Lord Richard Vane is the leader among his group of friends, the head of the “Ricardians” and the one who always helps solve everyone’s problems. The man behind the scenes, however, is Richard’s valet, David Cyprian. Cyprian is the one who handles all the dirty work, who makes the bribes and hears the gossip and makes sure that Richard’s life runs without a hitch.
For years Richard has been in love with Cyprian, but he refuses to indulge his feelings. Richard knows he is in a position of far too much power over his valet to ever have an equitable partnership and he refuses to put Cyprian in a situation with such a power imbalance. Cyprian returns Richard’s feelings and makes it clear that he wants the lord, but Richard’s continued refusal to get involved leaves Cyprian hurt and angry.
When Richard and his friends find themselves in crisis, the only place Richard can think to turn is back to Cyprian. Now Richard must hope that the man he loves can not only help him when he is in need, but also forgive Richard so the men can find their way back together.
A Gentleman’s Position is the third book in K.J. Charles’ fabulous A Society of Gentlemen series and it brings a really satisfying conclusion both to Richard and Cyprian’s story, as well as the ongoing series arc of the trouble the Ricardians face at the hands of Maltravers.
We have had hints of the attraction between Richard and Cyprian all along, so I was so excited to see them getting their own book. Cyprian is such a fascinating character. We see him early on as this behind-the-scenes problem solver. No one quite knows what he does or how he does it, but he manages to smooth over all the trouble these guys run into. He is particularly amazing in A Seditious Affair getting Silas out of trouble and I find him to be incredibly engaging. Here we not only get more insight into his clever mind and his devious ways, but we also see the more vulnerable side of him as he opens his heart to Richard, only to have Richard refuse him on some misguided principles. I love that we see Cyprian’s sensitive side, but also that this is a man who is strong, tough, and bold. Even as much as he cares for Richard, Cyprian is unwilling to let Richard and his domineering personality run roughshod over him.
I will admit I have found Richard a bit harder to like. On one hand, he truly cares about his friends and his family. It is clear that he means well, that he tries hard, and that he is willing to sacrifice for those that are important to him. At the same time, Richard is used to everyone deferring to him and he assumes he is always right all the time. He has trouble listening to what other people want and just assume he knows best. We see this very clearly in his fights with Dom in A Seditious Affair and it carries over to this story as well. While it is clear he loves and cares about Cyprian, Richard also can’t make himself step aside from his lord of the manor role and really consider things from his valet’s position, and until he can do that, he continues to make a mess of things between them.
Charles does do a nice job helping us understand Richard better, and an incident early in the book really gives us more insight into what has shaped much of his personality. Even so, it takes Richard a long time to learn here. He has multiple blunders and many conversations with friends who tell him straight up what a mess he is making of things, and it still takes him a while to get things figured out. I’ll admit this made me quite frustrated with him at times and slowed the early parts of the book down for me somewhat as Richard continues to make the same mistakes repeatedly.
Where things really pick up for me is in the second half of the story when the group all teams up to try to resolve the conflict that they face with Maltravers. I don’t want to give anything away other than to say the book picks up the storyline we have been following all along and brings it all to a head. Here we see Cyprian in his element and I found it engaging and so fascinating to see how he pulls all the pieces together and somehow turns this impossible situation around. We also see Richard finally coming to realize what he is doing wrong and fixing his issues with Cyprian, and I found it rewarding to see that he could change and grow.
I have absolutely loved this series (the second book in particular is masterful) and I found this to be a very satisfying conclusion. I am not sure if more books are planned, but this story neatly wraps up the current story line and leaves all our men happy and with bright futures. I love the way things ended up for Richard and Cyprian and I was thrilled to get their story and see their happily ever after. I would highly recommend the entires series and enjoyed it completely.