REVIEW: What a Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden

Dear Ms. Linden:

What a Gentleman WantsMarcus Reese, Duke of Exeter, is a pragmatic man. When confronted with the angry husband of his brother’s latest paramour, Reese sets off to find his brother, save his life and his sister’s season from Scandal. It matters not that he has to interrupt a bout of tupping between brother and paramour. He’s also not a fast man. Said paramour murmurs to him that it was a little exciting to her to have him watch them. Exeter is quick to set her down:

“You are sadly mistaken if you think the sight of you riding my brother like a common strumpet was remotely exciting to me,” he said. “I suggest you purge the thought from your head.”

Here was my first clue that this book would not be like all the other historicals I have read. It would not feature a dissolute rake who needs to be redeemed by love. I started getting excited and I was barely a few pages in. Exeter sends David out of town to wait out the scandal that is bound to develop.

David heads off to Middleborough but is injured in an accident. Hannah Preston, the vicar’s widow, takes him into her home and nurses him back to health. David grows to like Hannah and offers her a marriage of convenience. He needs some respectability and Hannah needs the money because with her husband gone, she has little funds to care for herself and her daughter. If she doesn’t accept David’s offer, Hannah will have to go and live with her father who had since remarried and has no need for Hannah. It seems that marriage is her best recourse. But David isn’t really quite ready to be shackled and unbeknowst to Hannah he signs his brother’s name on the marriage license.

Exeter and Hannah’s attempt to extricate themselves from the sham marriage is complicated by Celia, Exeter’ sister, and Rosalind, his mother. Both are incurable romantics and delighted that Exeter has finally married. Even if the marriage doesn’t seem all that appropriate, Celia and Rosalind are determined that this will work. Their clever machinations are misread completely by Exeter which was kind of a treat. He thinks he knows it all, but really doesn’t.

Exeter is a bit removed from his family even though he loves them. He wants everyone including his new and temporary wife to call him Exeter. He doesn’t know the names of his servants. Why should he? He’s Exeter. The vicar’s daughter doesn’t really know anything about the peerage. She never intended to live amongst them. But she begins to the like the trappings of wealth and would miss the silk sheets and garments once the farce of the marriage is over. It’s great to see a haughty man fall and fall he does for the warmth and good heart of Hannah.

The romance is a bit complicated by the fact that Exeter is investigating a counterfeit situation. He’s been drug into it because some of the fake bills have been passed by his brother, either knowingly or unknowingly. This did provide a bit of a suspense to the book to move the story along (although I enjoyed the romance more than the suspense part). However, the action sequence toward the end seemed tacked on and not in keeping with the character development. If the suspense had been better integrated into the story, I would have given it an A. As it is, I enjoyed this story the first time and then the second when I wrote up this letter. B

Best regards,



0 comments on “REVIEW: What a Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden

  1. I thought you’d read and reviewed this one already. I think I have this one, too. I’ll have to find it. Thanks for the reminder. I also bought some new books today – romances! Hope their good and also, Harper Collins ebook store released almost all of Susan Andersen’s books today. Yay. I only ever enjoyed Exsposure and that has been it.

  2. I ordered this one and the first, and got this one first and am still waiting for the first one to arrive (if that makes any sense). I was afraid to read this one first, because I think it got kind of a meh review from AAR, but after your review, I will go ahead and try this one. WHERE the hell the first one is (not till Feburary, Amazon tells me, will it arrive), I don’t know. Hopefully the first one actually sold out.

  3. I really enjoyed this book. It was one of the freshest historicals I’ve read in a long time and, Jane, I think your review is spot-on: the only part that didn’t seem to fit quite as well as the rest of the delightful story was the counterfeit part.

    I just got the first one and hope to read that soon as well.

  4. I’ve read both What a Woman Needs and What Gentleman Wants and enjoyed both. Interesting character based stories.

    …This did provide a bit of a suspense to the book to move the story along (although I enjoyed the romance more than the suspense part). However, the action sequence toward the end seemed tacked on and not in keeping with the character development.

    The story didn’t need any suspense and it probably would have been better without it.

  5. Enjoyed the book so much that i am now waiting for my delivery of what a woman need. Well writen that i have encouraged my friends to buy her books.

  6. I just finished this yesterday, and am shocked at how much I enjoyed it, especially after my slight disappointment in Hoyt’s The Raven Prince. Outside of the fact that I never bought that Molly wouldn’t spill the beans about David and Marcus, I found Hannah and Marcus likeable and the setup clever fun. For me this is a B+ read, and I have been waiting on the first one from Amazon for over two months now (they keep rescheduling shipment).

    Comparing my experience with Linden to Hoyt, and feeling that on the surface there is not a great disparity in ambition and/or novelty with the books, I realize that an author’s voice is ultimately what makes or breaks a book for me. While I really admired what Hoyt was doing in The Raven Prince, her voice didn’t work for me as well as Linden’s did. I wonder if most readers are story-oriented, character-oriented, or voice-oriented in the way they take to one particular novel over another.

  7. I feel a re-read coming on. LOL. I am surprised that you didn’t like Hoyt’s book as well, but at least this is a new author you can glom onto. Did you read Linden’s comments to Janine’s review of “What a Woman Needs?” I thought those were meaningful.

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