Series: Gentleman's Club
Author: Patricia Waddell
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 1, 2003
ALWAYS A GENTLEMAN...
Evelyn Dennsworth may not be entitled to use the word "lady" in front of her name, but that doesn't stop her from behaving like one. Even a vicar's daughter turned Bond Street shop girl can rise above her meager beginnings if she tries hard enough--unless her temperamental employer decides that she has stolen a noblewoman's brooch.
Marshall Bedford, Marquis of Waltham, is a man surrounded by women. Namely, his stepmother and his two sisters, one of whom is about to be launched into society. Yet, adding another female to his life is appealing--especially if she is lovely, charming, and kissable. A shop girl may not be quite what he had in mind, but he can't allow the prison wagon to haul away the frightened young woman he saw in the couturier's boutique. Especially when he suspects that her only act of thievery will be stealing his heart...
Marshall Bedford, Marquis of Waltham, is growing restless with having to chaperon his younger sister Winnifred during her first London season. In order to break the tedium, he decides to get himself a mistress and is about to subtly inquire with his friends for some suitable names, when he stumbles (literally) over a beautiful shop girl on Bond Street.
Evelyn Dennsworth is not like most (all other) shop girls in London. Her poise, grace, and manners hint at some deeper education. She is in fact a vicar's daughter, working in Bond Street in order to gain enough money to open her own dress shop.
Her dreams come to a stumbling halt, when one of her employer's patroness accuses her of stealing a priceless family heirloom. Dragged forcefully into the jail cart, she has no one to turn to.
That is until Marshall, who's spent the last couple of hours thinking about her and planning how to turn her into his mistress, gallantly comes to her rescue...
This was an extremely pleasurable read. Unlike most other HR out there, this book doesn't pretend to be something more than it is, there is no suspenseful subplot, no mysterious villain to be conquered before the end...It is just a lovely, poignant historical romance with a great "class-defying" plot, well-developed and likable characters, and an incredible love story.
The different take on the lord-mistress ploy was refreshing to say the least. The "affair" between Marshall and Evelyn started with a damsel-in-distress rescue, proceeded with friendship and mutual understanding, developed into a steamy sexual relationship (a rare book not ruled by the cumbersome bitching-about-virginity thing - one second she was a virgin and then she was a virgin no more, clean and simple), and ended up where it was supposed to end.
Yes, I knew how it would end (we readers are supposed to know - and cheer for the couple) and still the ending was so sweet, I couldn't help but go all awwww. *big-grin*
Definitely a keeper.
P.S. I have a bone to pick with the editor, though. I'll let it slide Marshall's sister was turned into Evelyn somewhere in the middle, but there was a sentence at the end (page 307) that was just eyebrow-arch inducting.
His voice rose several octaves. Who's this guy?! Mariah Carey in disguise?