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England World #2

Think of England

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Lie back and think of England…

England, 1904. Two years ago, Captain Archie Curtis lost his friends, fingers, and future to a terrible military accident. Alone, purposeless and angry, Curtis is determined to discover if he and his comrades were the victims of fate, or of sabotage.

Curtis’s search takes him to an isolated, ultra-modern country house, where he meets and instantly clashes with fellow guest Daniel da Silva. Effete, decadent, foreign, and all-too-obviously queer, the sophisticated poet is everything the straightforward British officer fears and distrusts.

As events unfold, Curtis realizes that Daniel has his own secret intentions. And there’s something else they share—a mounting sexual tension that leaves Curtis reeling.

As the house party’s elegant facade cracks to reveal treachery, blackmail and murder, Curtis finds himself needing clever, dark-eyed Daniel as he has never needed a man before…

236 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 1, 2014

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About the author

K.J. Charles

59 books8,610 followers
KJ is a writer of romance, mostly m/m, historical or fantasy or both. She blogs about writing and editing at http://kjcharleswriter.com.

She lives in London, UK, with her husband, two kids, and a cat of absolute night.

Twitter https://twitter.com/kj_charles
Join the lively Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/13876...
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Please **do not** message me on Goodreads as I no longer check the inbox due to unwanted messages.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,237 reviews
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books2,013 followers
December 23, 2014
she had me at dark-eyed queer with intentions.


you got yer gigantic creepy house on gigantic creepy grounds.

you got yer addison-dewitt-type littry homo and a wounded vet in the closet.

you got yer murrrrrrrder! and blackmail! and people doing appalling things with the help behind closed doors!

nits: too short. over too soon. slightly insubstantial. bcuz i'm a greedy fuck who loves all of kj charles' words except the end.



*unless you are a troll who spent 12 days telling the internet this review was not good enough for you and that it was 'EXHIBIT A" of the "Bankruptcy" of our great nation's "Critical Review Culture".

Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,610 followers
February 17, 2014
I love Edwardian pulp, but...

I do love it. I love Golden Age pre-WWI Britain, with well-dressed gentlemen and dastardly foreigners, stiff upper lips and country-house parties, derring-do and plots and amateur spies. John Buchan, Edgar Wallace, E Phillips Oppenheim, and the other wonderful writers of a time when to be a straight white English gentleman was to be at the pinnacle of human civilisation.

Obviously, if you weren't white, or upper class, or Christian, or male, or straight, it wasn't quite so much fun. The fiction of the time is shocking to modern readers with its casual prejudices - in particular the anti-Semitism with which the era is so foully infected. But there's also the almost automatic villainy of queer people and sexually aware women; the restrictive class structure; the assumed inferiority of non-white and non-British.

I love the balls-to-the-wall plotting and milieu of Edwardian pulp, but the prejudices make it a guilty pleasure. So I wrote my own Edwardian pulp, my way.

Think of England features British officer and gentleman Archie Curtis, tackling a dastardly plot in a country house. Because Archie needed shaking up, I gave him decadent Jewish poet Daniel da Silva to spar with: not English, not white, not a gentleman and very definitely not straight. And then I sat back to see how long it would take Daniel to turn Archie's life upside down.

I had immense fun with this book; I hope you enjoy it!
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,883 reviews5,798 followers
January 8, 2018
Gorgeously, perfectly done. I adored it... even if the book really isn't my genre.

K.J. Charles is changing the face of M/M, I'm telling you. She keeps coming up with this brilliant, well written stuff that elevates the whole genre. Think of England is another exceptional book and I loved it almost as much as her The Magpie Lord series.

Is it a GFY? No, I wouldn't say so. This book is sort of like a coming of age or sexual awakening, only the person waking up is way past adolescence. Curtis was glorious in his discovery of his same-sex tendencies. Deliciously hot. I was also obsessed with Daniel, who was flawlessly written.

It was strange for me seeing a character openly mocked for being Jewish. I'm so spoiled living where I live, both geographically and in this period of history. I've never encountered outright antisemitism. I'll admit, reading some of the insults against Daniel stung a little. It just made me admire him eons more. He had the triple whammy of being Jewish, Portuguese, and obviously gay in a time where none of those things were tolerated. I was in awe of his strength, resilience, and his ability to adapt. I could read books and books about Daniel.

Though this book was nearly perfect in many respects, it still, at it's core, isn't the type of book that I can easily give 5 stars to. I simply don't enjoy mysteries and suspense that much. Too much danger makes me impossibly anxious and sweaty, and no one likes a sweaty Heather! This book gave me the cold sweats, and I found myself rushing it a bit because I had too much anxiety about what was to happen next.

Oddly enough, I can tolerate suspense and danger in my paranormal book much easier. I think in those types of reads, I KNOW the hero is going to pull some magic out of his arse and get the bad guys. But with real people? Real situations, like in this book? Yeah, I'm not strong enough.

So, yes, this book was amazing. Yes, all of the reviews are correct. And, YES, I'm happy that sweat-fest is over.
863 reviews231 followers
October 20, 2014

4.5 stars

Note to self: do not doubt KJ Charles.


I love KJ Charles' books. Her Charm of the Magpie series, the Simon Feximal shorts, and even Non-Stop till Tokyo...all rocked my world. But, I was interested in and ready for what I thought would be a character-driven, slow-paced, VERY British, gentle story. And this is how I started Think of England.

As I delved in, I wasn't immediately feeling the love. It was ok, I guess. But I was noticing things that were niggling on my brain.

