Author: Mariel Grey
Genre: Historical, Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Call her a romantic—or a fool, Lady Monique Cathdon is determined to marry for love. After watching her parents tolerate an arranged betrothal, life seems too short to be wasted on keeping up appearances.
After all, what’s the point of having a heart if one refuses to follow it?
With a smile the devil himself might be proud of, James Stanton is not what her mother would call a matrimonial prospect. Still, there’s something about the young man that sends Lady Monique’s heart thumping around her chest, and silences her voice of reason.
Unfortunately for Lady Monique, the stakes are high, and young ladies of the ton make for very poor gamblers. Especially when James Stanton is on the hunt for revenge, and won’t let an innocent woman—or his own passionate desires—get in the way of righting past wrongs.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
A Gentleman’s Surrender by Mariel Grey was a bit of a mixed bag from the start. The author obviously put a lot of time into researching the period and the world that Monique inhabited (and yes, I did my own research to figure out that although it sounds more modern, Monique was a French name sometimes used in this time period.. though I can’t speak as to how popular it was or why no one seemed to be curious about why this obviously English woman had a very French name)—right down to the shade and brand of makeup she used… but that was also part of the problem.
Technically speaking, the writing was decent. There were a few errors here and there, but nothing too jarring. The narrative flowed well in all but a handful of passages (most notably the one, painfully stiff sex scene), and the characters were well portrayed. However, the writing lacked polish. By just a few chapters in, I had already guessed all the main dramatic points of the story. There were times when the author chose to ramble on about the particulars of the period (like the very specific list of makeup that Monique wore, or the current events the characters paused to discuss) that felt all too much like the author was trying to prove their research. It felt out of place and pulled me from the story each and every time it occurred.
The story wasn’t bad, just a bit formulaic, but these small pieces of the writing where the narrative was less than polished stuck out and dragged down the overall rating of the book. In the end, I gave this 3 stars. It was an entertaining, enjoyable read, but it wasn’t a book I’d feel the need to re-read again and again. If you enjoy formulaic historical romance you may really enjoy this book, but be aware that it isn’t perfect and it isn’t going to be for everyone. If you’re looking for something new and unique, this probably isn’t going to be your read—this one’s going to fit the casual lazy-afternoon reader more than the avid historical romance reader.