All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: What A Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden

What A Gentleman WantsWhat A Gentleman Wants (Reece Family Trilogy #1)
Caroline Linden
Zebra Books
2016, 352p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {courtesy the publisher/}:

Two strangers are swept into a sizzling, spellbinding world of daring deception and unexpected passion. . .

Marcus Reese, Duke of Essex, has spent most of his life pulling his twin brother out of trouble. A thank you would suffice; instead, his resentful sibling forges his name to a marriage license and presents him with an unwanted wife. She’s a vicar’s widow with a mind of her own, and the first person in Marcus’s well-ordered life to make him feel. . .completely out of control.

Dire straits have led Hannah to the altar with a gentleman she hardly knows. Played for a fool, she’s embarrassed, furious, and worse, married to an equally outraged, exasperating man who unleashes all manner of emotions in her–not to mention unwanted desire. Reluctantly, Hannah agrees to play the wife until he can sort out the mess. But the undeniably attractive Duke unsettles her well-guarded heart–making her want to do so much more than “act” the role of blissful bride. . .

Lately, historical romance novels have been my comfort reads. They’re what I look for on my kindle when I can’t decide what I want to read and I’m always looking for new ones so that I have a nice collection there. I’m not exactly sure why it is – but there’s something soothing about the descriptions of dresses and balls. The men are all very aristocratic Dukes and Earls and the women are often of good breeding but impoverished and needing to make an advantageous match.

This one is a little different in that the heroine is not of a ‘good’ family – she’s of an entirely different class, hasn’t even ever met a Duke. She’s the widow of a village reverend and has a young daughter. And originally, she believes she’s marrying a gentleman of relatively good means, someone who will take care of her and make it so that she doesn’t have to move back in with her father after the new reverend arrives to take over the parish. However her groom, the feckless twin of the Duke of Essex gets cold feet at the last moment. Instead of fleeing he goes through with the marriage but signs the name of the Duke instead of his own.

And our heroine, Hannah, finds herself a very unexpected Duchess. And even more surprised is the Duke himself.

The Duke is responsible. Painfully responsible. He’s been bailing his brother out for as long as he can remember but he’s furious this time. Marcus had no intentions of marrying but now that he is married, he feels he must maintain the charade for a while, lest he destroy his family’s relationships entirely. So he convinces Hannah to stay and reside in his home for a while before they will quietly separate and go their ways. Sarah agrees but makes sure that she gets the Duke to acquiesce to her one request.

Despite the fact that Marcus is occasionally a little frustrating in his rigidity, I absolutely adored the two of them together. Hannah is such a breath of fresh air in a novel like this, she’s so practical and day-to-day – she’s used to cooking and cleaning and doing things for herself. She’s never had servants and the Duke has so many that it’s impossible for her to remember all their names, something that distresses her. She has raised her daughter herself too – no nurseries, no nannies or governesses. She doesn’t want to send her away to the nursery in the impressive residence of the Duke but she does realise that in her new role, she will have to adjust some things. Marcus’s stepmother and sister are refreshingly supportive of Marcus marrying a “nobody”, someone not from London society.

As well as Marcus and Hannah getting to know each other in the time they agree to continue being married, there’s a side plot of mystery running through this book too as Marcus seeks to uncover a sinister plot that might possibly involve his wayward brother. Even though he’s furious at him, Marcus is still bailing him out – and it appears that this time, he might be in a very large amount of trouble that might lead to a dangerous situation. I really loved how this played out, the story became more and more intriguing with more touches of suspense. I have to admit I found it difficult to like Marcus’s twin David after the deception that he pulled with Marcus and Hannah – especially poor Hannah, who was really manipulated and went through an emotional wringer. However he really did redeem himself at the end of the novel and now I’d like to read his story – it sounds very interesting! – as well as the story of their younger sister, which make up the trilogy.

Marcus and Hannah had great chemistry and each somehow managed to bring out the best in each other when they were bringing out the worst. Marcus is quite stuffy and proper very concerned with the responsibilities of being a Duke and head of his family and also aware that but for a few minutes, it would’ve been David. There’s some nice complexity to their relationship that extends just beyond Duke and spare as well, which was good. The strength of the development of the relationship between Marcus and Hannah, two strangers who end up married to each other was definitely the highlight of the novel and a joy to read. I really liked both of them and thought that they turned out to be perfect for each other and the way they came to realise they didn’t want their ‘arrangement’ to end was lovely.


Book #14 of 2016


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