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Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway Three Copies: Never a Gentleman by Eileen Dreyer

A marriage of convenience for an intrepid ugly duckling.
Never a Gentleman (The Drake's Rakes series) 
by Eileen Dreyer
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Forever (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780446542067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446542067
  • ASIN: 0446542067
      Genre: Historical Romance
      My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0
Product Description
Miss Grace Fairchild is under no illusions about her charms. Painfully plain, she is a soldier's daughter who has spent her life being useful, not learning the treacherous ways of the ton. She may have been caught in a scandal with society's favorite rogue, but how can she marry him when it means losing herself?

Diccan Hilliard doesn't know which of his enemies drugged him and dumped him in Grace's bed, but he does know the outcome. He and Grace must marry. To his surprise, a wild, heady passion flares between them. Yet Diccan is trapped in a deadly game of intrigue Grace knows nothing about. Will his lies destroy Grace just as he realizes how desperately he needs her? And how can he hope for a future with her, when an old enemy has set his murderous sights on them both?
Review: This one will tug at your emotions.
Grace may not be a beauty but she is a beautiful person: kind, giving, strong, courageous. She is recognized as an honorable spinster and revered by the soldiers whom she helped as she traveled the wars with her officer father. She has learned to be inwardly strong, self dependant and not to reveal her emotions or her dreams.

Unexpected circumstances land Grace in bed with the impeccable Diccan who is a government diplomat known in ton circles as “The Perfection.” He has always been kind to Grace but she knows he doesn’t want to marry her. But Diccan is trapped in espionage that requires he retain his honor and marry the gray wren.

Diccan doesn’t expect to feel any attraction to Grace and is surprised to discover that he enjoys her company especially when they ride together and share time as she gains confidence in herself. They even share a passionate night that engages them both. But Diccan cannot allow any outward affection to show or his enemies will use her against him. So he distances himself and allows his espionage duties to put him back in the arms of his former mistress. He ignores the humiliation and difficulties Grace faces as she first tries to maneuver in a society that rejects her and then scorns and pities her as well.

I am not a fan of infidelity so the blatant relationship with the mistress bothered me and made it hard for me to always like Diccan. There is also a very strong voyeuristic scene where Grace is put in a position to watch her husband and his mistress. That was difficult to get through because of the pain I felt for Grace. The author does an excellent job of evoking heartache for Grace and pride in her strength.  Even if I wasn’t sure I agreed with her actions, they played well in the story and ultimately allowed sorrow and acceptance for Diccan’s character. I think it is hard sometimes to understand the 19th century position of women as property.

The story moves along quickly with many interesting side characters adding to the fullness. The mystery flows through the entire story with some surprising revelations.  At the end the conspiracy remains to continue in the next book which will tell the story of Grace’s fiery friend and Diccan’s cousin, Kate.
Thank you to Hachette for this book to read and for providing THREE copies for giveaway.

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