Proper English
A shooting party at the Earl of Witton’s remote country house is a high treat for champion shot Patricia Merton—until unexpected guests turn the social atmosphere dangerously sour.That’s not Pat’s biggest problem. She’s visiting her old friend, the Earl’s heir Jimmy Yoxall—but she wants to spend a lot more time with Jimmy’s fiancée. The irrepressible Miss Fenella Carruth, with her laughing eyes and lush curves, is the most glorious woman Pat’s ever met, and it quickly becomes impossible to remember why she needs to stay at arm’s length.But while the women’s attraction grows, the tensions at Rodington Court get worse. Affairs, secrets, betrayals, and blackmail come to light. And when a body is discovered with a knife between the shoulderblades, it’s going to take Pat and Fen’s combined talents to prevent the murderer destroying all their lives.

Proper English Details

TitleProper English
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 8th, 2019
PublisherKJC Books
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical, Mystery, LGBT, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

Proper English Review

  • K.J. Charles
    January 1, 1970
    Pat Merton and Fenella Carruth first appeared in my book Think of England and I have wanted to write their origin story ever since. Here it is. It takes place two years before the events of Think of England (so, obviously, it's a standalone), and, as is only fitting for these ladies, it is a full-on Edwardian Country House Murder. I had total fun with it and I hope readers do too.NB: As should be clear from the blurb, it's set at a shooting party (for partridge). Proceed accordingly!
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  • Magali
    January 1, 1970
    “How many country house murders do you think we’re likely to encounter?” OH FEN, MY SWEET SUMMER CHILD. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I can honestly say I love these gun-toting lesbians with my whole heart. (Also, going along with this whole “honesty” deal, I read the book and wrote this review on an 18-hour travel day so please forgive any delirium typos.)This book is a prequel of sorts to Think of England, so anyone who enjoyed that particular brand of Dr “How many country house murders do you think we’re likely to encounter?” OH FEN, MY SWEET SUMMER CHILD. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I can honestly say I love these gun-toting lesbians with my whole heart. (Also, going along with this whole “honesty” deal, I read the book and wrote this review on an 18-hour travel day so please forgive any delirium typos.)This book is a prequel of sorts to Think of England, so anyone who enjoyed that particular brand of Dramatic Country House Blackmail Murders (ToE was my first intro to the work of KJC and it is High Art) will find plenty here to appreciate, although the book is actually very different in most ways.Sensible, practical Pat Merton is at loose ends after her eldest brother’s wedding; she’s going to have to find somewhere else to live and something else to dedicate her considerable talents to than managing their ancestral home, but hell if she has any idea what that will be. An invitation to a shooting party with just her brother Bill, their childhood friend Jimmy, and his parents sounds like a great way to put off the inevitable. En route, she finds out that Jimmy is engaged, Bill is very put out about it, and the fiancée in question, along with some family friends and some extremely unpleasant in-laws on his sister’s side, will all be joining their “quiet” party. Pat, like every other chill and capable lesbian I’ve ever met, is *just* introverted enough for this to sound fairly nightmarish... and that’s BEFORE Mr. Haworth (the brother-in-law) begins insulting everyone at the dining room table and Pat overhears him blackmailing someone in an empty part of the house. Events unfold, as they are wont to do in a KJC house party novel, and Pat goes from “I would rather die than be here, and also Jimmy’s fiancée Fenella appears to have nothing between her ears except perhaps a gentle breeze” to “I would kill a man for Fenella Carruth and also we are going to move in together” in the course of 3 days. (Insert joke about lesbians and Uhauls here.) It is HIGHLY entertaining, and I am very happy for them both. The stakes felt somewhat lower here than in Think of England, probably because the murder victim was literally the worst person in the world, and also because it’s hard to imagine either Pat OR Fen ultimately ending up in the kind of scrapes that Daniel and Archie got into because their shit is just *so* much more together. I missed a bit of the absolutely scorching, desperate and borderline manic energy of my original country house murder gays, but watching Pat & Fen circle each other carefully for a while before both clearly deciding to say “fuck it” was satisfying in another way. Pat’s “I am MIND-BLOWINGLY competent and practical and everyone respects me and treats me like one of the boys but I secretly want to be pretty and a little bit cherished” contrasted so perfectly with Fen’s “I am the most beautiful person possibly in the world but all I want in life is for even one single person to take me seriously,” and I loved watching them slowly make their way to an Understanding. The romance on the whole was... softer? than what I usually go for, but as a queer woman who came to that realization pretty late in the game, it was relatable in a way that hot sad gay spies giving desperation blowjobs to hot sad gay soldiers isn’t (for me). (Though I am still very into the latter.)Speaking of hot, I know this is like, the lowest possible bar to hit, but I have to commend KJC for NOT fading to black (or at least grey) at the critical moments, because I feel like I see a *lot* of that when m/m writers make the jump to f/f. Thank you, KJC, for Letting The Lesbians Fuck. Anyway: please read this book. It’s got everything! Heaving, jewel-bedecked bosoms! Drug fiends! Guns! Vegetarians! A noble family Fallen On Hard Times! Bigots getting hella stabbed! Walking in on your brother having sex and then your girlfriend telling you he has an ass only his boyfriend could love! I am just saying. This book is a gift that you can give yourself. DO IT.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    A gloriously fun Agatha-Christie-style historical country-house murder mystery, sparkling with wit and full of great characters, including a really lovely romance between two equally fabulous heroines. I started reading my ARC in post-surgery recovery, when I could have felt really grim, and the sheer joy of this book really saved me. A total delight!
