Captain Felix St. George and his wife, Anna, are the talk of the ton, for all the wrong reasons. Everyone knows they married in disgrace and when Felix joined the army, Anna followed. Now, a decade has passed and they’ve returned to Society rather unexpectedly. Still healing from a career-ending injury, Felix isn’t sure how or where he and Anna will fit in this new world, but Anna’s friendship with Lady Abigail Howe is at least making things a tad easier.
Lord William Errington didn’t expect his Aunt to welcome the St. George’s back into Society, but he’s hardly in a position to gainsay her actions. A house party brings him and Felix closer, and William can’t help but like the man, whose kindness seems genuine. But when an unspeakable tragedy strikes close to home, William finds himself leaning on, and desperately wanting, the one man he can’t have. Felix clearly loves his wife and William would never come between them, so what future can they hope to find?
A Queer Arrangement is a rather sweet romance between two scarred men, who both struggle to find their place in a world that does not accept them. But in addition to being a love story, A Queer Arrangement also offers a poignant look at grief and healing.
Felix and William are equally interesting characters and theirs is a relationship that begins in friendship, before evolving into passion. In Anna, Felix already has a best friend and devoted spouse, but William offers another layer of companionship. There is no cheating in A Queer Arrangement. Felix and Anna have an open marriage and she has female lovers of her own, one of whom is William’s Aunt. This offers a bit of tangled drama, but I never felt that it tripped over into reading like a soap opera. I wish we’d been given even more time with Felix and William on page; they were a strong couple, but it often seemed as if the book was being pulled away in other directions and they never got the full attention they deserved. For the most part, the secondary characters are purposed and nuanced. The exception is the antagonist, who served as a weak and somewhat unnecessary addition to the book.
The author does a beautiful job of delving into the issue of grief and portraying the rawness of how it feels and ultimately how we struggle to survive in the midst of it. I felt this quote by William was rather apt:
I—I cannot think, or make a decision. I cannot sleep or get a moment’s peace and all that runs through my mind is… is something desperate, some place that I do not wish to go when there is already so much scrutiny upon me. And I….
That Felix is able to offer William a measure of peace and the quiet support he needs to begin his healing is another aspect to their relationship that read as both realistic and rather beautiful.
A Queer Arrangement comes to something of an abrupt end, at least in my opinion, but aside from this and a useless antagonist, it was a really enjoyable book. I appreciated the main characters and I hope the author has future plans for Felix and William because I would love reading more about them. I think anyone who appreciates a strong historical romance will find plenty to like here.