Ann Herendeed’s book Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander is a regency romance with all the ingredients: alpha male of the peer (check) naive and plucky country girl (check) arranged marriage of convenience (check) misunderstanding that throws the relationship awry (check) bawdy scenes (check).
But, there’s one more thing this romance has that most other regency romances I’ve read doesn’t have. You see, the alpha male (Andrew) in this case is a lover of men. He marries to produce a heir, ends up falling in love with his wife, and falls in love with a man, too. They get involved in international intrigue, survive dangers, and at the end have a wedding: between the two men.
While parts of this novel were a little muddled (the intrigue part) and some of it a little slow (extended scenes with secondary characters) and some of the characterization was a bit repetitious (how many rock hard lovers of men were there in that time, really?), I really enjoyed the book. I liked the historical details about how sodomites in that time had to live, and I liked the interesting machinations the story had to go through in portraying how a multiple set of people could go about loving each other when constrained by the sexual mores and roles of their time.
Recommended, but only if you can tolerate the bawdy bits and a lot of hard language.