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  • Ami
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 stars rounded upOld-time readers / fans of K.J. Charles who have read Think of England might remember Patricia Merton and Fenella Carruth; two secondary characters from the book. Proper English is the prequel, set two years before the event in Think of England, that tells how Patricia and Fenella first met: Patricia attends a shooting party while visiting her old friend, Jimmy Yoxall, who is recently engaged with Fenella.If I can use one word to describe this story, I will use DELIGHTFUL. 3.75 stars rounded upOld-time readers / fans of K.J. Charles who have read Think of England might remember Patricia Merton and Fenella Carruth; two secondary characters from the book. Proper English is the prequel, set two years before the event in Think of England, that tells how Patricia and Fenella first met: Patricia attends a shooting party while visiting her old friend, Jimmy Yoxall, who is recently engaged with Fenella.If I can use one word to describe this story, I will use DELIGHTFUL. Yes, there is one vile character – who later ends up being the murder victim – and he’s been maliciously making the host and their guests uncomfortable, but it also creates a perfect situation for secrets being out and everyone having motives.I thought Patricia and Fenella are adorable together. I admit, at first, before I started reading, I was worried with what being said on the blurb: “… she (Patricia) wants to spend a lot more time with Jimmy’s fiancée…”. I am not very fond of cheating situation (even if they are yet married), because someone will end up being hurt. I’m quite relieved that Charles takes care of it very well, with win-win result for everyone involved. I love that Patricia is competent and grounded. I love that Fenella is bubbly and shiny but having very sharp mind. I enjoy reading two main heroines that are wonderful on their own, although together they are creating a great couple.If I have slight complaint, it is that I expected the murder to happen earlier than it did in the book. I thought it would be a murder-mystery book, where the characters spend more time being wary with each other, and our main characters busy investigating (in between developing relationship). It turns out that the dead body is found after 2/3rd of the book. I guess it’s just a matter that it isn’t what I initially expected.A Guest Review for The Blogger GirlsThe ARC is provided by the author for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.
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  • Caz
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars/B+K.J. Charles’ latest book is a companion piece to Think of England, in which readers were first introduced to Pat Morton and Fenella (Fen) Carruth, a pair of formidable ladies who seem already to be rather adept at solving mysteries. Proper English takes place a couple of years before those events, and is their origin story, if you will.  It’s a witty, sharply observed, sweetly romantic and clever country house murder-mystery; in short, everything you’d expect from K.J. Charles (incl 4.5 stars/B+K.J. Charles’ latest book is a companion piece to Think of England, in which readers were first introduced to Pat Morton and Fenella (Fen) Carruth, a pair of formidable ladies who seem already to be rather adept at solving mysteries. Proper English takes place a couple of years before those events, and is their origin story, if you will.  It’s a witty, sharply observed, sweetly romantic and clever country house murder-mystery; in short, everything you’d expect from K.J. Charles (including the dead body.  Maybe especially the dead body!)Patricia Merton is at a bit of a crossroads in her life.  The youngest of five children – with four older brothers – her father never subscribed to the idea that girls couldn’t and shouldn’t do the things boys did, and he’s grown up to be a confident, competent young woman who knows who she is and makes no apologies for being different to the average eyelash-fluttering, simpering miss.  She’s spent much of her adult life running her older brother’s household, but he’s recently married, and Pat knows continuing to live under the same roof would be a recipe for disaster.  So she’s taking some time to think about what she wants to do next, and is travelling to attend a small shooting party in the north of England, looking forward to spending time with her brother Bill, her old friend, Jimmy, and a few other gentlemen.  She’s a champion shot –the All England Ladies’ Champion in fact – and is pleased to be spending a few days where she can be as mannish as she likes and nobody will care.But when Bill meets her at the station, she’s disappointed to discover that her plans for a few days shooting with the chaps have been upended because Jimmy’s new fiancée, Miss Fenella Caruth (daughter of a wealthy industrialist) is present, as are Jimmy’s sister and her loathesome husband, his parents, the Earl and Countess of Witton and a handful of other guests. Pat’s enthusiasm for the houseparty wanes; until later that evening she makes the acquaintance of Jimmy’s fiancée, who is quite the loveliest woman Pat has ever seen.At first, she appears to be just the sort of fluffy, frivolous young woman Pat usually avoids at all cost, but when, the next day, they get to spend a bit of time together (Pat is teaching her to shoot), Pat begins to realise that Fen is more than she appears, and that beneath the polished exterior is a woman who longs to be taken seriously and seen for more than her pretty face (and enormous fortune).It’s not long before Pat and Fen realise there’s something more than friendship growing between them, but their delight at having found, in each other, someone who really sees them for who they are, has to be put on hold when one of the party is found dead, an ornamental knife buried in his back, and a dreadful storm both confines them all to the house and prevents the immediate attendance of the local police.Proper English is a proper English romp of a story that combines a Christie-esque country house murder mystery, a tender, sensual romance and a healthy dose of social comment that’s never dry or overdone.Pat and Fen are opposites in many ways; Pat is pragmatic, no-nonsense and outdoorsy, shrewd, self-possessed and non-judgmental, while Fen has been brought up to be little more than an ornament to a man.  There’s a wonderful moment in the book when she expresses her frustration at the way young women like her are brought up to act helpless and brainless while being simultaneously mocked and despised for displaying the very qualities thought so important in a young lady who wants to attract a husband.  Fen is a natural care-taker and will go out of her way to make other people feel comfortable, even when that effort isn’t reciprocated, while Pat is less inclined to care what people think of her, but is sufficiently intuitive that she doesn’t stomp all over other people’s feelings while going her own way. She and Fen fit together so beautifully, both of them yearning for someone with whom they can really be themselves, and the way they discover each other and the true women behind their facades is superbly done and wonderful to read.The mystery plot – while not as high-stakes as the one in Think of England – is nonetheless well thought-out, as we learn, along with Pat, that Bill is investigating some financial irregularities that seem to point the finger at the Earl. Ms. Charles keeps this happily bubbling along in the background until she’s ready to bring it front and centre, and it’s classic stuff; a group of disparate individuals with secrets to hide, agendas to pursue, and oodles of mounting tension, a truly nasty villain (who of course gets his just desserts) and our wily, amateur sleuths.Pat and Fen are great characters – I liked them in Think of England, and liked them even more here – their romance is lovely, the secondary cast is nicely fleshed-out, and it will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the author when I say that the sense of time and place she instils into the story is impeccable.  Proper English is a delight from start to finish and highly recommended.
