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Gilded Cage

(Lilywhite Boys #2)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  874 ratings  ·  208 reviews
Once upon a time a boy from a noble family fell in love with a girl from the gutter. It went as badly as you’d expect.

Seventeen years later, Susan Lazarus is a renowned detective, and Templeton Lane is a jewel thief. She’s tried to arrest him, and she’s tried to shoot him. They’ve never tried to talk.

Then Templeton is accused of a vicious double murder. Now there’s a man
ebook, 248 pages
Published October 23rd 2019 by KJC Books (first published September 23rd 2019)
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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K.J. Charles
Jun 20, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
The sequel to Any Old Diamonds, in which Templeton Lane, jewel thief, and Susan Lazarus, lady detective, have unfinished business. A lot of it. Also a small matter of murder.

It's a standalone romance, taking place about six months after the events of Any Old Diamonds, and I thoroughly enjoyed putting Susan "you will know me by the trail of dead" Lazarus on centre stage at last.
Talia Hibbert
You guys. YOU GUYS. Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite boys #1) is one of my favourite romances of all time, so I had high hopes for this one - especially because I've loved Sukey since she was a semi-feral child in An Unnatural Vice. So, yes, high hopes.


I was given an advance copy by the author, but I've also just purchased my own copy and would like a paperback as well, because this is incredible. I believe it's the author's second M/F (though
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up/ A-

K.J. Charles proves – once again – that she’s at the top of her game with Gilded Cage (the sequel to her late-Victorian-jewel-thief-caper Any Old Diamonds), which combines an intriguing murder mystery with a superbly written and swoon-worthy second chance romance.  It’s funny, it’s sexy, it’s poignant and it’s brilliantly observed, featuring wonderfully written, flawed characters who leap off the page, a villain worthy of all the boos and hisses and a high-stakes plot.

3.5 stars

I didn’t care much for the romance, and I’m not even sure I liked the MCs, to be honest. They were very well fleshed-out characters and I didn’t dislike them, I just didn’t connect much with them and therefore the romance was kind of... just there. I enjoyed the revealing of their past and how everything worked out in the present, but in pretty much the same way I enjoyed the mystery part of the plot, intellectually more than emotionally. It was entertaining to discover what had happene
Kaje Harper
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story, which gives the last of our Lilywhite Boys his romance. Templeton Lane turns out to be a man with a complicated past, a passion for opals, and a tendency to act on emotions rather than planning when he's hurt. He considers himself solitary, but he's still in love with Susan Lazarus, despite seventeen years of no contact after a moment when he knows he hurt her badly. And when a burglary job falls apart around him in murder and pursuit, he goes to her for help, despit ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
(i received an ARC in exchange for an honest review)

i started this book knowing i loved susan lazarus but i finished it with a bone-deep certainty that i would kill ANY MAN for susan lazarus without a single question asked.

(susan lazarus is the daughter of justin lazarus, my terrible con artist son whomst i would die for, and she solves crimes and wears 8-inch pointed steel hairpins at all times in case she needs to stab men in the balls. tell me YOU wouldn’t kill any man she told you to.)

Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved EVERYTHING about this book!

This is a queer m/f (heroine is bisexual) historical which is still relatively rare occurrence in romance. Unlike the first book in the series which didn't quite work for me, this one hit all my sweet spots and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a second chance romance, friends-to-enemies-to-lovers (again) with a strong mystery/suspense plot.

I loved both Susan and Templeton but she is outstanding. I liked she was unremarkable in appearance and used that to her advan
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a delight too. Far from the typical behaviour of m/f romance that I despise. Where I usually find the female characters TSTL and the male ones, brutes without brain, the net of little decisions that have put our protagonists in their positions is so well knitted and written that was an absolute pleasure to read.
Thank you guys for the BR, I'm looking forward to discuss this and the other two as a whole.
Thank you very much to KJ Charles for providing a review copy of her novel in exchange for an honest review.

Gilded Cage is the long-awaited sequel to Any Old Diamonds, taking place about six months after the first book, with Susan Lazarus at the forefront. I was already planning on reading this book, but when KJ Charles called Susan, Susan “you will know me by the trail of dead” Lazarus, she made me even more excited for it.

