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REVIEW: What a Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden

Dear Ms. Linden,

Jane has already written a letter explaining the plot of your second book so I’m gonna just skip to my thoughts on it. Yeah, I love being lazy.

I loved watching the stuffy, ultra-in-control hero Marcus lose his cool and get his Ducal feathers ruffled. I enjoyed seeing him be charmed by heroine. BUT neither Hannah nor her child go overboard to do this. Thank you for not including the seemingly obligatory cutesy scenes of them being goofy which are meant to “charm” him and us. Blech- I hate those kind of scenes. I thought the “sexy bits” were well done and, huzzah!, we have a widow who enjoyed sex with her first husband and isn’t “awakened” to good luvin’ by the hero.

The whole plot set up is far fetched but I’m willing to go with it because of characters and the way it spins out is logical. I like that Marcus is aristocratic and overbearing….he’s a Duke for God’s sake when being a Duke really meant something. He’s not chummy with his servants because they’re the bloody servants and meant to serve him! And he’s not a secret spy!!! Yes, he was doing some investigative work but the way it was set up (to help David and keep the family name clean) makes sense and in the end, he’s not the one who really cracks the case. I do agree with Jane that the action sequences didn’t really fit the feel of the book up til that point and could have been left out.

I like how Hannah starts to get used to being a Duchess (ie with servants and beautiful clothes and a lovely home to live in) very quickly and gets over being uncomfortable giving orders. I also actually like how she goes postal on Lily , since after all Hannah’s child is in danger. But I can appreciate how Hannah’s personality causes her to have some compassion for how Lily was sucked into the plot but…maybe Hannah and Marcus went overboard in not handing out punishment.

I have to admit that I think Celia acted a bit goofy for a 17 year old of this era. After all, she’s nearly ready for her come out and is the daughter and sister of Dukes. I can’t help but think this kind of behavior would have been governessed out of her by that age. But I like Rosalind and loved to see how much she and Celia care that Marcus is happy at last. It was fun to watch them cleverly maneuver him into doing what they wanted.

My major niggle is the villain. He has reasons for his villainy and you did offer a few vague hints at his identity but he was kind of sprung on us at the end, IMO. And as I said, the whole denouement felt tacked on.

But considering that I’m still tired of Regency Historicals and would prefer almost any other setting for a historical book, the fact that I’m giving this a B is quite a good grade from me at this time.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

8 Comments

  1. Danielle
    Jan 31, 2007 @ 05:46:45

    I read this book and enjoyed it too. I had a problem with the Celia acting like a kid instread of a young lady too. I did write Caroline about Celia and I no longer have the email with her reply to me. But after reading her reply to me I could understand why Celia was acting like a kid.

  2. Phyl
    Jan 31, 2007 @ 10:40:19

    And as I said, the whole denouement felt tacked on.

    I really liked this book, right up to the last 45 pages or so. I liked the same things you did, such as Hannah admitting she liked being a Duchess and I liked watching Hannah & Marcus fall in love with each other. But is was as if another book suddenly appeared with the whole action/adventure sequence at the end. It practically came out of nowhere and really spoiled something I thought was rather good and a bit unique for a Regency historical. Then the book became too much like all the others out there.

    Ms. Linden shows a lot of promise as a writer and I look forward to her next book. But I hope she doesn’t succumb to the pressure to follow some blasted formula that seems to dominate the market.

  3. Robin
    Jan 31, 2007 @ 17:31:38

    This was a B+ read for me, for many of the reasons you mention. I LOVED that Linden was patient in how she brought Marcus and Hannah together, actually focusing on them as people who are getting to know each other. This book make me realize how effective Romance can be when it’s not *trying* so damn hard to be meaningful and passionate. Linden lets her characters do the work for the most part, and that allowed me to care for them and their story. Although types, Marcus and Hannah felt authentic to me, and, as you said, the internal logic to the book made me forgive and overlook some things I might not feel so generous about in another book. In its sheer modesty, this book really shined for me.

  4. Janine
    Jan 31, 2007 @ 21:30:35

    I have this one in my TBR pile and I want to get to it soon since I liked Linden’s first book, What a Woman Needs. Have any of you read that one?

  5. Phyl
    Feb 01, 2007 @ 09:08:05

    Janine, Yes I read What a Woman Needs and liked it, too. I really think Linden’s an author to watch.

  6. Dear Author.Com | DearAuthor Is a Member of Blogburst
    Feb 01, 2007 @ 10:56:54

    [...] which republishes blog material at sites like Rueters, USA Today and SF Gate. Today, you can see Jayne’s review of What A Gentleman Wants at Austin American Statesman website as well as here at [...]

  7. Janine
    Feb 01, 2007 @ 12:53:57

    [quote comment="22751"]Janine, Yes I read What a Woman Needs and liked it, too. I really think Linden’s an author to watch.[/quote]

    I’ve only read her first book, but even so, I agree with you, Phyl.

  8. romancefanreader
    Jun 25, 2007 @ 18:58:57

    have this one in my TBR pile and I want to get to it soon since I liked Linden's first book, What a Woman Needs. Have any of you read that one?

    Yes! What A Woman Needs was terrific. I loved the plot and especially the H/H! She was sophisticated and he was sexy! Together they made music!
    I was not AS happy with the second book but I adore Caroline’s style!
    I’ll always buy her books!

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