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Behind These Doors

(Radical Proposals #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  62 reviews

Lucien Saxby is a journalist, writing for the society pages. The Honourable Aubrey Fanshawe, second son of an earl, is Society. They have nothing in common, until a casual encounter leads to a crisis.  

Aubrey isn’t looking for love. He already has it, in his long-term clandestine relationship with Lord and Lady Hernedale. And Lucien is the last man Aubrey should want. He’s

Kindle Edition, 449 pages
Published June 22nd 2018 by Greenwose Books (first published June 21st 2018)
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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  172 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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K.J. Charles
DISCLAIMER: I edited this.

A gently paced romance well grounded in the period setting, featuring a poly setup with a married couple plus one, where the plus one falls for another man as well. The dance that ensues is carefully delineated, and the pleasure is in seeing the complex negotiations of consent and power and intersections of sexuality, gender, and class across the tangled web of more than one three-way relationship. A really solid and unusual queer historical, satisfying for those who l
Review the second, December 2018: This book is so lovely. I adore the language and emotions and the characters. I cried a little at the last scene with Cath and Lucien. Glad I decided to read again <3

Review the first, May 2018: Slight back story: I've been in a bit of a book slump lately, and have spent more time on audiobooks than on my kindle, partly because of time restraints and family obligations (like, I'm obligated to spend time with my family instead of on reading). Anyway, I started
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I should start this off by saying I beta read this novel. That being said, Lucens has written a thought-provoking first book. The themes of upper-class vs lower-class have been explored in countless novels, but the juxtaposition of it here in both politics, with the discussions built around Women’s Suffrage and who benefits vs who suffers the initial cost, and personal relationships elevate it from what might have been a simple Upstairs/Downstairs story (even if Saxby is not actually a valet).

May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, 2018, favorites
This is a wonderfully quiet book that still manages to pack so much into the story, plus it's got great representation. At its heart it's a story about people finding their way to each other, just living life, and doing their utmost to be the best versions of themselves. But there's so much more happening here, from the women's suffragette movement to the changing roles of society and the ruling classes, down to the minutia of how even as you try your hardest you can still hurt those you love. S ...more
2.5* rounded up because poly + solid research.

- Everyone is poly! They make it work! \o/
- A character somewhere on the asexual spectrum! (Or that's how I read it; the modern terminology is of course never used.)
- I think this is the first time I've ever read a historical romance novel that had a character carry around a condom. Is that a weird thing to devote a whole bullet point to?
- The historical details are well researched, grounded to a specific time and place without going overboard
Helen Kord
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This is such a hard book to review because I could write for hours about my quibbles with it and not be done, but I just don't have the energy. So here's as brief a review as i can. Spoilers will happen

* Our main couple, Lucien and Aubrey are... okay. They're okay. They keep arguing in circles and I'm not even that sure why they fall in love, but they're perfectly fine. I was more into them before the Thing happened (and don't worry, we'll get to the Thing) but the Thing completely sucked out al
Rafa Brewster
DNF at 70%. I thoroughly enjoyed it up to about halfway through but then the slow pace and repetitious nature of the book caught up with me in a major way. Things that were unique to that era at first impressed me as being well-researched, but then started to grate on me because they kept being repeated in unnecessary detail. I think the slow pace also allowed me too much time to question certain things about the two MCs behaviors. Even when certain things came to light, I couldn't look past the ...more
Joyfully Jay
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.75 stars

With this story, I have managed to randomly bump into a book that ticked all the boxes I wanted ticked in a story about polyamory. It’s worth noting that Aubrey, Rupert, and Henrietta’s relationship is on display from page one and Lucens does a delightful job of detailing the dynamic of these three long-time lovers both in public and in private. The new relationship Aubrey finds himself developing with Lucien is then something new and separate from the one he enj
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I haven't read many polyamorous romances but I quite enjoyed this one. It's a tender, emotional romance exploring a number of conflicts (along class lines, along making a polyam relationship work). There are lots and lots of historical details, which sometimes felt overwhelming. The romance unfolded at the background of the the Suffragette movement and the fight for the rights of women. This is a very character focused story about a bunch of people who are so very different from each other but w ...more
Jun 23, 2018 marked it as maybe
Free at right now: :-)
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Admission: I beta-read this as it was being written and was one of several who begged the author to publish it. However, I paid for my copy of the final book.

For me, it’s the combination of all factors. Friendships and romances I can believe in, rich writing (if you love phrasing and wordplay, you’ll love this) and trustworthy historical details. It’s a lush novel you can dive into, feel embraced by and learn new things from.

For me it was also a relief from too many historical romances in which
Beware : this is a slow pacing novel.
But oh my, it was soooo enjoyable, with all the things I love in historicals : a thouroughly researched historical background having its full part in the plot, complex and three-dimensional characters, so very likable but fitting with their time period, a nice and polished writing.
4,5 stars for this good an solid HR.
I was, perhaps, too excited about this book coming out. So excited because the blurb sounded so good! And then I dove in, and . . . I didn't like it the way I wanted to.

