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REVIEW: A Wicked Gentleman by Jane Feather

Dear Ms. Feather:

The most recent issue plaguing your books have been the appeal of your heroes. One common theme for your heroes is that they often use the heroines for their own selfish motivations and then are seemingly “redeemed” by falling in love with the heroines as if the “love” word automatically excuses villainous behavior. Sometimes it works for me, as it did in Almost a Bride but not in Kissed by Shadows. A Wicked Gentleman fell somewhere in between. I will not re read it as I have Almost a Bride and I do not revile it like I did with Kissed by Shadows. It failed to evoke any type of strong response which is its real failure.

Harry, Viscount Bonham, works for the Crown as a spy. A piece of code embedded in an objct is taken and is purportedly at a house on Cavendish Square that is conveniently absent. After a few attempts at retrieval, the house suddenly becomes occupied making the capture of the spywork exponentially more difficult.

Lady Cornelia Dagenham has run off to England with her friends in order escape the country in which she has been immolated based on her role as the mother and guardian of the next Earl of Markby, Stephen, her five year old son. Cornelia longs for a more vibrant life but the purse strings are tightly held her son's trustees. Her friend, Liv Lacey, is left property by her great aunt and takes Cornelia and Cornelia's isster in law, Aurelia, to London.

Harry insinuates himself into the household, eventually seducing Cornelia, with the sole intent of obtaining the spypiece. Then, when the spypiece is obtained, Harry continues his affair with Cornelia for the pleasure of it. Cornelia cannot have a blemish on her reputation for one misstep and the Earl of Markby will remove Stevie from her care. When her children are endangered, Cornelia places their needs above her own pleasure.

When I was a young girl, I read the book, The First Violin by Jesse Fothergill, originally published in the 1870s. The heroine has a beautiful voice but is criticized that while technically proficient, she lacks emotive power that the great singers have. This is a technically proficient book by a master of the craft, but it failed to move me in anyway. Part of it could be because as a Regency set book with a spy hero, there is nothing fresh here. Part of it, I attribute to the lack of emotion from most of the characters, particularly Harry. You told me that these two loved each other and maybe Nell loved Harry, but I had real doubts about him. C.

Best regards,


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. annette aspillaga
    Apr 06, 2007 @ 15:28:24

    Hello I was curious if you know if the book A Wicked Gentleman is part of a larger series or if it continues in other stories where this one leaves off? Could you let me know and any suggestions on any other stories, beside Almost a Bride that are also enjoyable…Thanks, Annette Aspillaga

  2. romancefanreader
    Jun 25, 2007 @ 18:28:58

    Please read Jane Feather’s “V” Series: Vixen, Velvet, Vice, Virtue, Violet, Venus, Valentine, Vanity.
    Also Valentine Wedding, The Widow’s Kiss and Almost Innocent.
    I’d start with Vixen or Vanity. Then The Widow’s Kiss and then Almost Innocent.
    There is also the Bride/Wedding/Groom series which is also adorable.
    Read the Bachelor List first then the Bride Hunt then the Wedding Game.
    She is one of my favorite authors.

    Romancefanreader~ Marie

  3. Read for Pleasure
    Jul 06, 2007 @ 04:50:35

    A Wicked Gentleman is dull. It’s too bad, because I dig the Regency spy plots. Brainy man of action, rowr. But the plot is full of hoary old chestnuts, and it’s overall a thin story told at boring length….

    Nell is dull as ditchwater, but Harry’s a little unusual. Unlike many, I like that Harry’s a liar who screws Nell for his spying mission. I imagine most readers would agree more with Jane on this, but to me Harry’s a better character because he sticks to his mission and doesn’t get all emotional. It’s partly a measure of my boredom with the mealymouthed characters in the book…

  4. Charlotte
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 17:43:14

    I am a HUGE Jane Feather fan. So much so that recently I bought a book and as I was reading it I thought maybe I had read it in the past and sure enough after doing some unpacking and finding old books there it was. I had to laugh at myself and told my husband maybe I should write down all of her books I have read. It didn’t matter much becuase I enjoyed it just as much as I did then. In case you are wondering which book I speak of, it is “Surrender”. I just bought “To Wed a Wicked Prince” and I am sure I will enjoy it as I have ALL of her other books. Keep writing Jane, your work it a pleasure to read and I can’t wait for the next one.

  5. Michelle
    May 29, 2008 @ 18:51:37

    Just finished Reckless Seduction… thought it quite enjoyable. Pretty sure I would not like Genevieve in real life. However realize you need a strong heroine when your hero is a pirate. Also, I don’t think there could be that much passion without something unplanned.

    I would like to have known the Latour’s reaction to her abduction… but that’s really my only complaint, and it wasn’t their story, was it?

  6. colleen storch
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 16:39:48

    The Bachelor List by Jane Feather is out again – – I am laughing since Constance had in the first 24 hours of the story — some serious drinking ! First sherry was at lunch with sisters, then again prior to dinner with dad and then two champagne flutes at soiree that night and then once home again, another Sherry drink instead of chocolate prior to bed as her adult sisters chose to imbibe.

    I thought it funny, but it was distracting and noticeable.

    Wish Constance could come party with us some day !

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