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  • Joyfully Jay
    January 1, 1970
    A Joyfully Jay review. 5 starsOh, this story was such a delight! I was completely captivated and could barely put it down. Proper English develops a wonderful relationship between Pat and Fen, and then adds to it the drama of a remote country house party filled with interesting (and abhorrent) characters, along with a murder mystery twist. K.J. Charles just excels at wonderful character development and excellent historical elements and both are showcased perfectly in this story.Pat is our POV ch A Joyfully Jay review. 5 starsOh, this story was such a delight! I was completely captivated and could barely put it down. Proper English develops a wonderful relationship between Pat and Fen, and then adds to it the drama of a remote country house party filled with interesting (and abhorrent) characters, along with a murder mystery twist. K.J. Charles just excels at wonderful character development and excellent historical elements and both are showcased perfectly in this story.Pat is our POV character and she is as fascinating as she is impressive. Pat grew up in a home with four brothers and a father who treated her like one of the boys. She is insanely competent and has been managing the family home for years. Basically, Pat is one of those women who just knows how to get stuff done and she doesn’t let other people’s opinion’s gets in the way. However, with her oldest brother now marrying, Pat is at loose ends as she needs to find a new place to live and a new direction for her life (while Pat could technically stay in the family home, she knows she is way too much of a manager to avoid conflict with her new sister-in-law). This house party is supposed to be a chance for Pat to relax and regroup, but suddenly there is an influx of people with whom she is expected to socialize. Of course, when Pat meets the lovely Fen, this prospect isn’t quite so daunting.Read Jay’s review in its entirety here.
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  • Kaje Harper
    January 1, 1970
    I was looking forward to this prequel story with Pat and Fen from Think of England and I really enjoyed seeing these two women meet. Pat is intelligent, self-contained and practical, raised along with her brothers enough to have the expectation that a woman should be just as capable as a man. She's a champion shot, and is used to running a household, but with the marriage of her oldest brother she's suddenly at loose ends, no longer mistress of his home. She decides a brief holiday with an old f I was looking forward to this prequel story with Pat and Fen from Think of England and I really enjoyed seeing these two women meet. Pat is intelligent, self-contained and practical, raised along with her brothers enough to have the expectation that a woman should be just as capable as a man. She's a champion shot, and is used to running a household, but with the marriage of her oldest brother she's suddenly at loose ends, no longer mistress of his home. She decides a brief holiday with an old friend, Jimmy, at the beginning of partridge season will be relaxing - good shooting and a chance to figure out the next phase of her life. But the house turns out to be full of more guests than she was prepared for, some of them less than pleasant. Her brother Bill is with her, but seems deeply troubled by something; her friend's fiancee is also there, and for some reason Jimmy is treating the lovely young woman with careless negligence and failing to protect her from nasty innuendo from another guest. Something is very rotten in the Earl of Witton’s remote country house, and Pat would just as soon leave, if it didn't mean leaving the lovely Fenella alone amid the mire. And if the flooding rivers actually made leaving possible. And then there's a murder... Told from Pat's POV, this book is a delightful very British country house mystery combined with the awakening of a young woman to who she is meant to be. Pat's forthright nature includes a warm heart and ready sympathy. Fenella's artful, lightheaded chatter turns out to be a screen for a woman of far more substance, and their romance was believable and lovely, fitting for the era in which they are living. The mystery was not unexpected, but well-played, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story.
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  • Freya Marske
    January 1, 1970
    Literally everything I hoped for, this book provided. Murder! A house party full of awful people! Ladies bonding! Two of those ladies falling in love and having a lot of sex! The narrator being a thoroughly sensible person who is also a gay disaster! K.J. Charles just keeps getting better and better.
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  • Helen Kord
    January 1, 1970
    Oh this was absolutely magnificent. The f/f histrom of my dreams!!!!!!!! I loved it so much. Full review to come later but OH MY GOD KJ DID IT AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME WITH LESBIANSEdit: Okay usually I just delete the old gushy review and replace it with the actual review, but I find this one hilarious so I'm keeping it :D Here's my full review:Proper English made me think of all the Hercule Poirot stories I grew up on. There’s a hunting party full of colourful snarky characters, hilarious banter, m Oh this was absolutely magnificent. The f/f histrom of my dreams!!!!!!!! I loved it so much. Full review to come later but OH MY GOD KJ DID IT AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME WITH LESBIANSEdit: Okay usually I just delete the old gushy review and replace it with the actual review, but I find this one hilarious so I'm keeping it :D Here's my full review:Proper English made me think of all the Hercule Poirot stories I grew up on. There’s a hunting party full of colourful snarky characters, hilarious banter, more then one group of lovers sneaking around for some private time or that one character everyone hates who dies a horrible death thus making everyone a suspect. It’s perfect! The atmosphere, the lush british countryside, the dynamic relationships between characters and the wonderfully gruesome murder are just a staple of the genre. And we all know KJ writes some amazing countryside and gruesome murder. Again, it’s perfect.Read the full review on my blog
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you very much to KJ Charles for providing an advance reading copy of her novel.I’ve been a fan of KJ Charles’ work since (checks Goodreads) 2014 when I read the first book in her A Charm of Magpies series, The Magpie Lord. I’ve read all of her books since that first one and have been patiently waiting for Charles to release a full-length f/f romance novel … and the book gods delivered!Proper English is a wonderfully fun and still pretty violent Agatha-Christie-type murder mystery (because, Thank you very much to KJ Charles for providing an advance reading copy of her novel.I’ve been a fan of KJ Charles’ work since (checks Goodreads) 2014 when I read the first book in her A Charm of Magpies series, The Magpie Lord. I’ve read all of her books since that first one and have been patiently waiting for Charles to release a full-length f/f romance novel … and the book gods delivered!Proper English is a wonderfully fun and still pretty violent Agatha-Christie-type murder mystery (because, let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be a KJ Charles novel without at least one murder) with remarkable, badass characters and a gorgeous romance. I had a smile on my face pretty much the entirety of my reading experience, and I never wanted this gem of a book to end.Proper English is the origin story of my two favourite sapphics, Pat and Fen, from Charles’ Think of England. While you don’t need to read Think of England to understand Proper English, I still highly recommend that you do because it’s just marvellous. In Think of England, Pat and Fen are already in an established relationship (and quite skilled in solving murder mysteries), and very quickly grew to be fan favourites. In Proper English, we get to see how our gun-toting lesbian and sweet-tempered lesbian met.Patricia Merton is a practicable and rational woman. She has spent a good portion of her life managing her and her brothers’ ancestral home, but now that one of her brothers is married, she finds herself adrift and stumped as to what she’s going to do with the rest of her life. Pat accepts an invitation to a shooting party with her brother Bill, hosted by their childhood friend Jimmy, as one last hurrah before Jimmy is to be married. But Pat’s quiet shooting holiday is soon disrupted when Jimmy’s fiancée Fenella is invited too, as well as Jimmy’s parents, his sister and horrible brother-in-law, godsister, and a man who may or may not be having an affair with Jimmy’s sister — nightmarish for someone as introverted as Pat.However, Pat’s dread soon evaporates as she grows closer to Jimmy’s beautiful fiancé, Fen, who quickly charms almost everyone in the country house. Fen is absolutely adorable. I loved her in Think of England and I loved her even more in this novel. She’s so sweet and lovely, but all she wants in life is to have one person see her, to take her seriously, and to take notice in her interests. She’s so used to being someone who cares for others and goes out of her way to make other people comfortable, and yet no one makes the same considerations for her. Until she meets Pat.I love the contrast between Pat, Fen and Miss Singh, Jimmy’s godsister, in how they perform their femininity. Pat can be quite mannish sometimes, but she’s never judgemental of other women, and sometimes just wants to be adored and noticed as a woman. Sometimes with characters who aren’t into “girly” things, there’s a tendency for them to be quite sexist but Charles doesn’t descend into that stereotype. Pat appreciates how all women have their differences and acknowledges that there is no one definition of a strong woman — Pat is physically capable, Fen is generous and loving, and Miss Singh is staunch in her convictions and beliefs.Proper English is very easily one of my all-time favourite KJ Charles novels. I know I say that about a lot of her books, especially her most recent standalones, but it’s true! This book has everything I want in a novel and more: badass sapphic women saving the day, sad gays hiding their Secret Romance™, and an appreciation for large bosoms. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t read Proper English!
