Saturday, October 12, 2013

Guest Review - - My Notorious Gentleman

My Notorious Gentleman
By Gaelen Foley
Publisher:  Avon Books
Release Date:  July 30, 2013


  


I recently had the great misfortune of reading a romance so convoluted and poorly written, I found I could not review it and remain true to my goal of being a positive voice in the Romance industry, an industry that has had far more than its fair share of criticism over the years.   And yet, that book made me realize why.

Alas, Gaelen Foley’s My Notorious Gentleman is NOT that book.   Gaelen Foley’s My Notorious Gentleman is the book you read to restore your faith in the enormous talent found in the industry.   Gaelen Foley’s My Notorious Gentleman is the kind of book that fills aspiring writers with awe.  For readers it’s the kind of book that makes you mad you only have 30 minutes to wait in the carpool line with everyone else’s exhaust funneling right into your lungs.   And you’re frustrated because, quite simply, Gaelen Foley’s My Notorious Gentleman is a joy!

Lord Trevor Montgomery is an ex-spy with all the PTSD one might expect from someone who has been forced to play a vital role in a very long war.   What’s more, his selfish fiancée couldn’t wait for him to come home, jilting him for someone else.   Now home, Trevor finds he’s barely able to be civil in fine company and to make matters even more unbearable, he’s recently become the target for every fawning debutante around.    It’s enough to make a man--even an honorable man--do something rash like kiss one of those fawning debutantes so senseless, she’ll go screaming from fright back to her mama.

Miss Grace Kenwood thinks of herself more as a spinster than debutante.  She’s a parson’s daughter: virtuous, modest, and plain speaking.   So when the seductive spy everyone’s been clamoring about corners her in a room she’s escaped to for a little solitude, and then kisses her to within an inch of her life, she’s surprised to find her thoughts about him may not be so virtuous after all.    And when Lord Montgomery moves to her sleepy village in the hopes of building a new life for himself and keeps seeking her out, what’s a parson’s daughter to do with so tempting a man?

There were moments I had to put this book down so I could fully absorb the sheer craft behind Foley’s pen: her subtle way of painting layer after layer on each character, for one.   So, too, the way she weaves historical detail into the story so as to merely flavor it as opposed to dominate.   And lastly, her skill in sprinkling little bits of humor that, many times, made me throw my head back and howl.  The mischievous nine-year-old Nelcott twins come to mind as shown by the following passage: 

                        “Do you like her or something?” the boy persisted.
                        “Of course I like her,” (Trevor) said casually…
                              Meanwhile, to his surprise, the twins went slightly insane at his 
                       admission, running around in circles, whooping and howling like 
                       feral children raised by wolves.  


I know those children.   I do.   And yet, this is what Foley does.   She writes characters so complex we know them.  We are them (we may have taught them).

I’ve been a Foley fan for years and her writing just keeps getting richer.  And while I won’t tell you the title of that poorly written book (I want to forget it as quickly as I can) I will gift you with an hearty recommendation of My Notorious Gentleman, the kind of book that washes away so much bad, the kind of book that makes the perfect date… with yourself and a comfortable chair.    What a joy to read. 

~J Perry Stone

J Perry Stone is an aspiring Historical Romance writer who is a giant proponent of books and of love... romance being the place where the two live happily ever after.  She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and two children. 

We all have those times when a book leaves us disappointed or disillusioned.  What book(s) do you turn to when you need to restore your reading joy?  

28 comments:

  1. WOW! 5 Stars! That's quite a recommendation. I haven't read Gaelen Foley's books for years. I don't know why. I will definitely look for My Notorious Gentleman!

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    1. Laurie, I knew I needed an author I could trust not to disappoint. I'm so glad I was right about this. :)

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  2. I love your review JPS. I'm a big fan of Gaelen Foley's work too. I have all of her books and this one is the next in my TBR stack. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. She's wonderful, Ruth. And not only did I love the H/H's story, but that of the secondary characters as well.

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  3. Great review, J! I have this one on my tbr. Must find time to read!

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    1. Well I know where you can find a copy :)

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  4. Oops! Forgot to answer the question. My "go to" book is Julie Garwood's Saving Grace. It always take me to my happy place. Always.

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    1. I know I've read most of Garwood's but I can't remember titles. I'll have to root around and unearth this one and give it a go again.

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  5. Anything written by Mary Balogh is a sure read for me. She never disappoints.

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    1. Agreed, Sharlene. Balogh is fantastic.

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  6. I turn to a book or books that I know will be filled with humor and everyday reality. From this great review, I think “My Notorious Gentleman” totally fits that description. Thanks so much for sharing your great review. I’ve added this novel to my Wish List!

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    1. Connie, you won't be sorry. Foley is one of a very short list of my "go to" authors.

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  7. I'm not a rereader unless it's a series that's been long in the making but I always turn to historicals.

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    1. I have to admit, catslady, neither am I... but I should be. ;)

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  8. I love Geleen Foley's books and you are right that she can take you to a good place when you have read something that just leaves you empty of a good thought for the book... Another writer I like in the venue is Karen Hawkins..

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    1. I really felt like Foley was the literary shower I needed after falling into the 300+ page pigpen.

      And Hawkins makes me die laughing!

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  9. I really enjoyed this book as well. I have the rest of the books on my TBR pile.

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    1. I'm so glad. She really hit it for me with this one. It had the perfect tone... a nice little combination of light and dark.

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  10. Wonderful review, J! I've fallen behind on Foley's Inferno Club books, clearly a situation I need to remedy ASAP.

    I have a collection of rereads that restore my faith in the high quality of romance fiction after a bad reading experience--too many books to list. I'll just name the one I reread most recently. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. It was my seventh time to read it, and each time I have laughed and wiped away a tear and cheered Jessica and fallen in love with Dain all over again.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I ADORED LOS! Who didn't? Really. Tell me so I can use colorful language on them.

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  11. Terrific review, J! I am a long-time fan of Ms. Foley's books (Devil Takes a Bride is a favorite) and need to catch up on this new series. :)

    My go-to comfort reads are The Viscount Who Loved Me by JQ and London's Perfect Scoundrel by Suzanne Enoch. I read those two books often. :)

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    1. I have not read London's Perfect Scoundrel, but I did love TVWLM.

      Off to download, Andrea.

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  12. Oh, I am with Jenga - actually just read Lord of Scoundrels for the first time & will re-read it. I have a bunch of other books I have read several times. Kristen Higgins The Next Best Thing, Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani, Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos, Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis,Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn, Vision in White by Nora Roberts, Darn Good Cowboy Christmas by Carolyn Brown, His Mistress by Christmas & Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase, & of course Pride & Prejudice. Great review & can't wait to read My Notorious Gentleman!

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    1. You're going too fast, Sharlene.

      K. r. i. s. t. e. n. H.......

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  13. Great review! I can't wait to get to this book, I've enjoyed Gaelen's previous books in this series!! I'm with PJ though, my go to book has always been Saving Grace. It was my first romance novel and it just introduced me to all the wonders of love and HEAs. While I have read many, many great books, that still remains at the top of my list in terms of bringing me pure happiness reading it from beginning to end.

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  14. I know I have that book and just can't remember the title.. I'm going to go back and reread based on yours and PJ's recommendation.

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  15. My go to reads are most of Julie Garwood's historicals. They were the first romances I read and are still my favorites. I like SAVING GRACE quite a bit, but RANSOM is my favorite. I had 2 copies of SAVING GRACE on tape and would listen to it in the car when I needed a pick me up. I let several people borrow them and now I have no idea where they are. My one complaint about the taped version was they left out a favorite scene.

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