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An Unexpected Gentleman

Thursday, August 9, 2018

An Unexpected Gentleman (2011) Alissa Johnson

Set in Scotland in the 1800s.

Connor Brice wants nothing more from the world than revenge against his half brother, Robert Maxwell. Breaking up Robert’s probable engagement to Adelaide would give him the best of both worlds.

Sir Robert had held his ground in the garden longer than expected as well. Apparently, the baronet had grown some sort of backbone over the years. Connor estimated his half brother to now be in possession of two, possibly three, full vertebrae.

Adelaide Ward sees an end to her struggle of keeping her family together: marriage to Sir Robert. The marriage will allow her to give her sister a season and her young nephew the clothes and toys a toddler should have. But she becomes a piece in the battle between Robert and Connor.

This was a very interesting story. Adelaide was immediately likable, struggling as she was to keep her family together and willing to sacrifice herself for their safety.

Oh, what she wouldn’t give to go back fifteen years and tell her parents, no, she did not wish to learn how to paint and play the pianoforte. She would learn carpentry, estate management, and how to navigate a stock exchange. How different her life would be now.

Connor is another matter entirely. He hates his half-brother, but also seems to have a true interest in Adelaide’s well-being.

I also very much liked Isobel, Adelaide’s sister.

“A woman swept away by the dark thrill of a secret romance,” Isobel corrected. “The ladies will still tsk behind your back, but their tongues will taste of envy.”

I was sorry not to get more of her in this story.

One thing that I particularly liked about the story was Connor’s reaction of George, Adelaide’s nephew.

“Not at all. I wasn’t certain if he cared for gingerbread, but I thought—”

He broke off when George shoved the step stool into Connor’s leg and, biscuit caught between his teeth, scrambled his way onto Connor’s lap.

George turned about, nestled his back against Connor’s chest, and went about the messy business of eating his treat.

Connor went very still and stared at the top of George’s head. “Er . . . Is this safe?”

A choking sound came from Isobel. Adelaide forced a bland expression.

“Yes. Small children have been known to sit on a lap or two and emerge from the experience unscathed.”

“Right . . . Right, of course.” He neither sounded nor appeared particularly convinced.

I love that Connor is allowed to have the kind of reaction that a single gentleman with no exposure to young children would have. He obviously likes George, but he just as obviously has no idea how to deal with him.

And I also enjoyed that George got to act like a young child should.

The only whirlwind was George, who strenuously objected to having to bathe and wear Sunday clothes on a Friday and made his displeasure known by leaping out of the tub and streaking about the house while screeching at the top of his lungs like a soapy, irate piglet.

And as single-minded as Connor is in his quest for revenge, he also quite obviously wants Adelaide to be happy.

“I’m sure it will be a fine garden.”

“It’s yours.”

“Yes.” She looked around her, studying the grounds. She was mistress of Ashbury Hall now, though that fact seemed distant and surreal to her. “There’s quite a bit for the architect and gardener to see done, but—”

“No, I mean . . .” He gestured at the tilled earth. “That. On this side of the house. It’s yours.”

“The dirt?”

But the end was what I particularly liked. Their problems were not magically solved with the wedding, and there wasn’t immediate understanding between the two. It was a lot of hard work.

Fuming— and comfortable with that sensation on every level— he stormed across the great hall and up the steps. He took them two at a time and came to an abrupt halt halfway up the staircase.

This . . . was not a wise course of action.

It was a fun story, but most importantly the romance felt more real that many, since it WAS a lot of hard work. I also liked the order of events in the ending.
Rating: 8/10

Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, Romance, Sexual Content     Comments (0)    



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