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 manhunt out for him, the ports are watched, and even his best friends have turned their backs. If he can’t clear his name, he’ll hang.
There’s only one person in England who might help Templeton now…assuming she doesn’t want to kill him herself.
GILDED CAGE IS SET FOR PUBLICATION OCTOBER 23.
- Read my review of The Rat-Catcher’s Daughter (Lilywhite Boys #0.5)
- Read my review of Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1)
Thank you very much to KJ Charles for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
“Some people,” she said at last, “might call this a fucking cheek. Of all the detectives in London, you come to me?”
“There’s only you,” Templeton said.
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 shit from anyone. She’s the adopted daughter of Justin Lazarus, a main character from the Sins of the Cities book, An Unnatural Vice, and works for him at his agency after he gives up a life of crime for love, and for Susan. If Susan sounds amazing already, then let me tell you she wears steel hairpins in order to stab men in the balls if (when) they deserve it.
Templeton Lane, on the other hand, is a jewel thief of the worst kind. He takes what he wants and doesn’t give a damn about the consequences, that is, until he’s pinned for a double murder that he didn’t commit (although he did steal the jewels). Enter Susan Lazarus, whom he goes to for help because they have History. Templeton Lane’s real name is James Vane, the great-nephew of (my favourite character) Richard Vane, a main character of the Society of Gentleman novel, A Gentleman’s Position.
Her eyes hadn’t changed in seventeen years. They were till blue-grey like winter sun on the sea, and they still went colder than any sea ever could.
The romance between Susan and James is just so well done. It’s a second chance romance with miscommunication and There’s Only One Bed, which has to be my favourite trope ever. I really appreciated how respectful James is to Susan (as well he should be, but gosh, its hard to find a respectful romance hero sometimes). He lays himself bare to her and allows her to set the pace of their relationship, as he understands her reservations about marriage. Even though this book is set in 1895, Susan’s distrust of the institution of marriage is still highly relatable and I felt seen.
While this book features the miscommunication trope, it’s not something that Susan and James could have prevented, and once they discover that they were duped, they talk over their feelings like adults and learn to do better. That doesn’t solve all of their problems though: James to take responsibility for his past and stop running away from who he used to be if they have any chance of being together again. All this while trying to solve a murder.
The amount of callbacks and cameos in the book had me grinning like a loon. While you don’t need to read Charles’ other novels to understand and appreciate this one, I still highly recommend you do because picking up on all the Easter eggs was just so much fun! Although it breaks my heart to know that Richard’s nephew, his name-sake and James’ father, turned into such a shit. But finding out that Richard lived to the ripe old age of ninety (hopefully with the love of his life) made me feel better again.
Gilded Cage is romp of a novel from start to finish. The crime element is high-stakes, the romance was swoon-worthy and super hot, and the characters are incredibly loveable. Get yourselves a copy of this book when it comes out!