"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde
Geez, I can't believe I'm going to say this...
This was barely an okay read for me, and that's only because of the second half. Part of it most certainly was that I have slight problems with historical books on a general level. I like history, I even studied it at Uni, but it's the usage of historical "facts" to create the backround of a romance story that turns me off more often than not. Because it happened too often that I got somewhat excited about a historical book and then realized how utterly lacking in research they were. Which is something that turns me off more than anything else when it comes to books.
Fortunately, that worked reasonably well here - as I came to expect from KJ Charles. Certainly it's not possible for us - as modern human beings of the 21st century - to recreate historical settings par for par. But KJ Charles has a knack for using time-typical expressions, problems and occurrences to actually make it work. She is clever about it, and usually she integrates the backround into the creation of unique, larger than life characters with complex personalities and fascinating life stories.
She tried to do the same here, but only partly succeeded. One of my biggest problems was that the characters fell somewhat flat for me. Harry remained pale and intangible throughout the whole book. Maybe I never connected to him because he himself had absolutely no clue who he was or what he wanted, so I was never really to understand him. I'm really not sure, but the fact is, he didn't hold my interest. Julius was better in a way, more interesting and layered. I enjoyed reading some of what he did or had to say. On other occasions though, he faded into the general BLAH I didn't like.
The beginning of the story - and I'm really sorry to say that - Bored. Me. To. Tears. I know, I should have drawn my conclusions from the title, but I just didn't think "fashionable" was going to be THAT literal. Because let me tell you, I was hoping for different things when it came to "making a gentleman" out of Harry. But all I got was endless discussions of cloth and waistcoates and cuff links and knobs and god knows what. I sinned, I skimmed - I admit it freely.
It got better in the second half. I quite enjoyed the poitical problems, the intrigues and even some parts of the family business. Plus, KJ Charles knows her smut. I enjoyed the sexy times very much.
But overall, the dialogues didn't flow as freely as I'm used to from this author. The characters lacked character, and the very last part of the story bordered on riciculous in its' wildest solutions of all the issues. Didn't work for me. Not going to read the other books in the series, I think. It just wasn't for me this time.