The characters: I wasn't sure if I was meant to like them or not. Maybe as a lazy reader, I'm relying on the author to TELL me "LIKE THIS GUY" and "YOU HAVE TO HATE THIS GUY". But I was conflicted about how I felt about the person who was supposed to be "THE HERO" and the person who was meant to be "THE LOVE INTEREST". To be truthful, I didn't find either that heroic or that lovable. So now what?

Keep reading.

A mystery of sorts begins to introduce itself throughout the book. Questions about war and politics, men of power caught and evidenced in sordid acts, whodunnits as well as the guessing game of who's good and who's bad. I wanted to be drawn in by this story line. I wanted it to scream in my face, "Isn't this SO COOL and scary and interesting?" But in fact, there were lots of people, lots of details, lots of possibilities, and I wasn't entirely sure what I was supposed to be figuring out.  So now what?

Keep reading.

And then there's this gay-for-you element that I was not convinced about. Namely because Curtis, wounded war hero, Oxford man, man of society and stature seemed to disdain de Silva, flamboyant, Jewish, lower-class artist. He didn't seem to find him attractive or interesting. Until a magical blowjob saved the day and opened his eyes to his feelings. I wasn't buying it. So now what?

So NOW...here's where the brilliance of KJ Charles comes in.

The author rubs her hands together and lets out a maniacal laugh. And the plan begins to unfold brilliantly. She one by one, in the most subtle of ways, begins dealing with all those things I thought were bugging me.

You see, the hero & the love interest? Not so obvious which is which. And you begin to not only like them both, but you all the sudden find understanding and having compassion and devotion towards each. And you are unapologetic for loving them individually and loving them together. Curtis and de Silva become Archie and Daniel...and they're wonderful. How did that happen?

The mystery plot? It gets deep and it gets dangerous and it gets layered and it gets bloody. And a quiet book about a country house in England turns into a page-turner. A maze of interconnecting details that first have your head spinning and then have you say "Well goddamn!" How did that happen?

Oh and that magical blowjob that turned a straight man gay? Turns out not so much. See the 'boys will be boys' excuse at Uni and in the military doesn't pass muster if, well, maybe you liked it? And maybe you've found this chap attractive and desirable all along but just now figured that out? How did that happen?

So, I get to the end and I'm left with a bit of a head scratcher. I have no idea how this dread of possibly hating a KJ Charles book as I began to read turned into me bowing at the mastery of a KJ Charles story so perfectly written to challenge me as a reader.  And the capper? It was not done in a way that was in your face or over the top or screams "ENJOY ME BECAUSE OF (this), (this), and (this)". It was fun and delightful. But it was also wickedly smart.

It will be, to some, just a perfectly lovely light mystery novel about England.

To me, well, it will be the book that I learned my lesson: do not doubt KJ Charles

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Profile Image for Alexis Hall.
Author 51 books11.7k followers
August 2, 2015
In short: I love this.

In long: I wrote about how much I loved it over The Bookpushers for Queer Romance Month.

Queer or straight or what-you-will, if your romantic feelings are sexualised, I think a lot of people go through a stage of life best articulated as “omg, now I can have sex”. For me, it hit around lateish adolescence and continued throughout university. It took longer, a lot longer, for me to reach “omg, now I can have love.” And, obviously, the way we engage with intersections of identity and sexuality and behaviour are complex and individualised. For a lot of people in my social circle OMGNICHS was clearly a very liberating and joyous experience. For me, while I certainly had some good times and I don’t regret them in the slightest, it was always tinged by defiance. And the truth is, it was the only way I knew how to express myself. It was the only thing I knew how to want.

Sexuality. Sexual identity. Homosexual. Bisexual. These words are all about sex. Ironically, it’s something they have in common with a lot of the most popular insults for the queer-identified ( cocksucker, fudge packer, marmite miner, rug muncher, muff diver, clamlicker) which means that –regardless of whether you’re coming at it positively or negatively – ultimately you have a preliminary understanding of sexual identity that is largely defined by sex acts. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of sex acts of all kinds. But it’s also where gender and history and queerness all come together in a really sticky way.

First of all, the history of homosexuality is complicated and subtle, and has lots of peculiar little pockets: Welsh lesbians, Georgian polyamorists and male-male couples who openly described themselves as being married. But at the same time there’s also no getting away from the fact that, in England at least, because of the various legal frameworks surrounding and defining homosexual relations, the history of homosexuality is basically the history of buggery. I find it kind of telling – and also rather depressing – that we legalised sexual activities between men in 1957, but we didn’t get around to the marriage thing until 2014. The upshot of which is that our most enduring conception of what homosexuality means is that it’s about the right of men to put their dicks in other men.

This brings me back to romance, and the book I want to talk about today. For me, the important thing about queer romance is not the Q-word but the R-word. This is because it takes as read (as the default, even) a broader, more generous and – in all honesty – a more subversive understanding of what same-sex attraction means: which is that, just like opposite-sex attraction, while certain sexual behaviours may form part of it, it’s fundamentally about love.

But, at the same time, romance is a powerfully gendered, ah, genre, and while it can engage in fascinating and profound ways with social constructions of gender, it can also affirm and perpetuate them. This is made even more complicated by the fact that one function of romance is definitely connected to its function as fantasy or pleasure reading: our fantasies are fantasies and, as such, inviolable, but they’re as much informed by our cultural context as anything else. Men are “supposed” to be for sex and about sex, to have active and promiscuous sexualities, an expectation that romance novels often fulfil. And, of course, there are also virgin heroes, and nerdy heroes, and man-next-door heroes, and even the occasional submissive hero, but they’re very much the exception.

In queer romance with male protagonists, this becomes even more difficult because on the one hand you have the fact this is a romance, so it’s about love, but on the other hand you have a lot of historical, social and genre-driven sexpectations about queerness and masculinity. I should probably say at this juncture that I have no issues at all with erotica for its own sake, or sexual content in general: expression is important, especially when you’re dealing with marginalised people and devalued sexualities. But while OMGNICHS is important, so is OMGNICHL and, for me, the power of m/m lies in its capacity to explore and depict intimacy between men.

KJ Charles’ Think of England might not seem, on the surface, an obvious choice to illustrate this– Charles is best known for her plotty, sexy, paranormal Victorian swear-fests (which I also heartily recommend, by the way)–but this book is quietly and stylishly one the bravest, boldest, most important queer romances I’ve read for a while.

You can read the rest of the post here.
Profile Image for Martin.
754 reviews431 followers
February 21, 2021
Think of England!


I'm quite angry with myself for having ignored this book for several years because I didn't like the title much.

Looking back on the scene where it was required to 'think of England', I realize that the title is super fitting (and hilarious).

Gosh, I LOVE this story.

Victorian romances aren't on top of my list of favorite genres, so this is the first one that really goes on my top 10 favorites shelf as one of my best reads of the year. It's incredibly great.

Veteran soldier Archie Curtis needs to find his way back into 'normal' society after an accident with firearms on duty cost him several fingers and damaged his knee. Unable to find his footing, he accepts an invitation from an influential businessman and his (much younger) wife to spend a fortnight (two freaking weeks!!) at their country estate at a social gathering.

He accepts their invitation (for reasons that I cannot name, as they would be a spoiler) and meets a couple of pretty peculiar people at the country-house of Sir Hubert Armstrong.

Especially the slim Portuguese poet Daniel Da Silva - an unapologetic 'queer' who doesn't even try to hide is proclivities - stands out unfavorably to Curtis.

And I just realize that writing too much about how Curtis gets to know Da Silva on a more...erm...personal level would be a spoiler.

Anyway, it is Da Silva who has Curtis learn things about himself that the hardened soldier wouldn't have discovered on his own.

I simply loved these two. They're such an amazing couple, even long before they really get to know each other that well.

Strong and brooding veteran Curtis is definitely one of my favorite characters. I love how he desperately holds onto the facade and concept of a gentleman, even though there are moments where he'd like to kill someone in the course of this story. Overwhelmed by emotions, he sometimes loses his head and needs to be saved by his partner in crime Da Silva.

And quick-witted poet Da Silva with his silver tongue is the perfect counterpart for him. Gosh, so many great mm romance couples are derived from EXACTLY that type of character combination (Ty & Zane, Adrien & Jake, Dan & Vadim, etc.). Again and again, I find myself caught in the mesmerizing dynamics of clashing character traits. I am simply a sucker for these guys.

True to the time period, there are some reeeeally questionable statements made by Curtis (and other characters). Da Silva's heritage, religion and sexuality get kicked several times in what seem to be 'proper snide remarks of an English gentleman'. Unbelievable to think that this kind of aggressive in-your-face bullying was a non-issue in society at that time.

However, I loved to see Curtis break through the comfortable limitations of his viewpoints and find out (first hand and physically) that a foreigner like Da Silva might not be a bad chap after all, especially as he treats him with understanding and dignity - a circumstance that doesn't go without saying anymore for Curtis ever since his accident - not even among his peers.

We only get to see Curtis' POV in this book, and I loved him, but I would have given anything to see inside Da Silva's head. He' such a mysterious guy, keeping us in the dark about his background and his motives.

The writing style is extremely immersive. I rarely find myself with such a strong connection to the characters in a Victorian setting.

I wish I could say more about the story, but it is essentially a mystery, so better to leave things unsaid.

Definitely one of my top 10 favorite reads in 2021!

5 stars and more, of course!
Profile Image for Nataliya.
782 reviews12.5k followers
September 6, 2021
(Not so) guilty pleasure time! Since I am not shy about being a bit of a sucker for K.J. Charles historical-ish romances with actual plot and humor.

This time the plot revolves around an intrigue in Edwardian England country estate in 1904, with murder and illicit arms deals and blackmail. It’s a time and place where for a good life you needed to be straight, white, male, Christian, noble and possess a very stiff upper lip. Prejudices - class, ethnical, sexual - are the norm and the framework of the societal structure.

In this world we have Archie Curtis, an aristocratic former officer, burly and manly (“built like a brick shithouse and hung like a horse”), who ends up in a country mansion in (clumsy, if one is to be honest) pursuit of the truth about a dangerous (and possibly treasonous) matter. Along the way he meets Daniel da Silva (“Secret agent. Secret”), who seems to be in pursuit of a similarly dangerous matter, and despite Curtis’ initial disdain of his scandalizing overtly flamboyant nature, exhibits quite interesting depths. And in the line of their respective inquiries Archie and Daniel end up tangled in a web of conspiracies, scandals, blackmail, treason, murder and attempted murder — you know, the usual leisurely country house entertainment.
“What I mean is, one can’t help one’s fears. The question isn’t if you’re a fellow who cries in the night before a big engagement—and I knew a damned brave man who did exactly that, regularly. It’s whether you pick yourself up the next day.”

