Disclaimer: I was given a free advanced readers copy of the novel Spectered Isle in exchange for an honest review.
The newest Green Men series is set in 1920s England. The Great War is over, the Twenties are roaring in, the Bright Young Things hold ever more extravagant parties. It seems as though the world has changed for good. But some far older forces are still at work, and some wars never end. The Green Men series covers a motley crew of occult experts, jobbing ghost-hunters, and walking military experiments as they fight supernatural and human threats, save the land, and fall in love.
I’ve enjoyed many of Charles’ novels including their Charm of Magpies Series. This novel almost feels a bit grittier in some ways. Saul is such a tortured soul who is determined to keep slogging along. From the first chapter, I developed respect for him and how he faced his struggles. The revelations on his background later in the book aren’t a complete surprise but they make sense.
Randolph Glyde took me a little longer to warm up to, but by the end of the book, I absolutely adored him and his rather sardonic take on everything. The two of them are excellent compliments to each other while maintaining their individuality. I really appreciated how their relationship grew. It never felt rushed, instead, it was very organic and at times heartbreaking as they each worked to overcome their particular insecurities.
At the beginning, the ‘accidental’ meetings become almost amusing though the undercurrent of attraction is always present. I really appreciated how Charles’ developed both the characters and then allowed them to come together without sex/intimacy being an instant cure-all for their self-doubts.
I also appreciate that the sex is never gratuitous or superfluous. Emotions are just as involved in the scene. The scenes themselves never stretch on too long but are very satisfying. The focus is not on the sex but on the characters, where it should be.
I also appreciated that these two men talked to each other. At one point Randolph takes Saul out to dinner and while the conversation isn’t written out you get the sense that they talked about a great many things. And this isn’t the only time this happens. They talk frankly and openly a number of times. It was so very refreshing to see two men—lonely, emotionally damaged men—actually talk about and admit how they felt. Even going so far as to admit being afraid (gasp).
In short, this novel was everything I’ve come to expect from Charles. Fascinating characters driving along an intriguing plot that is never short of surprises and emotional revelations. I thoroughly recommend this novel and all her others.
You can find KJ Charles here.
You can pre-order Spectered Isle here: