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Eleventh Hour

(The Carstairs Affairs #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  464 ratings  ·  115 reviews
Borrowed from the Secret Intelligence Service cipher department to assist Briers Allerdale - a field agent returning to 1920s London with news of a dangerous anarchist plot - Miles Siward moves into a 'couples only' boarding house, posing as Allerdale’s 'wife'. Miles relishes the opportunity to allow his alter ego, Millie, to spread her wings but if Miles wants the other a ...more
ebook, 248 pages
Published August 1st 2016 by Manifold Press
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  464 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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K.J. Charles
Cracking 1920s spy read with a lovely Buchany period feel (all bureaux and international espionage and dastardly international anarchists). This is the kind of book that just makes me happy: romance in tandem with external plot, internal conflict but where people talk to each others like adults and discuss problems. I particularly liked Miles, the linguist with a yen to be a hero, and especially that his cross-dressing is clearly part of his gender identity, not a sexual kink. A thoroughly enjoy ...more
Kaje Harper
A fun historical spy story about two government agents in the 1920s. What sets this one apart, in addition to great period detail, are the characters.

Briers Allerdale is the more conventional hero, a player in the Great Game, accustomed to moving among other spies and agents and provocateurs and guns for hire across Europe. He's now back home in London for a new assignment. A dangerous known-anarchist woman has been spotted playing the role of a maidservant in the cozy domestic household of a p
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars

This has 1920s London + two men forced to pose as husband and wife + an attraction + an anarchist plot. And it's Elin Gregory (author of one of my all-time favourites On a Lee Shore).

I loved the setting and time period and I really enjoyed Miles and Briers, especially Miles. He's a cypher for the government with a particular talent for dressing up and acting as a lady (which, to his reluctance, the government forces him to do on more than occasion). He's been teamed up with Briers, a
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous historical romance

Any book which references the 1897 St Helens Challenge Cup team's front row as inspiration for the name of one of the characters is a winner in my book.

Rugby League is often overlooked by its posher big brother so this made me very happy.
That it comes along with a superbly plotted historical romance set against the backdrop of anarchist plots in London in the late 1920s can only be a bonus.

Everything about this book just worked for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
3.5 stars

The blurb was right up my alley—to a degree, but surprisingly the aspect I had more doubts about, (view spoiler), was the one that I found was best executed—and the writing was mostly good, despite some passages not flowing very smoothly and the action scenes being a little underwhelming, and the spy plot was interesting once things started picking up, but I never fully connected with the characters and I didn’t really feel the romance.
I loved how Mil
"Eleventh Hour" is set in the London of 1928, and at first glance may seem like a comical bit of English drawing room suspense, complete with a seasoned field agent and a cross-dressing linguist from the cipher and translation department masquerading as husband and wife.

Alongside that dainty tea cup, add in a Tommy gun, anarchists, nasty London sewers, a murderous Macedonian and an absolutely nail-biting ending, and you have a much truer sense of the flavor of "Eleventh Hour."

Recent intel has i
Ulysses Dietz
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Eleventh Hour
Elin Gregory
Manifold Press, 2016
ISBN: 9781908312402
Cover by Michelle Peart
Four stars

Four stars from me is five stars from most other reviewers. Just saying.

Elin Gregory is another of those Brit authors who not only has a way with language, but manages to handle the past in a manner that is authoritative as well as captivating. She puts in just the right amount of detail without getting heavy-handed and showing off. We are back in the era of Lord Peter Wimsey, or Hercule Poirot, and
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books, read-in-2020
This was a nice surprise. Eleventh Hour has been in my to-read shelf for years, and I regret not having read it before because it was historical and that's not my to go genre at all. The story was really interesting, the writing is good and the characters, even the ones I wanted to give a piece my mind for their actions, fantastic.
I loved reading about those difficult times in between wars through Miles and Briers eyes. Those unestable times when we thought we wouldn't repeat the same errors ag
Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~
This was fun! Set in post-WWI London, a couple of blokes who work for the Intelligence office, are thrown onto a case together to spy on some ne'er-do-wells who are up to no good. Their cover requires one of them, Miles, to masquerade as a woman, and it's revealed that Miles does enjoy cross-dressing from time to time.

The case they're working on is interesting, and while a couple of the turns didn't quite ring true (view spoiler)

By Jove, what a little cracker this was. As has been said in other reviews, this was very '49 Steps' by John Buchan, terrifically atmospheric with all the detail and language ringing true. Think Spooks or James Bond, but set in the roaring 1920's. 5 stars.

Miles, slight of frame but huge of heart and courageous to a fault, especially when dressed as his alter ego Millie, the little tiger...or should that be tigress?? Briers [and yes, I loved the reasoning behind his first name, hehe] was the expe

DNF at 53%

I'm probably the only person in the world who doesn't like this book.

It's hard to read a book when you can't warm up with main characters. And that is exactly what happened to me - I really didn't connect with Briers Allerdale and Miles Siward.

The blurb appeared very promising, and honestly what could be better than two British agents of the Secret Intelligence Service playing a married couple as undercover in London of the 1920's in a dangerous mission to save "King and country"?

Elisa Rolle
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory
1) I will have to keep my eyes open for more stories by this author as she pulled me into this story from the beginning.
2) Thoroughly enjoyable and historically fun story of espionage and an unusual romance, with great characters.
3) I must confess that I'm a huge Helen MacInnes fan, so the storyline of Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory was right up my alley. Having lived in England, I am also a big fan of the Victorian sewer systems
I loved everything about this story. I loved Elin Gregory’s style of writing, the British setting, the 1920’s era, the characters, and the plot, which moved along at a great pace. There were plenty of things happening, and just when one strand of the puzzle seemed to have been resolved, we were off again, on the trail of another clue.

Miles had unexpected depths. It was extremely satisfying to see him come into his own, not only in his role as Millie, but also as himself. Briers would’ve been los
Aug 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, 3-star
This is well written, but didn’t tickle my fancy like it has for many of my GR friends. Miles is an interesting character. A small man, underestimated and ridiculed by his colleagues, he blossoms as his more confident alter ego Millie. But I didn’t feel anything special for Briers or their budding relationship. Likewise, their mission progresses in a workmanlike fashion, but didn’t exactly raise my heart rate.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was so good. I loved everything about it. It takes the time period and circumstances seriously without feeling heavy and has a sweet and sensual love story that feels prominent even though the spy business is definitely driving the plot. I also found the attitudes toward Miles/Millie to be as eye-opening as they were infuriating. I thought it had a very satisfying conclusion that would work perfectly well as a standalone...but I definitely see myself reading the sequel eventually :)
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written romance between Briers and Miles, undercover British agents in the 1920’s. Set against the backdrop of London the detail of character, place, and time, are enthralling. I couldn’t stop reading this. Recommended.
Amy Durreson
One of my favourite books this year :)
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
DNF 46%

A quite new romantic crime-solving story (M/M). Highly praised by some friends. Curious!

... but I couldn’t hold my interest.
A perfect historical thriller!

This book was hard to put down. It's definitely slow-paced and allows the reader to sink into the story, the exciting plot and all the characters with relish! It's also an interesting tale of motive and morale.