The story, as it is usual for Charles, stands on its own and not as a filler for erotic scenes — which, as I’ve said many times before, I appreciate. The development of Curtis and Daniel’s relationship is a nice addition to the book, bit it would stand on its own even without it. And that’s how I like my romantic subplots — good but not overwhelming. Romance is one small part; mansions, hidden rooms and corridors, caves and follies are a much bigger part.

But speaking of the romance… As it seems customary for Charles, we get a couple built on contrasts - class, wealth, and here also religion, ethnic divides and societal norms compliance. The straight-laced demeanor of Curtis and bitingly sarcastic alternating with exaggeratedly flamboyant mannerisms of Daniel contrast and complement each other very nicely, and stop just short enough of feeling overdone or artificial.
“It was also the last thing in the world he’d expected to hear from Daniel at this moment, and Curtis doubled over with laughter, not so much at the absurd pun as at the ease with which he’d been caught. Against him, Daniel was shaking with amusement too, and Curtis held him and laughed till tears ran down his face, in a way he hadn’t done since Jacobsdal, in this little safe place outside the world.”

It’s funny and lighthearted at the right times, suspenseful at other times, overall witty and is a pleasure to read.

(Oh yeah, and apparently Daniel da Silva is the enigmatic Private Bureau boss D.S. a couple of decades later by the events of Slippery Creatures — an observation that I can’t take credit for; I think it’s Ashley’s review of one of the books in that series that clued me in.)

4 stars.

My reviews of other books by K.J. Charles:
The Magpie Lord
Slippery Creatures
The Sugared Game
Subtle Blood
Profile Image for Nick Pageant.
Author 6 books888 followers
August 16, 2014
Five Very Proper English Stars! Thanks to my very best girl, Mishy, for a great buddy read.

Read this book. Take my word for it and read this wonderfully fun romp in the English countryside, you will not regret it.

The plot concerns Curtis,


a wounded military man, investigating some evil-doings at a country estate. Curtis is a very proper Englishman... until he meets Daniel, a "poet" who turns out to be a little bit more.


Daniel is sex on legs. Curtis tries to resist his charms


but danger, as it always does, leads to a smoking hot BJ and Curtis wants seconds... and thirds.

This book has it all: Great, witty snark as only the English can deliver it; hot sex; a sweet romance and a great mystery/adventure that will keep you up until you reach the end. I was genuinely worried for poor Daniel's safety at one point.


I want more of these two. MORE, MORE, MORE!

In case you couldn't tell - Highly Recommended.
Profile Image for Sofia.
1,180 reviews213 followers
October 18, 2014
4.5 stars

I know there was hardly a squeek from me whilst I read this, only one update, I did not browse through my GR feed, I just sat and read with a happy smile on my face.

Flowing fun read with a cast of good characters not only the main ones. Ms Charles had fun with people and plot and then I had fun reading this. The story reminded me of Christie's and Heyer's crime stories, same time frame, same type of setting. I've spent many a lazy Saturday afternoon curled up reading their stories or watching the TV series/film. Reading this gave me the same feeling.

Daniel is snarky, witty, sarcastic, quite delicious. Archie might not know what hit him but the man is a bulldozer and he knows how to hold on and stands for what he believes.

This will be one of the cases where I definetly beg for more.

Just one word of advise to those who intend to read this, clear your calender for an afternoon before you start because once you get into the story, you want to see what happens next and then next and then next until you are at the end and you are happy and you are sad because you cannot possible do without another installment.
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,357 reviews168 followers
November 27, 2016
Written July 20, 2014

4 1/2 Stars - So VERY good, Wow, hopefully a new series to crave.

A new novel by a favorite historical M/M author. It can not but be a grand reading experience.

I don't have enough words. I'm on vacation and traveling a lot this summer and there's just no time for thoughtful lengthy reviews right now. However, it must be said; This was so amazingly good. Just read and ENJOY.


...England 1904

A bunch of people are guest in an isolated, ultra-modern country house. The host, hostess and several of the household are suspected of crimes, and both strange and suspicious occurrences and questionable actions.

We face a new, but still an old-fashioned, kind of "Agatha Christie criminal detective novel". It is a puzzle to be solved and our two fantastic heroes soon becomes involuntarily pushed together. They both, Daniel da Silva and Archie Curtis have different agendas but a common case and the adventure begins....

And my goodness, this IS an adventure in good old British spirit.


I'm already so very fond and in love in these two amazing main characters.
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Daniel da Silva is without the slightest hesitation, a future big favorit of mine. An (from the blurb)“effete, decadent, foreign, and all-too-obviously queer (...the sophisticated poet is everything the straightforward British officer fears and distrusts)” kind of guy.

Wow, he Daniel, got me from the start. I always love (..yes, really adore) guys in my M/M books which is somewhat feminine, flirty, sexy and very flashy. Daniel is also a beautiful, pretty, slightly dark in complexion, Jewish, cheeky, saucy controversial man of Portuguese descent. A wonderful contrast and a sparkling colorful feature in this traditional British old class (always up with the nose) world.

Daniel's co-star, and soon his hot lover, is a war-damaged, slightly sad, bitter angry, of course also, very emotionally neglected ("I'm not gay, I just like to be touch by men sometimes") hero-character. ~ The big, blond, strong, sexy 'viking' character, Captain Archie Curtis.
‘Daniel's writhing was bumping their hips together, and Curtis deliberately pressed closer, body to body,
Daniel twistet violently to get his mouth free, and managed, “...fucking Viking!”
“Black mamba.”
“Black what?”
“A kind of snake. Dark, beautiful and appelingly foul-tempered.”
“Sod you.”
Daniel lunged at him. Their mouths met again, hard and hungry. (...)’