Susan Lazarus is an enquiry agent who solves crimes and doesn’t take sh
Leaf of Absence
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this gay straight(ish) romance.

May 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I love Susan and Temp, but this wasn't nearly as good as Any Old Diamonds, Alec and Jerry's book. The pacing, both of the romance and the mystery, felt off. Whereas Any Old Diamonds felt compact but well constructed, like no sentence was wasted, Gilded Cage felt compact because it seemed like it was abbreviated, like it was constructed with the help of some shortcuts. Still, there's enough here to admire and enjoy, even if it isn't up to the standard of the first book.
4.5 stars

K.J. Charles is more well-known for her M/M historical romances... well, who knew that her M/F one ends up being one of my favorite of hers. This is an EXCELLENT second-chance romance, featuring blazingly sharp female detective by the name of Susan Lazarus and duke's son turned jewelry thief, Templeton Lane (or as Susan knew him previously as James Vane). Oh also thrown in a double murder in the plot, will you?

James knew Susan almost two decades ago, they were childhood friends turned l
First, y'all should click over to see the larger version of the cover so you can see our heroine Susan's face. It is the most non-swoony face I have ever, ever seen on a romance novel cover, and that is so true to her character, I love it. Even the arms are folded! Susan Lazarus is not fucking around.

This is the second book in the Lilywhite Boys series, which follows two con men and thieves in late Victorian London. This series is actually connected to Charles's prior series, Sins of the Cities,
Jenn (not Lily)
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-f, olympics
Beautiful! I'm so glad that I read The Rat-Catcher's Daughter before I started this one -- it would've been a little helpful before reading Any Old Diamonds, but it's pretty essential to this story. After reading Any Old Diamonds, I felt like I wanted to go back to the Sins of the Cities trilogy, but now I think I need to re-read those very soon -- I want to see Susan again as a child, and remember all the lovely things about Mark and Pen and Nathaniel and Justin and Greta and Tim. (And Clem and ...more
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Susan Lazarus is my new feminist hero. She’s smart, uncompromising and a damn fine investigator and I absolutely loved that she had no time for marriage and no urge for children. She is her own person. That she made Templeton Lane do all the compromising - and that he was glad to do it for her - made this story all the better.

Highly recommend.
There’s a lot to like about this book. And I did, overall, like it. But at no point did I love it. Part of that might be the fact that I don’t read much m/f romance these days. I’m not taking stars off for that though. It’s not the book’s fault. It’s not like it tricked me into reading it. Or did it? 😂 No it didn’t, I’m kidding. Although it did kind force itself on me after I finished book one. After all, Templeton and Sukey intrigued me so much in that one that I felt compelled to read their st ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to try to write this review as someone who randomly came upon this book, and not as a fangirl who felt like she won the lottery when she scored an ARC from the author (disclosure: I scored an ARC from the author). So if you're new to KJ Charles, why should you read this book? There are so many reasons, but here are just a few:

1) Her writing is impeccable. Every word feels like it was chosen with great care. Just marvel at the first time we meet Susan Lazarus in the opening of Chapter 2
Roxana Chirilă
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Susan Lazarus is a lady detective who is really capable, and really, really, really into independence. She doesn't live with her adoptive family because she wants to strike out on her own, she never married, she wants things done according to herself. That's fine and sensible because she's also struck fear into the heart of all criminals in London.

Templeton Lane is a jewel thief who has never been caught - he and his partners are so good at getting away with crimes that they've been dubbed the "
Adriana Herrera
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was basically a perfect book for me. KJ Charles is one of my favorite authors, in any genre. They way she develops a story is so effective every time, I'm blown away.
What I loved most about this M/F is that from the word go Susan is clearly the one that will save the day, and the hero, Templeton (James)...He knows, like at a bone deep level that the only person that can save him is Susan. His faith in her is unwavering and her ability to see the good in him, brings him back to himself. This
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book, and I love love love that it's (view spoiler) Also, I am an eternal devotee of queer lady badasses like Susan Lazarus. ...more
Em Wittmann
I gave Gilded Cage an A- at All About Romance.