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars rounded upIt was really nice seeing how Fen and Pat from Think of England started. And to think they met at yet another house party that turns into a good old-fashioned country house party murder mystery. Well. Not that old-fashioned. It's K.J. Charles, after all.
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  • Kaa
    January 1, 1970
    Yeah, I was pretty much guaranteed to enjoy this - I love KJ Charles's writing and I already had crushes on Pat and Fen from their appearances in Think of England. Getting a chance to see the beginning of their relationship was just wonderfully fun. I'm pretty indifferent to murder mystery plots, but I do love the cozy/creepy closed house mystery atmosphere.
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  • Hart
    January 1, 1970
    I don't think I can really review this book right now in any way that will be helpful to other readers, because I loved it so much. When it comes out in paperback, I'll probably buy a copy just so I can literally draw hearts in the margins. I was in a major book slump before I started this. For the past few months, I've been rereading all my old favorites, while picking up a lot of new books, then eventually setting them aside. But I couldn't tear myself away from this. It's just what I needed. I don't think I can really review this book right now in any way that will be helpful to other readers, because I loved it so much. When it comes out in paperback, I'll probably buy a copy just so I can literally draw hearts in the margins. I was in a major book slump before I started this. For the past few months, I've been rereading all my old favorites, while picking up a lot of new books, then eventually setting them aside. But I couldn't tear myself away from this. It's just what I needed. Okay, let's see, what's absolutely essential to know? Pat and Fen cuddle while trying to solve a mystery, and it's a good mystery plot. Also, you could read this without reading Think of England. I would call them companion novels rather than two books in a series, but there are a lot of clever parallels between them.Anyway, if you have any interest in this book, definitely read it, and cherish it, just like these two cherish each other. Well, now I'm metaphorically drawing hearts in the margins of this review.
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  • Lotta
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely. Edwardian house party murder mysteries are indeed the best ones. Review to come.OK, here goes:This is both a delightful romance and a country house, body in the library type murder mystery (but without the pesky racism you often find in Christie *and* with more lesbians). There is a nice wink to Murder on the Orient Express, an exotic dagger and a Bad Person who gets what's coming to them. It's also written in true KJ Charles style, with a great sense of detail and wonderful characterisa Lovely. Edwardian house party murder mysteries are indeed the best ones. Review to come.OK, here goes:This is both a delightful romance and a country house, body in the library type murder mystery (but without the pesky racism you often find in Christie *and* with more lesbians). There is a nice wink to Murder on the Orient Express, an exotic dagger and a Bad Person who gets what's coming to them. It's also written in true KJ Charles style, with a great sense of detail and wonderful characterisation.Patricia Merton, Pat to her friends, is a champion shot and a no-nonsense, capable, straight forward person. She and her other brother, Bill, are travelling to the country home of a mutual friend, Jimmy Yoxall, for partridge shooting. But what was supposed to be a small shooting party turns out to be a much larger house party, with various different family members and guests.Among them is Fenella Carruth, the loveliest girl Pat has ever seen. Unfortunatly, she's also the fiancée of her host and very good friend Jimmy. Pat's sense of fairness stands against her building attraction to Fen, and it doesn't get better when the women become better aquainted. Fen is pretty, outgoing and fluffy, and an heiress to boot. Most people don't make the effort to take her seriously or look further than the surface, but when Pat does, she is surprised to learn that Fen is much sharper than she makes out to be.But of course things go awry. As the weather grows stormy, so does the atmosphere in the house, with conflict brewing, and secrets that need to be kept. Before the party is over, one of the guests is dead.I liked how Pat and Fen complement each other. Both have their insecurities, but see the best in each other. Pat admires Fen’s roundness, femininity and ”outstanding bosom”, and can’t see how she, with her plainer looks, can ever measure up to that. But Fen’s always been judged by her looks and values the fact that Pat takes her seriously.I also found this review to be wonderfully spot on.For the sake of disclosure, I am a fan of the author and got this book as an ARC—which is to say I probably thought a little more about what to write in my review than if I had bought the book on publication day, but my feelings and reactions would have been the same.