Breathlessly hot and so tantalizing exciting.
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Are there also some historical mystery and a lot of noble, funny true brittish (’jolly fun') second characters are everything just absolutely perfect for this, by now, K.J. Charles-romances-loving girl.

(...Not to forget are two very nicely portrayed and brave ladies; Patricia Merton & Fenella Carruth.)


This very talented, always so great, author Ms Charles did it again. Another amazing historical crime/suspense romance. All books by her are recommended sincerely and heartily from me. ~ Every time becomes, in every case I, just as mesmerized.

I just HOPE it will be more books about these guys. Please!!

I LIKE - ...crying out loud; This was great reading!!

A buddy read with The Ladies BR Quartette in July 2014. Big thanks as always. You're the best!
August 4, 2014
4.5 stars

KJ Charles, I bow down!

Such stellar writing: 5++ stars for that alone! Nary a single typo in the entire book.

This was historical fiction at its best: one stoic ex-military man and one femme Jewish poet, a week in the countryside at a not-everything-is-as-it-seems houseparty, mysteries, espionage, murder, and a couple very hot and heavy blowjobs.

This is not a GFY, but rather a sexual awakening of a deprived and repressed man at a time (1904, England) when getting caught in a same-sex act could easily land one in jail.

The suspense and drama kept me on the edge. I found Archie Curtis more likable as the story progressed, and Daniel da Silva slightly less so.

Because the story is told from Curtis' perspective, I had a hard time understanding Daniel's motivations and fears. He was a very complex character, an enigma, a riddle.

The dialogue was brilliant, and Daniel's smart, filthy mouth was one of the best things about this story:

Well, God knows what you used to be, then, because you're built like a brick shithouse and hung like a horse.

I'm a government agent and a shameless invert. Which is not to say I'll suck you off on demand, but if you think you've been ravaging my virgin mouth, you're about fifteen years and quite a lot of pricks too late.

I truly hoped you wouldn't come here...I dreamed that you would.

The ending was .

This book definitely felt like the beginning of a series, and I can't say I'm sorry about that. There's surely more to Archie and Daniel's story.
Profile Image for moonlight ☾ [semi-hiatus].
644 reviews1,033 followers
October 1, 2022
"That is, you did write those poems? It's not part of your pretence?"
"Of course I bloody did." A distinct note of East End rang in the vowels of that offended response. "Who'd you think wrote them, Gladstone?"
Curtis grinned down at him, absurdly charmed by that tiny chink in his armour. "I didn't think anyone else could have written them. They're just like you." Daniel cocked a wary, questioning eyebrow. "Incomprehensible," Curtis told him. "and far too clever for their own good, and hiding all sorts of things, and—rather beautiful."

oh my god i LOVED these two so much, individually and together. the banters. the tension. the push and pull. them. everything about their romance just pulled me in from the start and i wanted more once i got to the last page. i loved how they were such opposites, but they both had a different layer that i didn't expect (mainly from Daniel tbh) once a certain situation happened. the plot/mystery was a little intriguing and the tense scenes had me on the edge of my seat but the mcs, Daniel and Curtis, and their romance were what shined for me the most. 🥺🥰
Profile Image for Lilia Ford.
Author 15 books185 followers
January 18, 2015
Another winner. Charles nails the Christie-esque "mystery/house party" set up, though this is an oddly dark story about some truly ugly people. I loved both leads--I want to say especially Daniel, who felt both recognizable and also really original, but I thought Archie was wonderful too. To an unusual degree, each man illuminates the other on a fundamental level. They are very different but neither is as fully realized, romantically or thematically, without the other.

You see this in Archie's very funny but also poignant attempts at confronting Daniel's "Fragmentalist" verse (which doesn't even rhyme properly!) Everything to do with Daniel's poetry was surprisingly multilayered and revealing.

"There were vivid images, but they were extraordinary ones, not poetic at all in the way Curtis vaguely felt poetry should be, with trumpets or mountains or daffodils. These poems were full of broken glass and water-which was not clean water-and scaly things that moved in the dark."

The contrast between the Wordsworthian daffodils and scaly things in (not clean!) water was priceless. The part where Archie stops the other men from mocking Daniel's verse was one of those quiet moments of true heroism that really defines Archie's character. And in truth, his attempts to make sense of modern verse like Daniel's can serve as a stand-in for the experiences of a generation of people who could no longer exist within the comforting moral certitudes of the previous century.

And then of course, there's Daniel, whose religion, class background, and sexuality mean that he saw through those illusions and empty certitudes--probably starting when he was about four years old. (It's a brilliant, potent touch that he's the son of a locksmith). He's a great picture of the kind of mind and perspective that brought us Modernism, but the frequent references to suicide in the story remind us how lonely and wretched that alienation could sometimes be. It's refreshing and heartening to find that character occupying the main role in an old-fashioned romance, with heroic rescues, love and, of course, happy-ever-afters.

I'm teasing out a few of these themes because I used to teach this subject, but I don't want to imply that there is anything ponderous or pretentious in the literary allusions. They're built into the characters and plot in the most natural, understated way.

There's plenty more I would like to praise here, but I'll ring off. Bottom line: this is a home run. Read it. It's great.

Profile Image for Jordan Hawk.
Author 82 books2,442 followers
June 18, 2014

I'm a sucker for opposites-attract types of stories, and right from the first I felt the heat between the stolid English soldier not given to introspection and the gorgeous, decadent poet. I could barely put the book down, I was so eager to find out how they would overcome their outer differences of class, ethnicity, and background and discover how perfect they were for each other.

