Series: The Lords of Bucknall Club
Time to read: 1h45m
Date read: Sat 2 Apr 2022
Sherlock Holmes, but sweeter.
Okay, so I think it’s fair to say that after having read all five available books in this series, Gale is my favourite character. I love many of the others, and I’m still in awe at the way these authors write characters so well, but Gale is far and away the one I love the most.
It’s definitely not because I relate to him more than the others, no sir.
But no – I was excited to read this book and so uh *checks notes* I started reading it about forty minutes after I’d finished A Husband for Hartwell. It was definitely fun. A lot cuter than I’d expected, with Chant helping smooth over any of Gale’s rough edges, and with a mystery to boot.
The mystery of mysteries
The issue is, I’m not all that interested in a mystery. Or, not right now. I’ve read plenty of m/m romance where they’re solving crimes – and mysteries do come up in other genres, too – but I was far less interested in the case than I was in seeing whether Gale and Chant would finally get together.
Of course, that’s not the mystery of the story, is it?
Still, I think the mystery subplot does help the book with its pacing. With Hartwell and Warry, there was a bit of a breakneck pace, what with them having known each other since they were children; it meant their romance still felt real, a culmination of adolescent crushes leading into something more.
Here, the mystery lets the romance breathe – and allows us to see what Gale excels at.
Either way, I didn’t work out the truth of it until it was spelt out on the page. I don’t mind. It was a nice mystery, well wrapped up to bring the story together.
Okay, so what are the good bits?
Honestly, Chant’s first introduction was a great scene – just asking Gale to dance without preamble. It’s enough to get Gale off-kilter, in a good way, and sets the tone for the rest of their relationship.
I also loved any scene with Gale’s family, particularly his mother. Again, it’s nice to read about some interesting female characters in this genre (it can be a minefield) and Gale’s mother seems like she’s lived one hell of a life. Plus, her love and compassion for Gale are a soothing contrast to some of the parental reactions seen in the first book.
He sighed and gently drew his hands away. “He said wed, Mother.”
“Why would he say such a thing?”
“I’m no investigator, but perhaps because he wishes to wed you.”
The scene when Gale and Chant first go looking for a child who turns out to be Elise results in this fun bit of dialogue that I think was used in some promos (and I see why, because it’s hilarious):
“Elise,” he called softly. “Elise, come out, wherever you are hiding. We know you’re here.”
“I have no wish to offend,” Chant whispered. “But you sound rather like an axe-wielding madman indulging in a game of cat and mouse with his prey.”
And, of course, we get introduced to some fun characters for later books. Lord Soulden shows up to give Gale information – and save the day – and we hear about some kind of scandal involving Morgan, Warry’s cousin.
Gonna give this one four cute puppies: 🐶🐶🐶🐶
This is such a soft story, I think, even though it’s got a mystery and murder and people getting injured. It’s just, Gale and Chant’s romance, even when it’s sexual, has that quiet edge to it that’s just lovely. The only reason I didn’t give it five puppies was because, although I think the mystery paces the plot well and is definitely interested, I wasn’t that interested in it; I was too busy reading to make sure Gale and Chant would definitely get together!