I found here absolutely everything I could hope for. There's mystery, intrigue, danger and suspense. I've always found the inter-war years greatly interesting and the early stages of the British Secret Intelligence Service fascinating. The Great Game between
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I suck at writing reviews so I don't often bother, but Eleventh Hour is so brilliant that I felt I have to share.
It is very rare that I find a historical mm tale that hits the right notes for me but this is right up there with Charlie Cochrane's Cambridge Histories or Josh Lanyon's Snowball in Hell.
The characters ring true, both the main and minor players are true to life with a depth that made me really care about what happened to them. Their language and mannerisms are spot on and the 1920s Lo
Karen Wellsbury
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full review on Prism
But this is smart, funny and romantic. The spy stiff was thrilling and exciting, the romance slow burn and lovely. Miles dressing in woman's clothes was not salacious, but part of his character - and Briers got that.
There needs to be a sequel. Really
Helen Kord
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here's my pros and cons of this book:
*1920s is literally the best setting for a histrom you can't change my mind
*the atmosphere is so soft and will make you feel mushy emotions
*Cool Spy Stuff
*book that admits the rest of europe actually exists?? holy wow. Briars actually speaks czech!!!
*smol and tol archetypes
*cross-dressing and some good good gender feels
*Miles as Millie is some Good Shit
*when Briars fucks up and does some not great presumptions about Miles, he takes the time to think thro
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
This was such a gentle book. Which isn't what you'd expect really from a book about spies--and don't get me wrong, the spy and intrigue plot is very well done--but the romance and the characters are just so kind and careful with each other, it's very wonderful.

I'd classify this more as a HFN (and I see there is a sequel, so that makes sense) not only in content, but also in context. It's hard to imagine a HEA in mid 1920s Europe. A fact the book is very aware of, and drives home with a conversa
Jordan Lombard
Title/Author:Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory
Series/Standalone: The Carstairs Affairs #1
Genre/Sub-Genre: Historical Spy Thriller/MM Romance
Book Format: ebook
Length: 248 pages
LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay, Miles likes to dress as a woman, Millie, on occasion, but is not transgender.
Violence: Yes
Ratio of Sex/Plot: Heavy on the plot.
Well Written/Editor Needed: Well written
Would I Re-Read?: I first read this book in 2017, and so 2020 is my second read in prep for the second book in the series. Th
Anna Butler
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My essential reading for a long day's travel, and never has a tedious railway journey been so enjoyable. I loved this story. This is such a delightful romp! A true Ripping Yarn, as they used to be called back in the twenties when this was set - all anarchist plots, suave foreign agents, silk stockings and Mills bombs. Dee-light-ful stuff!

The setting is wonderfully 1920s London, and the little details ground the reader thoroughly in its time and place. The two protagonists are an interesting pair
Susan Roebuck
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly recommend Eleventh Hour to anyone who enjoys adventure and suspense in their m/m reads.
Set in post-war 1920s, London is immersed in spies and terrorist plots. There are so many levels to this novel that there's never a dull moment as Briers and Miles are commissioned to stop an anarchist who has slipped through the SIS net, and the reader is kept on the edge of his/her seat to the final page.
The two men (who, for their assignment, are disguised as a married couple - husband and wife
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. I absolutely loved this. It's a spy thriller romance and it's delightful. It's fun and exciting and full of intrigue and dashing smart people foiling the bad guys in 1928 London. The main characters are wonderful and so well-developed. Briers is the suave, experienced field agent and Miles is a brilliant linguist who's only ever worked in an office and happens to both look good in a dress and be willing to wear one in service to king and country, and they go undercover as a married co ...more
At least 3.5 stars, rounded up

Intriguing setting (post WWI London) well-imagined, with a welcome depth of period detail. Fluent and vibrant writing.

The central relationship ("manly" Briers Allerdale and secret cross-dresser Miles Siward) is most attractive, although annoyingly subordinated too often to the demands of a slightly bonkers plot involving caricatured anarchists. To be fair, the plot isn't at all untypical of thrillers actually written in the 1920s, but given that the treatment of th
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a great book, the attention to detail was wonderful. The author was able to evoke a strong sense of the minutae of daily life as a couple that gay couples were unable to openly experience in this time*; hand-holding, going out to dinner, waking up together, arguing.
And it was a jolly good caper story as well with lots of the famous British (and Welsh) flair for understatement!
I look forward to the next novel that Ms Gregory publishes :)
*I know that for many people in many parts of the
Lillian Francis
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this in beta, in fact even in that form this was one of my favourite reads of 2015. I'm so excited to read the finished version. ...more
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