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  • retro
    January 1, 1970
    Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.So there is a trend in fiction that features a strong female protagonist to have her shun femininity in favor of more mannish pursuits (the tomboy who was raised by brothers), all while undergoing an unnecessary makeover scene at some point, to prove to the reader that, no, she's actually very conventionally attractive and desirable. When I started Proper English, I figured yep, I'm in for one of those. Pat is described as being se Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.So there is a trend in fiction that features a strong female protagonist to have her shun femininity in favor of more mannish pursuits (the tomboy who was raised by brothers), all while undergoing an unnecessary makeover scene at some point, to prove to the reader that, no, she's actually very conventionally attractive and desirable. When I started Proper English, I figured yep, I'm in for one of those. Pat is described as being sensible in the way she dresses, completely dismayed at the thought of socializing with women, uninterested in marriage, and fond of shooting guns. She even grew up with four brothers and a father who treated her like a son! But then she arrives at the country home of one her brother's closest friends and meets his fiancee. And she is full of admiration. For another woman. And makes another female friend.At one point, she even has this great line about how you can't turn up your nose at women being decorative when they've been raised to have no other value. Don't come at her with that 'you're not like other girls' nonsense. It would have been so easy to concoct a Mr Darcy-esque character for Pat: that is to say, someone whose discomfort makes them cold and rude to those around them. But Pat isn't that. She's uncomfortable in many situations, sure, but she doesn't take it out on others. She's immensely sympathetic. She likes Fen, even though at first Fen seems a tad silly. She agrees to spend time with her and takes an interest even before Fen reveals her hidden depths. There's a sense of her investing in the relationship way, way before there's any hope of such a thing.And that's really marvelous to find in romance, where sexual chemistry is sometimes just about all that characters have in common.Which isn't to say that because this is an f/f romance, there's a lack of sexy shenanigans. Oh, no. Fen's ample decolletage features prominently and the sex scenes are pretty scorching. There's a heartbreaking bit, though, when one of the characters doesn't know how to refer to her own genitals in a way that isn't gross or academic but fits a sexual context, and I just wanted to reach through my screen and hug her. I loved the way sexual inexperience is handled, how not-heterosexist the sex scenes are, and how utterly careful the protagonists are with each other. It's just really, really nice reading about not-awful people who are meant to be in love being not-awful.Oh, and there's a rather good whodunit afoot, as well. The story does a good job of foreshadowing the victim and set up the sometimes callous atmosphere of an Agatha Christie book, in that no one really misses the murdered party or feels all that bad that they're gone, so the sleuthing can proceed apace. You've got the country house, the colourful cast of characters, the wannabe detectives, and a solid reason why the professionals can't be called in. I thought I had an idea as to who Did the Murder, but I was wrong, which I enjoyed. I wish this were the first book in a series. I could stand to read a lot more about Pat and Fen being sexy and sensible and also a little silly. And no, Pat never gets a makeover.
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  • Aldi
    January 1, 1970
    Wooooo! Nothing like a witty, Clue-like, atmospheric, fun, steamy f/f Edwardian murder mystery (by someone you already know can pull off both the Edwardian murder mystery and the f/f part) to pull you out of a super-shitty week and remind you that there's good stuff in the world. I adored Pat and Fen in Think of England, and I have been waiting for KJ Charles to do a full-length f/f story for several thousand years (only a tiiiiny exaggeration), so when word came out that not only was that happe Wooooo! Nothing like a witty, Clue-like, atmospheric, fun, steamy f/f Edwardian murder mystery (by someone you already know can pull off both the Edwardian murder mystery and the f/f part) to pull you out of a super-shitty week and remind you that there's good stuff in the world. I adored Pat and Fen in Think of England, and I have been waiting for KJ Charles to do a full-length f/f story for several thousand years (only a tiiiiny exaggeration), so when word came out that not only was that happening, but also it was going to be THIS pairing, I may have squealed like a society miss in a too-tight corset.And it was fully as lovely as expected! Pat's POV is a complete delight - I love her and her completely sensible, no-nonsense, pragmatic, society-avoiding, outdoorsy ways, as well as the deep strength of character, kindness and generosity underpinning that. And Fen in all her fluffy glory was a fantastic counterpoint. I loved how she and Pat grew to really see each other as the people they were rather than what society, bias or flawed self-esteem might have them show the world. And in Fen's case, it was really nice to have a love interest who was a product of her upbringing and the supremely unfair social mores of her time (i.e. someone who was brought up to act silly and helpless and airheaded and then was at best dismissed or at worst outright mocked and despised for the very qualities that had been drilled into her as befitting her gender), and to see her overcoming that, without compromising on her genuine charm. The chemistry between them was great as well, and if I have any tiny complaints, it's maybe that these two don't get quite as much action as the lads usually do, but then again I guess it's hard to find much time to shag while you're also trying to untangle everyone else's problems, sit through hours of ghastly dinners, shoot some partridge, and solve murders.As always, KJ Charles is great at bringing the period to life (and making you grateful you don't live in it - good lord, what an absolutely exhausting production formal dinners must have been). You can always rely on her having done her research and using it to get the language right and flavour her setting accordingly without absolutely drowning you in detail. (I did enjoy my extensive Google search of combinations undergarments.)The murder mystery was great guess-along fun, as well, even though I would rather have liked a floor plan to follow all the ups and downs and sideways through the house. The Northumbrian backdrop and obligingly stormy weather added greatly to the atmosphere. The villain was appropriately vile, and all the side characters were well fleshed out and wonderful - I adored Victoria in particular, and Bill was a total Remus, which is about the highest compliment I have to give to any dude.So yeah, a grand old time was had. Plus I learned a new word for tits and will absolutely go around referring to everyone's embonpoint from now on.I am also totally going to reread Think of England now just to catch up with these two again.PS: Ok, that cover, though. It's neat that it's in the same style as Think of England, but what's with the super-airbrushed model who looks like... well, maybe Lady Anna at best, but certainly neither of the MCs as described, and also why are we looking up her nostrils? (Are we checking for cocaine?) Sigh. Covers are hard.ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Roxana Chirilă
    January 1, 1970
    After I first read one of her books at the beginning of 2018, K.J. Charles quickly became one of my favorite authors, despite my not reading romance in general. She herself is clever, witty and well-read (in fact, I was a fan of her blog posts and tweets before I read her novels) and her books are fun, well-written and quite amusing as a rule.So it's no wonder I've been dying to introduce her work to someone who doesn't read m/m - and "Proper English" was thus perfect: f/f romance and a murder m After I first read one of her books at the beginning of 2018, K.J. Charles quickly became one of my favorite authors, despite my not reading romance in general. She herself is clever, witty and well-read (in fact, I was a fan of her blog posts and tweets before I read her novels) and her books are fun, well-written and quite amusing as a rule.So it's no wonder I've been dying to introduce her work to someone who doesn't read m/m - and "Proper English" was thus perfect: f/f romance and a murder mystery, which sounded absolutely great. ...except, you know, I accidentally put my critic glasses on when I bought the book, because I wanted it to be *perfect*. Which is less good for personal enjoyment, but it's great for dissecting books, so here we go!"Proper English" takes place at the very beginning of the 20th century (1902), when technology was not unheard of, but WWI wasn't even in sight. England was fresh out of the Victorian Age, with times slowly changing. Pat is