Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Lorraine Heath - Gentlemen Prefer Heiresses

Lord Andrew Mabry, the second son of the Duke of Greystone, has no desire to marry. As the spare, he has no obligation to provide an heir and he rather enjoys spending his days and nights in play with the demimonde. But more and more of late, he finds himself wanting to play naughty games with the American heiress, Gina Hammersley.
After her scandalous older sister marries a marquess, Gina Hammersley suddenly finds herself the darling of London with beaux a plenty calling on her, sending flowers, and filling her dance cards. Unfortunately, the one she desires most is the one who has no wish to be caught in the marriage trap: Lord Andrew Mabry.
But when they are discovered in a compromising situation, this unlikely pair must decide whether to face scandal or discover if the passion they’ve always felt is strong enough to lead them into love.

Comment: This is the last installment in the Scandalous Gentlemen of St James series by author Lorraine Heath. It's also a story novella sized featuring the siblings of the protagonists in previous book. I wasn't particularly interested in these two but I was curious to see if the past characters would be mentioned or part of the action somehow. 

In this novella, we have the story of Gina Hammersley, the younger sister of Tilly from the previous story. Gina knows her sister has done what she could to help her but she also recognized how perfect she and Rex were to one another, even though he was pretending to court Gina instead.
Gina still wants to be married, still wants to find happiness but, from all the prospects, including the new ones she gained after her previously scandalous sister "elevated" her status, the one who shows more interest doesn't make her blood sing. Not like Andrew Mabry, the younger brother of her new brother-in-low Rex. However, being now family of sorts makes them able to spend more time together and nothing like adventure to make them realize they can suit quite well indeed...

Like any other reader of fiction, there are always things one accepts better than others in fiction and, in particular, in romance novels.
In historicals things get even more specific as the definition of historical is based on certain rules and expectations. There also many better blogs/posts out there explaining this but to summarize: some author are rather anachronistic in their tales while others follow the conventions closer to reality and there are countless grey areas (meaning, authors) in between.

This said, I would describe Lorraine Heath as being in the middle of the group somehow and we loose some stronger inkling of how strict she could be or not with her regency rules because her stories show a lot of sex scenes and this is distracting. This to say she does adhere to some rules but they seem to be overlooked by the romantic scenes or the situations where the protagonists are in.
This brings me to my main complaint about this book and, to be honest, I'm not saying the only good regency historicals having to be labeled as such only if the author is Georgette Heyer. I'm not that knowledgeable on the subject but in this book's case I cannot really appreciate the sweet or cute scenes when the main protagonists go together to a brothel as part of an adventure. 

Is this fun and surprising, does it make the plot move along? Well, yes, it works out in the plot's context but how likely is it something like this happened with a gentleman and a young unmarried lady? Sure, I can suspend my disbelief but to have the rest of the novel seeing them do things they were not really supposed to do kind of ruined the fun for me. I would say the best part of a fictional historical romance is to see authors follow the rules a little more and still find innovative or realistically romantic ways to put their protagonists in the same space somehow.

I liked seeing the secondary characters, all the little tidbits about beloved characters made it worth it and, of course, I was happy Gina and Andrew found out they can be a good couple but their story failed to really ensnare me.
Grade: 6/10

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