Last night I finished Gilded Cage, and moments ago, I finished reading the latest batch of responses to the ask@AAR: Does Historical Romance have a quality problem? Well, if you’re exclusively reading K.J. Charles, the answer is a resounding ‘no.’ This is an author absolutely getting historical romance right, and the quality of this story is top-notch. Gilded Cage works best if you read it as part of the Lilywhite Boys world, but it can stand on
I mean. Was there any doubt this book was going to be fantastic? Reader, nope, there was not.

Susan Lazarus, Victorian street urchin turned lady detective, who takes no prisoners, suffers no fools, and gives no fucks, is as uncompromisingly and furiously magnificent as previous books set her up to be. Templeton Lane a.k.a. James Vane, aristocrat turned jewel thief, who treads lightly, snarks cheerfully, allows himself to be vulnerable, and treats consent and equality as the matter of course they
Eva Müller
This review can also be found on my blog

One of the beautiful things about KJ Charles romances is that they feature fairly reasonable people. What stops them from being together isn't a misunderstanding that could be cleared up with one conversation. Sometimes something beyond their control stops them from being together and sometimes it’s less, that something stops them from being together and more that there are angry murderers/demons after them who have no objection to them being a couple but
CW: miscarriage

“I know how stupid it sounds, but it’s true. I swear to you, Susan—”

“Well, obviously it’s true,” she interrupted irritably. “If you’d made it up you’d have worked out something better than this.”


“I believe you,” Susan said, with patronising clarity. “Not a sentence that I pictured myself saying to you ever again, but here we are.”

This is so fun and works as a stand-alone (I haven’t read the previous book in the series). Susan is my favorite kind of heroine: emotional
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Any Old Diamonds, the first book in the Lilywhite Boys series was one of my favorite reads this year. KJ Charles’ follow up book, Gilded Cage, has been one of my most anticipated. I will try not to spoil Any Old Diamonds too much, because I think you ought to read it, and you must definitely read it in order to appreciate Gilded Cage.

Not all is right with the Lilywhite Boys after the Ilvar affair. Templeton Lane is feeling resentful about what happened during the heist, about Jerry and Alexander
Amazing! This book has murder, mystery, thrills, jewel theft, hot sex, deadly hair pins, humor, a very badass pair of protagonists. It was everything I expect from KJ Charles and more. We follow Sukey Lazarus, an absurdly clever and feisty detective, and Templeton Lane, a fallen noble turned jewel thief, as they navigate through their bittersweet past together and looming threats from London's seedy underbelly. No previous reading required, but I do think this book will be more enjoyable if you' ...more
Kat, short for Clara
“You can’t pin down rainbow moonstone. It’s impossible to see quite how it contains the blue, where the sheen comes from. They aren’t showy; they don’t glitter. But they glow.”
Breathtakingly romantic, swoony af, poignant, funny, and so beautifully written - this was fucking glorious in every way.
Audible Review

Overall 4 out of 5 stars
Performance 4 out of 5 stars
Story 4 out of 5 stars

Is this the end of the Lilywhite Boys???
Gilded Cage is the first book of KJ Charles that I've read/listened to with an m/f pairing, I'm so used to her m/m books that it kind of took me by surprise that she also wrote m/f- I guess I never really looked past the book/series I was reading at the time, to see her full library of work!
I really liked Susan and Templeton/James. I love second chance romances and the
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
Are you surprised to learn that this was an utter delight? If you are then it's only because you haven't read any K.J. Charles yet.*

Gilded Cage is the second full length novel in the Lilywhite Boys series and, although you could probably read it as a standalone, I think in this case it works best if you've read both Any Old Diamonds and the interstitial novelette The Rat Catcher's Daughter. The relationships, dynamics and motives of the characters will make much more sense that way. (Also, thes
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh how I loved seeing Susan Lazarus finally meeting her match. It was about time :D

I absolutely adored Susan and the second half of the Lilywhite Boys' battle of wits, the way they dealt with past hurts and decided to trust again. It was glorious! And so nice to finally see another side of Susan, now all grown up. It was also really really precious to see Justin and Nate still bickering after 20 years.

I only wish there'd been an epilogue. Not that I wouldn't pay good money to see Jerry Crozier
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KJ is a writer of romance, mostly m/m, historical or fantasy or both. She blogs about writing and editing at

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

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Other books in the series

Lilywhite Boys (2 books)
  • Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1)

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