a young woman, not very rich, who's been taking care of the family home for years, but who really feels she needs to leave said home when her older brother marries. As Pat has never thought much about the future, she now finds herself without an occupation and without any idea what to do with her life. So she accepts an invitation to a hunting party held by an old friend, Jimmy, the son of an earl - after all, she loves hunting and she's a shooting champion. But the shooting party isn't as pleasant as one might expect. Instead of being a rather cheerful meeting between a very limited number of old friends, it soon becomes clear people invited themselves along (like Jimmy's new fiancee, the social butterfly Fen) or forgot to leave the country house (like Jimmy's "cousin", Victoria Singh), and now tensions are high. "Proper English" has a slow start, and much of the first half of the book sets the scene; while it's a murder mystery, the murder takes place late in the novel. The downside to that is that the plot feels somewhat unbalanced, as the beginning is slow and meandering, and the ending is a rush to find the criminal, who isn't very hard to find. On the upside, when the murder takes place, there's every reason to think anyone could be the criminal. As another downside, the murderer is half-predictable (I was hesitating between two people, simply because I knew K.J. Charles wouldn't have one of the characters we like be the murderer). But I did like how the way it's all set up - it felt very satisfying when the death occurred.On the romance side of things, Pat and Fen are lovely. They work together (in more ways than one). I'm not sure if the romance was less steamy than K.J. usually makes it, or if I didn't feel it as being steamy because I have no interest in bosoms, myself. It might be somewhat less explicit than her m/m romances, but it's still explicit enough and it works on page. As general notes, there were a few things characters said or did which felt a bit forced, like the fact two men having sex was a criminal offence, while two women doing the same was not - or like two men being revealed as gay (not a surprise if you can read between the lines to an even tiny degree) and the main characters not batting an eye about it. But they're tiny things, in context, and while I think my intended "victim" to throw this book at might remark on their preaching, I wouldn't have cared much had I put down the criticism glasses when reading this novel.There's a bit of humor in this as well - K.J.'s really good at showing characters have fun and be relaxed with each other.It's cute, it's fun, and while I don't think it's K.J. Charles's best novel, it's still a recommendation I'll make.
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    Much more of a mystery than a romance, but absolutely delightful on both fronts. It's a "happily for now" rather than a "happily ever after" but I am given to understand this is an origin story for the main characters, who show up in other books as a happy couple. What I liked the most about this is kind of meta, but it was that this was a lesbian romance that did not have the male gaze at all, which is pretty hard to find, and I enjoyed it so much.
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  • Tori
    January 1, 1970
    Delightful. What all f/f historical romance should be. I liked Pat and Fen so much in Think of England, so it was wonderful to see their origin story. They click very fast--the whole novel takes place over a couple of days--but it didn't feel rushed to me. I like how well they both understood and saw each other. And I like how well suited they were to each other. Eye of the beholder, and all that.
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  • Lauren James
    January 1, 1970
    I would die for K J Charles!! I love everything she writes, and as she's a very reliable author (she publishes a new novel every few months) I am a very happy reader. If you like your romance to be part thriller, part horror, part murder mystery, part magical adventure, then check out literally any one of K J Charles' books, because they're all perfect.
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  • K
    January 1, 1970
    F/F FROM KJ CHARLES with muuuuuuurder I LOVE IT ALREADY
  • Grace
    January 1, 1970
    This was, no surprise, and ABSOLUTE delight!Charming characters, fascinating plot, and just a really fun, brilliantly written read. Pat was amazing, I loved her and Fen together, and honestly, all of the background characters and relationship intricacies were fantastically rendered.But it's K.J. Charles, so I really wouldn't expect anything less. :D
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    I could’ve wished for this to be longer, or differently plotted - it’s billed as a country house mystery but the murder doesn’t happen until fairly late in the book and then is solved very rapidly and without much interest. Proper English is definitely no Christie. On the bright side, it’s definitely no Christie! There’s no simmering repressed misogyny or implied belief that All Real People Are White. Also both the central and secondary romances are fun.My main issue with this book: I didn’t lov I could’ve wished for this to be longer, or differently plotted - it’s billed as a country house mystery but the murder doesn’t happen until fairly late in the book and then is solved very rapidly and without much interest. Proper English is definitely no Christie. On the bright side, it’s definitely no Christie! There’s no simmering repressed misogyny or implied belief that All Real People Are White. Also both the central and secondary romances are fun.My main issue with this book: I didn’t love the way the text presents Pat’s shooting skill as a defensive tool, as well as a sporting one. This is my NRA-sick, Stand-Your-Ground-weary American side, no doubt, but it was weird seeing an author I admire write a character who can stay cool in any crisis and put a bullet precisely in an assailant’s shoulder etc etc, because those are precisely the myths employed by those in the US who argue that gun control robs innocent civilians of their ability to defend themselves. A hearty extra fuck-you to the American gun lobby for making what should have been a lighthearted lady sharpshooter romance morally fraught.
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  • Vae
    January 1, 1970
    "She looked like the kind of woman that angular, plain Pat could never have been, and had never particularly wanted to be. She'd never aspired to turn heads; she truly didn't think she was jealous of those who did.But oh, she ached at the sight of Fenella Carruth, lovely in the candlelight."Pat Merton, spinster and All-England Ladies' Champion shooter, goes to a shooting party for a pleasant break after her brother Jonty's wedding. Anticipating a bracing few days of shooting partridge with her b "She looked like the kind of woman that angular, plain Pat could never have been, and had never particularly wanted to be. She'd never aspired to turn heads; she truly didn't think she was jealous of those who did.But oh, she ached at the sight of Fenella Carruth, lovely in the candlelight."Pat Merton, spinster and All-England Ladies' Champion shooter, goes to a shooting party for a pleasant break after her brother Jonty's wedding. Anticipating a bracing few days of shooting partridge with her brother Bill, family friend Jimmy and a few other gentlemen, she is instead faced with a more mixed party including Jimmy's new fiancee, Fenella Carruth, other friends of Jimmy's family and more family members than she'd been expecting, including the deeply unpleasant Maurice Haworth. Overheard conversations, secrets, undercover investigations, insults and a spot of blackmail all feature before the weather breaks, leaving everyone trapped in the country house...It's no secret that I adore KJ Charles' writing, some books more than others, and this one goes to absolutely the top of my list. While Pat and Fen have already featured in Think Of England as secondary characters, Proper English is a prequel to that and there's no need for readers to read ToE first. (Although I recommend it, too, because it's a delight.) Both Pat and Fen are given more depth as characters, and both challenge the other's view of themselves, finding value in qualities that have previously been dismissed. It's a joy to read them stubbornly validate each other and support each other both as women and as individuals, and see them learn to work as a team for the first time. Pat's practicality and Fen's emotional and social intelligence complement each other beautifully. Plus, since it's KJ Charles, the sex scenes are incredibly hot.Pat and Fen aren't the only characters with depth - KJ Charles has a fantastic knack for building out a full ensemble of characters, and I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of Victoria Singh, a vegetarian who refuses to learn to shoot when goaded towards it by the deliciously loathsome Haworth, and the slowly unfolding family secrets of both Bill and Jimmy.It's thoroughly enjoyable, romps along at a bracing pace like Pat out on a long country walk, and effervesces as much as Fen at a party. Highly recommended.
