Hardworking and ambitious, Clement Adair has his career planned out: a steady rise from a mere personal valet to the head butler of a grand noble house. When a new baby causes a split in his employer’s estate, Clement is packed off to the country where he has little hope of ever advancing his station. Clement plans to resign and return to London as soon as possible, even though it means leaving his friends, his endearingly silly employer, and the charming and kind stable groom who has made overtures of friendship… and perhaps more.
The longer Clement stays, the more complicated leaving becomes, as the estate’s economic circumstances grow dire and Clement feels like the only one holding the household together. Somehow, impossibly, he must reconcile the future he’s determined to bring to pass and the life he didn’t know he wanted. Clean romance, no cheating, no cliffhangers, standalone novel.
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This was such a hun story. The characters came alive on the page and their desires and ambitions became the things I wanted to know and see they got them through the course of the story. While the relationship between Hugo and Clement was central to the story, the rest of the characters create a wonderful atmosphere that fully immersed me in the fields of Herefordshire.
I so enjoyed Clement. He worked tirelessly to ensure the household was run properly and would prosper. He also deeply care for Hildebert and didn’t want to see any true harm come to him despite his odd tendencies. Even the member of the household he least got along with, Clement held no ill will towards. That gentle nature and take charge attitude was fascinating to see how it all went out the window when he was around Hugo. He became so unsure and flustered and it was adorable to watch how he handled those emotions.
Hugo was wonderful. He was exactly what Clement needed to push for his needs to be met so he was able to prioritize Hugo. He seemed to be this gentle giant, though not necessarily in actual stature. More demeanor and temperament. He knew when to ask for what he needed and force an issue and when to treat others as a skittish foal. However seeing him blossom and become more open and talkative as he and Clement’s friendship, then relationship, grew was wonderful. Hugo’s strength was more pronounced and he seemed more settled into his own Skin.
I loved the scene where Clement proved he’s making Hugo a priority. The gesture is sweet and the way he gets others to help make it a success shows how deep his feelings for Hugo go. It was such a wonderful scene and a great turning point to their relationship.
The Masters of the House, Hildebert and Jane, were so much fun. They were completely quirky and made for some hilarious scenes. My favorite line in the whole book came from Hildebert. “You may be thought eccentric.” [Clement] “I,” said Hildebert, “am a gentleman inventor. It is my highest aspiration to be thought eccentric.” Oh my goodness I laughed so hard and it was so true throughout the story. I greatly enjoyed watching Clement work to keep both Hildebert and Jane in line and from them to cause grae harm while still having it seem as if the ideas were their own.
I love how Ms. Marlowe writes historicals. They remind me of my love of fiction written in the time the story is set. She is an author that I can be sure is going to write a story that makes me love the characters and be pulled into the setting.
Four and a half
Molly: What music, if any do you listen to when you write?
Katherine: I usually work best with movie soundtracks and instrumental covers of songs. A little bit atmospheric, a little bit epic, and not too distracting. I use the Cloud Atlas soundtrack as the seed for my Pandora station, and that’s usually perfect.
Molly: Are you a full time writer, or part time writer?
Katherine: Part time. My other job is part time, working as a bookseller at my local book store. It’s lovely, since a significant portion of my job is talking about books all day.
Molly: Do you hope to one day be a full time writer?
Katherine: I think I’d always like to keep the bookstore job for at least a day or two each week, to get me out of the house, but I definitely hope to one day pay my bills solely from my writing income.
Molly: Do you have a word count per day you try to hit?
Katherine: I try for an average of 1,000 words a day, but some days and weeks are better than others. My stretch goal numbers are 2k on workdays and 3k on days off. My actual daily average clocks in at around 500-600.
Molly: When you finish writing a book, how long before you begin writing the next one?
Katherine: Anywhere from two days to three weeks! I try to always have my next book plotted out and ready to go before I finish the one I’m currently writing, because there’s nothing more discouraging for me than to not have a project to work on. At any given time, I have two to five projects in my queue, so that if I need a break from one book, I can jump straight into another one. Even when I do take “breaks” between books, I’m inevitably researching and brainstorming upcoming projects.
Hi! I’m Katherine “Kitty” Marlowe, writer of m/m historical romance novels and novellas. I’ve got a degree in Classical history, with a specialization in LGBTQ history, and I can very easily be distracted into lengthy discussions on queer cultures and subcultures in dozens of different historical eras and subcultures.
When I’m not writing novels and novellas about handsome men smooching and living happily ever after, I’m usually baking, hiking, or fighting eldritch deities in Arkham.
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I enjoyed the entire post and already bought this book!