Of course, this being a KJ Charles story, there's plenty going on besides the romance. Intrigue and action are the order of the day, and there's never a dull moment from beginning to end.

My highest possible recommendation!

Disclaimer: KJ and I have worked together on a short story, Remnant. But we wouldn't have collaborated if I didn't love her style, and IMHO this is her finest work yet.
Profile Image for Em.
648 reviews132 followers
July 11, 2014
K.J Charles has become one of my favourite authors over the last year or so, she never lets me down. As with all of her books I was drawn into the story from the word go and read it right through. They're exciting, what can I say!

I really like the whole 'opposites attract' theme and Captain Archie Curtis and Daniel da Silva were as far apart as two people could be. I fell in love with Curtis right from the start, he's a very determined and strong-willed man who never backs down from a challenge and is loyal to a fault. Underneath it all he seems to have lost his purpose in life and that's understandable after being released early from the army because of an accident that left his hand severely deformed. It's also impossible not to fall in love with da Silva, the barbed tongued poet, who had his own hidden agenda, and the scenes between the two men were sizzling. Basically this book has the lot, a great mystery, smoking hot sexy bits and two really likable characters. I am hoping for a good few books about these two men!
Profile Image for Barbara.
433 reviews88 followers
July 9, 2014

BR - Monday - July 7

Bloody well written, fantastic and thrilling, the charming decade, the setting, the plot, the Mc´s! I loved both of these leading men, they couldn't be more different, but I´m especially fond of the vicious smart-mouthed, and enigmatic Daniel Da Silva, not only because is Portuguese but also I love is quick-minded sarcastic humour.

A freaking great historical story of deception, betrayal, and dirty secrets, this book has all I love, a bit of mystery, a bit of angst, a bit of intrigue and a mix of moral and sexual awake….

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I highly recommend this good grief wonderful journey to the Edwardian England!

And I hope there is a sequel! I need more Daniel!

Thanks girls for another jolly good BR!
Profile Image for Moony Eliver.
309 reviews163 followers
May 12, 2019
This is one of those books that's been on my shelves since right around the time I fell hook, line, and kindle for M/M.

"I've ruined you. I'm sorry. It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Think of England showcased several things that this author does extremely well — 1) opposites attract, 2) strong plot outside of the romance, and 3) wit for miles. I usually highlight lines that make me laugh but with hers I just have to stop, because when everything's highlighted, nothing is.

Archie and Daniel wiggled into my heart and set up camp there. It took a little more time for Archie's characterization to come alive, but when it did, he was such an amazing foil to Daniel, and vice versa, and I could have read another 200 pages about them.

Which brings me to my only real beef. I'm not one who usually complains about books (or even short stories) being too short, even if I'm left wanting more. If the pages feel the right length for the story being told, I accept it. In fact, a story is probably not a big winner for me if I'm NOT a little bereft when it's over. But here, I needed a little more to hit the 💯 level. It didn't keep me from loving it (and even likely rereading it), but it was kind of... like when that 10th bowling pin is left rocking back and forth but doesn't fall for the strike. OK that metaphor is way out of left field, but it's what popped into my head. 🧐

But there's zilch, nothing, nada that keeps me from highly recommending this one. It's as close to a classic for modern M/M as it gets, with good reason. DO IT.

P.S. The only thing better than reading such a fun romp is doing it with friends. Loved this BR with Hollis and Hayley!
Profile Image for ♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣.
711 reviews152 followers
July 20, 2014
Just to give you fair warning, you’re going to often see the word “love” or some variation thereof as you merrily prance through this review. Don’t say I didn’t give thee advanced notice.

I love Curtis and da Silva.

I love the mystery.

I love the unexpected (on their parts, anyway) collisions between these two men.

I love the dialogue.

Some of my favorite ingredients to a great story have I just listed here. Bonus: it’s set in 1904 England, which doesn’t come around these here parts very often. Historical fawesomeness.

Charles’ writing is spot on. Fluid. Assured. Both structurally and esthetically pleasing and at high levels, mind you. Simply put, it’s a joy to read.

Curtis and da Silva are both revealed in personality and motivation at realistic speeds. Their mutual hesitation, curiosity and quick wits grow organically. I feel like a food metaphor is needed rightchere.
Anyway, they come from different places in terms of life experiences, families, status and talents. What unavoidably attracts each one to the other are shared levels of intelligence, bald determination and passion. For everything and possibly even each other.

We’ve been shown what feels to be just the beginning for these two men and yet this book is a complete story. The ending is a true ending but there is much more to learn, so much more to come for Mr. Daniel da Silva and Mr. Archie Curtis. I just grinned at the thought. :)
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 76 books2,536 followers
July 9, 2014
I loved both the main characters in this historical tale of spies and betrayal, manners and appearances. Captain Archie Curtis was injured when a shipment of defective weapons blew up in the hands of himself and his men. When a hint is made that perhaps the event was sabotage and not an accident, Curtis decides to investigate. The possible culprit is the owner of a big remote country home, and Curtis gets himself invited to join a house-party there. But other than arriving on site, this honest, straightforward military man has little experience or skill to help him investigate for signs of guilt.