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  • Aarya Marsden
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars (A minus). Guest Review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books: https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/r...
  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    KJ Charles, friends. Her books often just don't work for me, but when they do, THEY REALLY, REALLY DO. I'm in love with this book. It was almost everything I've ever wanted in an f/f historical. The country house mystery! The murderee totally deserved it! But you know what made me happiest in this book? Fat. Fen is a fat, beautiful femme. She is universally acknowledged, not least by herself, as extremely pretty, in large part because of her generous curves. Pat is explicitly, specifically, extr KJ Charles, friends. Her books often just don't work for me, but when they do, THEY REALLY, REALLY DO. I'm in love with this book. It was almost everything I've ever wanted in an f/f historical. The country house mystery! The murderee totally deserved it! But you know what made me happiest in this book? Fat. Fen is a fat, beautiful femme. She is universally acknowledged, not least by herself, as extremely pretty, in large part because of her generous curves. Pat is explicitly, specifically, extremely attracted to Fen's fat body. I've definitely read lovely fat heroines before, but this was especially satisfying BECAUSE it was an f/f. So usually, in straight romance, you identify with the heroine who gets desired, and when that's a fat or "curvy" heroine - great. The POV is the heroine's, usually, so she lusts after the (generally not fat) hero who luckily lusts back in a satisfying way. Here, PAT is the heroine POV, the reader's POV. She is actively attracted to Fen, physically. When we read, we don't see the hero *explaining* to the heroine that he's attracted to her and imaginatively map that onto ourselves or whatever. We see Pat *being* attracted to her. And KJ Charles is really specific - Pat is practically faint with desire (and envy) for Fen's soft belly, her big boobs, her fat arms, her round face. There's no fatphobia here at all, no "in spite of" or "everyone else thinks your body is unattractive but I see it as beautiful" here, or "now that I've gotten to know you, I see...". In fact, even when she hasn't gotten to know Fen, she's bowled over by unwanted attraction... just like any historical romance heroine drooling over the hero's broad shoulders. And by removing fatphobia from the discourse, Charles has effectively recontextualized and flipped the entire narrative: like those heroes, everybody knows Fen is gorgeous. It was just... beautifully done. And it was so REAL. I'm a fat queer woman in love with a gorgeous fat queer femme. I'm actively attracted to her body; she's hot! So I was reading this like, yes, arms! yes, boobs! Yes, belly! But of course not every fat reader has had that experience, so I can imagine how amazing this POV would be to encounter if that's not part of your everyday. And there is so much more to love about this book. -I adore how it it actively confronts and dismantles femmephobia, that that's a huge plot arc. -I love that Fen is smart and experienced and very obviously taking the lead while Pat pines uselessly (until she gets her shit together). -I am so very glad to have explicit f/f sex scenes that don't fade to black!! Not just because it's fun to read, but because m/m and m/f romance get those and I want f/f to have them too. And these were realistic! Sometimes I worry for heroines' clits, you know? Back off with your relentless tongue, eager hero! Give that nubbin a break from intense direct stimulation!-I love that Fen is also obvs attracted to Pat for who she is and how she looks as well... and that Fen has apparently already worked through any internalized homophobia she may have had. -Plus the mystery was good fun! And it successfully killed the bad guy so no one else had to deal with his shit! Love it. Anyway, highly, highly recommended. This is definitely going on all future rec lists of f/f romance.
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  • Sharade
    January 1, 1970
    KJ Charles did it again!Anyone who has ever heard me talk about romance books has necessarily heard me gush about Charles again and again. I was looking forward to this new release, and was lucky enough to receive an advance review copy (but whatever am I going to do with myself until the next one?)Set two years before the events of the excellent Think of England, Proper English reads like an homage to Agatha Christie - a gay homage, that is. There's the knifed insufferable character during a te KJ Charles did it again!Anyone who has ever heard me talk about romance books has necessarily heard me gush about Charles again and again. I was looking forward to this new release, and was lucky enough to receive an advance review copy (but whatever am I going to do with myself until the next one?)Set two years before the events of the excellent Think of England, Proper English reads like an homage to Agatha Christie - a gay homage, that is. There's the knifed insufferable character during a tense house party, the whodunnit mystery, the trail of secrets and blackmail...But also, and mostly, Fen and Pat, two lovely women who fall hard for each other. Fenella Carruth is a "bubbly" and beautiful heiress, never taken seriously by her peers, until she meets the ever-practical Patricia Merton. Unfortunately, Fen is engaged to Pat's friend, Jimmy...To make matters more complicated, the jolly fun shooting party promised quickly turned sour with the hosts' son-in-law doing his best to make everyone daydream about murdering him (including the reader), until someone finally takes the bait and plunges a knife into the absolute fucker. There's no time to cheer, though, because suspicions are quick to arise and can threaten both women and those they care for...I loved how the relationship progressed between Fen and Pat, how much care they have for each other's feelings, how they lift each other's up. It's the power of well-written romance, and KJ Charles doesn't write anything *but* well-written books: a couple that's stronger together, that is united in the face of adversity. There's more sweetness than I usually expect from her stories (well, you know, except the whole murder thing, but - cue Cell Block Tango, he had coming, he had it coming) and it seems like she alternates between sweet leads and slightly sociopathic ones these days (The Henchmen of Zenda followed by Band Sinister followed by Any Old Diamonds, followed by Proper English...I wonder what's next.) I would absolutely recommend this book if you want a mix between a sweet f/f historical romance (we have so few of those!) and an Agatha Christie-esque whodunnit. My thanks to KJ Charles for the ARC and for writing these amazing stories. Please, keep them coming!
