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What A Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden

Posted by Mistress on February 10, 2009

What A Gentleman Wants is the 2nd book I’ve read by Caroline Linden and I admit I didn’t get into it with high expctations. I’ve even put off reading it for a while based on my reaction to the one I read before it. I’m not saying the other one was bad, only that it was something I wasn’t inspried to write home or the internet about. Who knows though, maybe I can get a review of it up sometime within this lifetime. Now, back to the topic at hand.

The Blurb

Marcus Reese, Duke of Exeter, has spent most of his life pulling his twin brother out of trouble. An occasional 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 window with a mind of her own who may be the first person in Marcus’s well-ordered life to make him feel…completely out of control. Hannah can’t help but curse her own idiocy. Dire straits have led her to the altar with a gentleman she hardly knows. Played for a fool, she’s embarrassed, furious, and worse, married to an equally outraged stranger – an exasperating man who unleashes all manner of emotions in Hannah, not to mention unwanted desire. Reluctantly, she agrees to play the wife until he can sort out the mess. But the nearness of the undeniably attractive Duke and the passion in his black eyes unsettles her well-guarded heart – making her want to do so much more than “act” the role of blissful bride…

My two cents:

The H/H

Hannah Preston is an intelligent, competent, and pragmatic heroine. She is a widow who sincerely loved her deceased husband (a good man – a rarity in itself) and was not sexually awakened (both literally and figuratively) by the Hero. A refreshing change in these widow type of stories. She isn’t a self-sacrificing martyr either, thank Norris. I wasn’t immediately empathetic to her plight or character but it didn’t take very long for that to change.

Marcus is a very Darcy’esque hero. Not necessarily in an “ooh it’s Darcy *swoons*” type of way but there certainly is some of that going on. He is high in the instep, extremely haughty, and his snobbery is genuine. Hannah is not exempted from his elitist verbal barbs and if anything suffers from it more than any other character in this novel. She is, however, no shrinking violet. She refuses to be intimidated and takes him head on. I do so love a cold cold (brr) man as a hero. When done right, it makes the romance even sweeter. And that’s what this story is, sweet, without being overly saccharine.

At the beginning of this book I felt unconvinced by Hannah’s reasoning to stay, if she truly wanted to leave she could go, guns blazing if necessary, but it didn’t take me long to understand that her decision was based more on her and her daughter’s future rather than plain ol’ helplessness. That and the fact that there wouldn’t be an actual story had she gone. Heh. There were parts where I was uncertain if Marcus and Hannah could find a convincing (to me, at least) way together. After the two establish which way is up and where they stand there are no silly misunderstandings that serve as ridiculous plot devices.

The Secondary Characters
Let me start with David aka The Sequel Bait. David acted just as I had come to expect sequel baits to act. He’s not a bad guy, just flakey and reactionary. He doesn’t use the old noggin quite as often as he should and you know he’s simply begging to be redeemed. I think he got off from his transgressions very lightly but I’m fine with that because, once gone, I really didn’t want to see him around all that much. It’s not even that I dislike David. I’m more on apathetic.

Then we have Rosalind, the stepmother. Not quite evil but certainly scheming. She falls into the category of indomitable matchmaker. I’ve seen it in one for every two romance novels I read but I suppose it could have been worse. She could have been a cartoony cruel stepmama who refuse to be pushed out into dowagership. She is charming and likable for the most part but there were moments where I didn’t buy the whole accepting of a provincial nobody into the Duchy without any complaint, qualm, or concern. It’s just not consistent with how an aristocratic matron of a grand noble family would react but that’s just a minor quibble.

Celia, the irrepressible romantic half-sister, on the other hand is not quite as charming as her mother. She is annoying at parts; largely due to her behavior which is better suited to a pre-pubescent girl rather than a young woman on the verge of her season. She did serve her purpose well to distract young Molly (Hannah’s daughter) from interfering with the story for the most part so this is something I can easily overlook.

The Villain. I don’t want to spoil the identity but it’s pretty easy to guess who it is. Let’s just say that the villain turns out to be the typical entity prevalent in these books. There are only 3 kinds so it’s pretty easy to deduct. There is no characterization whatsoever. Simply put, the antagonist is nothing but a caricature of evil.

The Plot
What A Gentleman Wants begins with a BOO!-I-Married-The-Wrong-Man but quickly moves on to a story where two adults try to make logical and practical decisions in a situation they didn’t want or expect. Before you know it, it’s a full blown romance. Complete with the genuine restraint one does NOT come to expect in Historical Romances of late. The two doesn’t even share a single kiss until more than halfway the story. I didn’t care for the suspense/mystery aspect (yes, there is one of those) of What A Gentleman Wants but fortunately it does not interfere much with the story.

Grade: Higher than a B, but not quite an A-, so a B+ (if our rating system allowed it)


One Response to “What A Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden”

  1. Katiebabs a.k.a KB said

    I always enjoy Caroline Linden books. 😀Great review.

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