If he wasn't handicapped enough by his lack of espionage skills, he's also distracted by one of the other guests. Daniel da Silva is effeminate, flamboyant, sarcastic and oddly smooth and silent when he chooses to be. He has a knack for discommoding Curtis with either his quick words or his unheralded appearances. The other upper-class English guests are either amused or disdainful toward Daniel, but Curtis begins to have an appreciation for the man's ready wit and unexpected talents. And it doesn't take long before he discovers Daniel is both exactly what he seems to be, and something else quite different.

This story starts slowly. Curtis is bluff and almost slow, and has a very conventional viewpoint about how women and military men and public school colleagues should act. Da Silva is slippery and clever and mocking. But gradually, as the two men find themselves more and more aware of each other's virtues, so does the reader.

Daniel may be slick and superficial, a chameleon and hard to pin down. But he has serious skills, moral courage, and a sense of purpose underneath. His turns of phrase are at times excellent. And there is an echo of past hurt in him that catches the reader's sympathy, and gradually becomes clearer.

Curtis is not just a bluff soldier. He actually appreciates poetry even when he doesn't understand it. He is willing to be taught to respect people for their skills and not just their persons. He's honest and brave, and although he hasn't actually looked at his interest toward men in the face yet, he's neither a coward nor willing to lie to himself.

This is more a combination of drawing-room drama and action-adventure than real mystery. The culprits are revealed early, but getting them to justice isn't a simple thing in that isolated big estate. The true joy of the book is in the unfolding of the main characters and their relationship. And I dearly hope that this is only the first of several in a series for these two men. My only tiny quibble - I have a hard time with "Archie" as the name of a military hero-type MC. (Too many years of the comics, perhaps.) So I liked it better when Daniel stuck to calling him Curtis. But that's truly a tiny grain of sand in my enjoyment of this book. I will be rereading it again soon, without a doubt, and looking forward already to the next story from this author.
Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
604 reviews260 followers
March 21, 2022
Two years after a horrific war-time accident had ended Archie Curtis' military career, he finds himself infiltrating Sir Hubert Armstrong's country estate, hoping to somehow stumble on the truth behind the aforementioned... incident. Don't get him wrong, he's got an invitation and all, but the snooping part is definitely not part of the recommended behavioral etiquette.

Lucky for Curtis, the extravagant Daniel daSilva takes pity on his bumbling attempts at stealth and together they manage to find on a wealth of compromising documents. Unfortunately getting said documents into the right hands, proves to be much more perilous than the two could ever imagine. Even forcing our heroes to resort to (semi)public fornication in lieu of a diversion.

It's a diversion

I've been missing that feeling of a feel-good romance novel, that would nevertheless have me glued to my Kindle. The sort of action-adventure/murder/mystery with a healthy dose of risqué scenes that my first MM stories were made of. I'm happy to say that the action adventure part was done very well.

I especially liked how the identity of the bad guy(s) got revealed rather early in the story, making me excited to see where the stakes would actually lie. The two main characters were also rocking an intriguing mix of appeal and faults, that got me interested to in their relationship. But while I liked the general idea of Curtis and and daSilva together, having the former constantly be described as this huge hulking beast didn't make for a sexy imagery. And his well-meaning gentlemanly naivete didn't help things, either.

rugby strength

On the other hand, daSilva's less than savory behavior was a whole lot of fun to explore. And the occasional mention of Pat and Fen made for a surprisingly appealing addition as well.

Score: 3/5 stars

The writing was alright, and the story sufficiently not-cliché, in that I can see myself recommending it to fans, or even to readers willing to explore a new genre. As far as enjoyment value goes, I liked the action-adventure, but the romance wasn't quite up to the level of Charm of Magpies or Band Sinister.
Profile Image for Papie.
680 reviews129 followers
February 22, 2021
Loved. This. Book. It was so British and old fashioned and crazy. The story was completely unbelievable and OTT and I loved every single minute of it.

I adored Daniel and Archie. I loved and hated the secondary characters. I had fun on every single page of this book.

This was my first read from this author but definitely not my last. I thought I wasn’t into historical romance and then I read this. And I think it might be my thing after all.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,476 reviews1,893 followers
February 9, 2019
"That was what you were angry about? Being edged out of the action? I gathered that your pride was at stake--"
"I'm half-crippled. I don't need reminding of that. I don't find it easy to live with, and I don't like reminders that I'm less than I was."
"Well, God knows what you used to be, then, because you're built like a brick shithouse and hung like a horse."

When I first discovered Charles, I binged her like whoa. Like, I literally read everything possible. But for some reason I never wanted to conquer this one. I kept it, hoarded it, in my back pocket like it was my precious. Like I was saving it for a rainy day. Or, perhaps, a buddy read (shout out to Moony & Hayley). And it was worth the wait.

"I fear not. Both Jewish, of course, but the resemblance ends there."

THINK OF ENGLAND unfolded slowly. This is a story that opens with Archie, wounded in a tragic military accident, arriving at an isolated home in the country for some relaxation, rejuvenation, and some.. reconnaissance. Cue crime-y mystery story with blackmail! betrayal! blowjobs! and.. caves! Along the way Charles flexes her gorgeous gift for effortlessly including diverse characters into her historical settings and gives us da Silva. Flamboyantly flair'ing up the joint and generally, gratingly, getting in Archie's gentlemanly way.

"I could have sworn you were able to endure the disgusting business without too much agony. After all, you came."
"You made me come!"
"Well, I beg your pardon for imposing myself on you. Next time you may pick your own locks, solve your own problems, and suck your own cock."

You can see where this is going so I won't say anything more.

"Don't assume I'll behave like a cad."
"I don't want you to behave like a gentleman."

