Arden has been on the throne for five years. Together with his husband Mil, who serves as captain of the palace guard, the pair have bought peace to the kingdom after years of turmoil. The pair's heroic love story is the subject of many a song in the city's taverns. But Mil's perceived “common” origins causes some nobles to suggest that the king might need a more suitable consort. One with at least some noble blood. Library Keeper Mattin offers to help the pair by drawing up a list of suitable candidates and helping to research the precedents for such arrangements. Even though Mattin himself would be suitable, he doesn't put his name on the list, since he doesn't think the pair would be interested in him.
In some ways, “A Suitable Consort” has the feel of a classic romantic comedy plot: Someone needs to get married and their nerdy best friend offers to help them, without realizing that they're the perfect match for their friend. The big twist in this case is that it's an existing couple that needs to find a third. It means that it's rather clear early on where things will end, but as with many of these stories, the fun is seeing how they get there.
It's hard not to like Mattin, and since we get all of the story from his point of view we get to know him rather well. He seems to be a polar opposite to the warrior king and his husband. The men spent years living rough and have little taste for fine things, while Mattin likes his sparkly hair clips and fashionable clothes. It's not surprising that he doesn't think the two warriors would be attracted to him, but they are, and it seems like Mattin is the only one in the whole palace who doesn't know it.
The book is set in a sort of medieval fantasy world where marriages between men are well accepted, as is polygamous relationships. Once you accept that, the characters are all very believable. The world built by the author seems very real and the characters are all quite natural within it.
“A Suitable Consort” is available from Amazon.