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Behind These Doors

(Radical Proposals #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  281 ratings  ·  99 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 isnt 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. Hes a

Kindle Edition, 449 pages
Published June 22nd 2018 by Greenwose Books (first published June 21st 2018)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  281 ratings  ·  99 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
Kaje Harper
I really enjoyed this story of a gay journalist from humble origins, and a bisexual, polyamorous nobleman, working to fit a growing loving relationship into the minimal overlap of their lives in turn-of-the-century London.

The Honourable Aubrey Fanshawe has been in love with his best friend Rupert, Lord Hernedale, since they were boys at Eton. Rupert's wife and childhood friend Henrietta loves both of them, and although marrying Rupert was her logical choice to protect all their futures, the
5 Splendid Stars


"Behind These Doors" is a multifaceted, complex, multilayered story which is, at its heart, a deeply tender romance between two men. The primary romance alone is exquisite, but the descriptive historical aspects of Edwardian society, the battle for womens rights and the Womens Suffrage Movement, and the inclusion of a polyamorous romance thread all make this an enthralling read.

Lucien Saxby is a working class journalist, writing for the society pages. The Honourable
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.
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
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was chosen to satisfy the ReadHarder prompt for "An historical romance by an AOC". Often smuttier than a chimney sweep just before his weekly bath, it proved to be well-researched. The writing is of a higher caliber than I was expecting, which is always a nice discovery, and the best of it is applied to descriptions of setting, atmosphere, and period costume and etiquette. The romantic dialogue and lovers' banter was less convincing; rather repetitive and somewhat stilted.

Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is worth reading. Saying that upfront again: this is worth reading. As historical romances go this is pretty damned impeccable on writing style, descriptions and sense of time and place. Lucens has got the chops for this game. As I said, this is worth reading.

So, why am I so focused on that central message (worth! reading!) right at the start?

Probably because my own feelings about this at the end of the book are, despite the fact that it is plainly a Good Book, muddled. Frankly, if some of
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 Womens 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: favorites, 2018, arc
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. ...more
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
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
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
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
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 ...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. Its worth noting that Aubrey, Rupert, and Henriettas 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
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 ...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, its the combination of all factors. Friendships and romances I can believe in, rich writing (if you love phrasing and wordplay, youll love this) and trustworthy historical details. Its 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.
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 ...more
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, hes 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 ...more
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
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, historical
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.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a gorgeous, lovely, heartfelt, political book.
Sadie Forsythe
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Sara Norja
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful novel. I have never read such good, and accurate-to-me, polyamory rep, so this was a joy throughout. Nuanced, interesting characters with understandable motivations and histories that caused tension. The character relationships - the central focus - were explored in detail, and people's reactions and emotions felt real to me. I was overjoyed when Aubrey, Lucien, Henrietta and Rupert solved things by actually talking about them - and how even those conversations didn't magically ...more
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
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I upped this to 5 stars when I realised I was looking forward to rereading it.

This is pretty much what I want in a romance, emotionally speaking. Also, delightful nuanced characters.

It is also a good historical, no small feat.

I look forward to more books by this author.
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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 2019 Lambda Literary Awards finalist (Category: Bisexual Fiction).

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

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