First off, this is a polyamorous novel, but not the kind that I'm really into. Instead of everyone being involved with each other, we have branching off groups and subgroups. There's nothing wrong with this, but it's not my cup of tea. We also kind of have primary and secondary partners, although everyone in the book insists we d
Skye Kilaen
Gorgeous, lovely, wonderful polyamorous romance set in 1906 London. The main love story is between Aubrey Fanshawe, second son of an earl, and Lucien Saxby, working-class journalist. If you're a fan of historical romance that engages with feminism, class and power differences, political struggles, etc. (think K.J. Charles and Courtney Milan) then you should give this a try. I loved watching these two guys - and various other characters - work so hard to love each other, make mistakes, hurt peopl ...more
Freya Marske
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This will probably disappoint you if you're looking for something with a strong narrative impetus -- there was no clear tension or overarching plot structure dragging me through, so I kept comfortably putting it down and leaving it for a while before picking it up again -- but it happened to be exactly what I needed this week: a quiet, domestic, introspective, thoroughly romantic story about people having difficult conversations and falling in love. And the suffragette movement! And class tensio ...more
Taryn Pierson
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A polyamorous historical set in early 1900s London, with more complicated upper-class/lower-class drama than you can shake a stick at. Aubrey is already in a fulfilling but necessarily secret relationship with his old school friend and his wife, but when he meets Lucien, a journalist, he’s immediately intrigued. It takes a lot to negotiate how the various relationships will work, especially because the society of the time so strictly dictates what is and is not acceptable, but Aubrey is a big-he ...more
Amy Cousins
I finished Jude Lucens's Behind These Doors late last night (and read the tie-in short story today!) and I'm still thinking about it. This is a lovely book, deeply thoughtful about queer found families, all the many kinds of love, communicating across class and other barriers--where we can't even see how we're misreading situations and other people because we don't understand how our own ingrained assumptions skew our perspective--politics and women's rights, compassion and service. I also wish ...more
Sadie Forsythe
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-lendable
This was really quite lovely. I wasn't actually surprised to love it, as I'd read the prequel Gutter Roses and truly enjoyed it. It was fun to see Ben and Cath pop up on occasion, but they're not the main characters here. That would be Lucien and Aubrey, two men from different worlds. Two men who couldn't be sweeter. They were adorable.

I do think that this is one of those books that I love the idea of, finish with a deep sigh and heartfelt "awww," so long as I don't think too deeply about th
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

I have to admit that this quietly beautiful story left me feeling a bit bereft. Don't get me wrong, I adored the book, I just simply wasn't ready to let go of any of the characters. I think I fell a bit in love with each of them.

Lucien and Aubrey are divine, and despite all of Aubrey's legitimate concerns about getting involved with a journalist, I loved how he was able to let go of his defenses and let Lucien become an integral part of his life. Lucien too had to overcome his trust iss
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, romance
I loved this. The historical ambiance, with all the interesting social and political background, and a very enjoyable, though not easy romance between flawed, but sympathetic characters... What I especially enjoyed about this story was showing how a poly relationship could realistically work, even in those times - although it clearly requires a lot of communication. There were misunderstandings, but those were resolved by people actually talking to each other - one of my biggest pet peeves! I'm ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
This was really lovely to sink my teeth into. I'm not always in the mood to read about relationship negotiation, but when it's good it's real good. I love poly negotiations especially, so this was wonderful.

I also felt like this book did a good job navigating the line of showing how dangerous a gay relationship was at the time with giving me the happy ending I want.

I'll definitely check out more from this author.
JD Crittendon
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What Flaws We See In Others, We Harbors Ourselves!

The loves, likes and an antagonist are featured in the Lucien & Aubrey historical Edwardian romantic story. What well written tale with a historical look at class system, suffrage and morals of 1900s England.
There is so much to love, the well developed MCs, even the minor characters are well written. I enjoyed the intellectual debated regarding the have and the nots. The suffrage portions are well researched and the unusual relationships are
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review to come!
This was absolutely lovely and I very much enjoyed it.

I hope in the proud romance series tradition the author writes many more Radical Proposals novels full of cameos of all my favorite characters from previous novels because I have a lot of favorites and she's just getting started.

I love this historical poly love story. Suffragettes, class differences, loyalties, repressive society, polyamory, bi- and homosexuality, asexuality (?)
The range of topics is broad and the story well written.
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
As they say, It's not you, it's me!

I have difficulty reading stories where the conflict is the draconian Victorian laws. As someone in today's world, I want to see the MC's tell the adversaries to eff off and be done with it. And that doesn't happen.

The story is well written and for those who don't have the same mental blocks that I do, I think you'll enjoy it.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book isn't working for me unfortunately. The story is just not drawing me in despite some very good writing. It definitely needed more action, or less sex, and maybe more tension and--i dont even know. Something?

At 40% I just felt the story wasn't going anywhere and if it was, frankly I just didn't care.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Four stars and yet... my feelings and opinion are not that sure about it.

To try to generalize - this is a hybrid of a pure romance with historical, almost biographical fiction.

It was definitely a well-crafted novel with many characters involved on so many levels in a dance - dance that all society did in that time.

That time... yes. NEVER am I more grateful for living in these times than when I read stuff like this. Some books I downright delete when a character is oppressed or otherwise lives in
A book about unconventional love that defies the rigid strictures of society, set against the backdrop of the suffrage movement at the beginning of the 20th century.

I absolutely loved this book. It has no fast-paced action, no mystery to be solved, no nefarious plots to be dealt with. There is a dastardly villain, but his crime is not murder or violence, only boorishness, bigotry and the wish to poison the happiness of people who do not conform to his narrow-minded standards.

What it does have
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Jude writes historical romances about marginalised people affiliating and building family in the face of restrictive, often punitive, social norms. Her debut novel, Behind These Doors, is a Lambda Literary Awards finalist (Category: Bisexual Fiction).

For several years, she was a 1st Century Roman and Early Mediaeval re-enactor. Her primary focus was combat and target archery, and her secondary, li