Their romance is a nice opposites attract tale where they may be different, but they still go together. Gareth is unhappy with how his life turned out and is working towards finding balance in his life. After being estranged from his family, he returns to the house and life he inherited where he needs to figure out the local smuggling operations and his relations. On the other side is Joss who is like Gareth where he is balancing his business and personal lives even though they appear differently on the surface. There is a lot happening in this novel from the two characters interacting along with the family dramas, societal issues, and other scandals. The geography played a nice role in the story as it was the perfect backdrop to the story. It became a nice third character in a way and I loved how the characters and world interacted on the page. Overall, this was a fun story with a lighter spice romance. The two characters were a nice match and I look forward to reading the next novel in the future!

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Sourcebooks, for the opportunity to read this novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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