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  • River Benson
    January 1, 1970
    I've been hoping for this for years, and was SO EXCITED when I heard we were going to get it. Despite the fact that I've loved just about everything KJC has written, I was prepared to be disappointed, just because I had such high hopes. But actually, this was even more delightful than I expected. I listened to Think of England for the (mumble mumble)th time yesterday and this morning in ~preparation (though I pretty much have ToE memorized at this point), and every time Fen or Pat were mentioned I've been hoping for this for years, and was SO EXCITED when I heard we were going to get it. Despite the fact that I've loved just about everything KJC has written, I was prepared to be disappointed, just because I had such high hopes. But actually, this was even more delightful than I expected. I listened to Think of England for the (mumble mumble)th time yesterday and this morning in ~preparation (though I pretty much have ToE memorized at this point), and every time Fen or Pat were mentioned I was buzzing with anticipation. Things I loved: heat level (I hate when f/f books fail to acknowledge that many women are just as horny as their m/m counterparts). Pat, I feel you on Fen's breasts! hot kisses and hot sex. \o/Pat's brother, Bill. He and Pat are so delightfully sibling-y and bring out the humour in each other. and the love.The setting. The house and moors are vivid and atmospheric. The agatha christie with queers and POC ness of it all. DELIGHTFUL.the no-relationship-angst ness of the romance. This is the advantage of romance with a side of murder mystery. there is enough drama and conflict without having to shove misunderstandings and arguments into the mix.Miss SinghPATRICIA MERTONFENELLA CARRUTHand pat and fen and pat/fenSO GOODMy only quibble is that it could have been longer. Which, lbr, I never really want a good book to end, but this one was super tightly written. Fen is so openhearted, and Pat so straightforward that I didn't feel a lack of Fen's pov, but I would have happily read more backstory on Jimmy's family and how they got into their messes, and all the other guests. This was a well-crafted movie, and I wanted a miniseries. Not so much the author's fault as me being greedy.
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  • Talia Hibbert
    January 1, 1970
    I have screamed about this book so constantly that I actually thought I'd reviewed it weeks ago. But no - all my reviews have been verbal, in the form of friendly harassment, i.e. "READ THIS F***KING BOOK OR ELSE". Yes, I am a fun person to know.Before I get into exactly why this historical f/f murder mystery romance is so great (if you need more than that description, I mean), it seems only fair to mention that this book is dedicated to me. I don't think I am biased because I read this book ear I have screamed about this book so constantly that I actually thought I'd reviewed it weeks ago. But no - all my reviews have been verbal, in the form of friendly harassment, i.e. "READ THIS F***KING BOOK OR ELSE". Yes, I am a fun person to know.Before I get into exactly why this historical f/f murder mystery romance is so great (if you need more than that description, I mean), it seems only fair to mention that this book is dedicated to me. I don't think I am biased because I read this book early and became obsessed pre-dedication. Also, some might argue that the fact it's dedicated to me (a person well-known for her maximum coolness, and a close cousin to the sunglasses emoji) is, in fact, the icing on the cake. And when I say 'some', I mean 'me, I, Talia'. Ahem. To continue.Proper English is about Pat, an excellent lady shooter, going to a house party with her brother, only to find that there is PURE DRAMA, and also that her friend is engaged to the sparkling cream puff woman of Pat's dreams, also known as Fen. The guests are deliciously dramatic and wonderfully fractious and then A DEAD BODY IS DISCOVERED! WHO DUNNIT?! Pat and Fen decide to find out, in between falling adorably in love and doing the good, good kissy stuff we all came here for. This story is hilarious and sweet and sexually tense. Also, a racist is murdered. WHO COULD ASK FOR MORE?My favourite quotes:"The aim is to bring them in with a bit of boxing and then, when we have them trapped, inflict a spot of literacy on the blighters.""Honestly, I think everyone feels terribly awkward inside. It's the human condition." 'She didn't think Jimmy would serve her such a trick, but he was a man, so her expectations were low.'"...everything about you is champagne. Bubbling and delicious and special."AWWWW. AM I RIGHT?!(Victoria Singh is the REAL Queen Victoria like if u agree.)
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the author for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!Rating: 3.5 starsTrigger warnings: guns, shooting (animals), sexism, racism. Rep: F/F romance.I have been waiting for a f/f romance from K.J Charles for a loonng time so I obviously jumped at the chance to read and review this one! Things I liked:-The writing style. As always with KJC (this is my 6th novel now), the writing was stunning and engrossing. -The last 40% was SUCH a fun ride, I couldn't put the book down. -Fen and S Thank you to the author for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!Rating: 3.5 starsTrigger warnings: guns, shooting (animals), sexism, racism. Rep: F/F romance.I have been waiting for a f/f romance from K.J Charles for a loonng time so I obviously jumped at the chance to read and review this one! Things I liked:-The writing style. As always with KJC (this is my 6th novel now), the writing was stunning and engrossing. -The last 40% was SUCH a fun ride, I couldn't put the book down. -Fen and Singh STOLE the show for me. They were such amazing characters, I'm in love! -I loved how Pat and Fen's relationship grew. Their journey from strangers to friends to lovers. They spoke and confided in each other. You'll find no miscommunication trope between these two, and thank heavens because it's my least favourite trope!-Very funny at times, especially once I got to know all the characters!Things I didn't like:-I think this is a "me not you" situation but I was honestly so confused about all the characters. There are approx 8-9 characters that are all introduced at once and I couldn't make out who was who until towards the end!-So, granted, I haven't read many murder mysteries, however, not much "mystery" happened plot-wise for 60%. The murder didn't take please until around the 65% mark. Maybe it's just because I haven't read many murder mysteries before? -I really couldn't warm to Pat at the beginning. She was so judgemental of Fen. Everyone, including Pat, mocked her because she seemed "incompetent" and "naive". This obviously drastically changes once they get to know each other, but still...I think I would've loved Fen's perspective too, it probably would have balanced everything out. Overall, a lovely LGBTQ+ historical romance read which I am super happy I had the chance to review!
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