While I did try to pace myself with respect to my partners, I am not ashamed (a little shamefaced, though) to admit I devoured the last half of this book well ahead of them. And that the last half was also my favourite. I laughed. I swooned. I even teared up. This book is just so precious. Chapter eight is a fucking gift. And I am all aflutter for this couple and pretty much highlighted the shit out of the last few chapters. So, yes, while the opening chapter (or two) might not grab you the way other books by this author does, this is a building-block of a story and every new layer is brilliant.

"Are you always this difficult?"
"Are you ever going to make things simple for me?"
"I doubt it."

Of note, Charles is currently writing a f/f novel that features a pairing from this very story, and works as a sort of prequel to THINK OF ENGLAND. Sometimes it pays to wait for good things. And this was very good. Great. Delicious. I am a happy little gremlin I am. I might even come back and round up because did I mention the precious?

4.5 "may I call on you?" stars
Profile Image for Anyta Sunday.
Author 89 books2,571 followers
October 23, 2014
Loved. Loved so hard. Damn hard.

I have been thinking of this book for days after finishing . . . I really, really loved da Silva and the progression of the relationship was wonderful, and, gah, this just hit my good spots!

For me this was even better than the Magpie Lord, which I also enjoyed.

One of my top reads of the year, I think. :)
Profile Image for Alona.
673 reviews12 followers
December 22, 2014
No book... NO! Don't end just yet...
I really want more! I do hope to read more of Archie and Daniel in the future.

5+++ stars!!!

What I loved about the book was... well... everything really!
The writing was so beautiful, the setting, at a remote "castel" on the English countryside, the mystery, that was not silly, like in so many other romance novels, but I most definitely loved the two MC's the most, with a soft spot for the amazing Daniel da Silva *long long and deep sigh*!

Here, let me be kind and share MY Daniel with you:


Daniel de Silva, a handsome flamboyant at first impression, is NOT what you think he is!
I can siply say, that I totally fell for the amazing de Silva.

We also meet Curtis, the war wounded soldier, that is trying to find out if the accident, that left him crippled, without his job, and killed his friends, is indeed an accident or is it, like he suspects, something more?


I do not wish to spoil the mystery, so I will only say that the plot is well developed, and the connection between Daniel and Curtis is slowly building and it is just so beautiful to be a witness to it all.

The only snag was that I needed more! And I hope a sequel is on it's way to us.
Highly recommended!!
Profile Image for Mel.
648 reviews78 followers
June 12, 2016

So, um… wow! I’m a bit lost for words, because… Can you imagine? I nearly missed this wonderful story. *shakes head at self*

From the very beginning Curtis and da Silva had me smile. Let’s just say, insta-love this is not ;-) I won’t give much away, but it was just so lovely how annoyance turned into desire, turned into feelings.

I felt that their scenes had a lot of depths. KJC gives us such well developed and lovable characters and together they are just awwww. I was glued to the page.

The investigation plot was also very well done. It was suspenseful and very convincing, too.

Romance and investigation intermingle very well and support each other to make this a really good and entertaining reading experience.

I highly recommend this book, but since I was so late to the party, I’m guessing everyone has already read it ;-)

4.5 stars


What finally pushed me over the edge to give this book a real chance was Alexis Hall's post here. So, if you need any more convincing, have a look, but beware of some spoilers.


My friend EE also just wrote their review, which would have convinced me to read the book, too, had they been a bit earlier. It's really damn good.

Profile Image for Mir.
4,867 reviews5,034 followers
September 5, 2021
Hahaha, omg, some of the exchanges are so funny.
I really like that Charles manages to make characters funny in particular-to-them ways, not just Witty Banter™.

I also liked Archie's personal scale of what counts as "queer":
--Sucking another man's cock? Not queer.
--Tweezing your eyebrows? Kinda queer, but if they look good you get a pass.
--Loud buttonhole flower color? Unacceptably queer, disgusting.
Profile Image for Ami.
5,864 reviews496 followers
July 5, 2014
Captain Archie Curtis was invited to a country house by Sir Hubert Armstrong where he instantly clashed with fellow guest, Daniel da Silva. But Curtis came with a mission, he was planning to find out whether Sir Hubert had a thing to do with faulty guns and the accident that himself was involved. That was Curtis's goal. But what was da Silva was up to?

When I was younger, Agatha Christie's books were my main (and constant) companion. I loved her books, her small-town mystery, or simply when a number of characters being thrown in the same space -- a big mansion, a train, an island -- and havoc happened. Then it was revealed that the players involved were not exactly like they seemed. This was what I felt with the beginning of K.J. Charles's latest historical, Think of England. Here we had several guests ... and a backdrop mystery that soon was revealed and the players were keeping secret (the best twist coming from da Silva himself). I had no issues with the big players introduced, again probably because of my reminiscing the Agatha Christie's books.

While the start was a bit slow but the pace soon picked up and it became quite a thrill. For me, this story felt like slow beat of a drum that just getting faster. I immediately pulled into the wonderful combination of chemistry between Curtis and da Silva, the suspense, the action, and biting my nails to see how Curtis and da Silva could get out from the dangerous situation that they were in.

My complaints would probably more on the predictability of the bad guys. I just thought that it was way too obvious, too predictable, and I was expecting twists in regards to the identity of players. Heck, I even saw the by a mile. I think when it comes to a mystery, I am expecting something more.

However, in overall, this was a satisfying read. It cements K.J. Charles as one of best new authors in 2013 for me and has definitely stayed in my favorite author list.
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