Caroline Linden books almost always work for me. So it was cool to look back on one of her earlier stories with this reissue from 10 years ago. While I’ll admit, the premise is a little far-fetched, I still enjoyed the book. In fact, I plan to pick up the other two parts of the trilogy.
Marcus, the Duke of Exeter, has been cleaning up his twin brother’s messes for as long as he can remember. But this takes the cake. After his latest scrape, his brother David proposed marriage to a vicar’s widow, then signed Marcus’s name to the marriage certificate. To make matters worse, he put an ad in the paper and wrote to their family about the Duke’s so called romance.
The thing is, Hannah thought she was really marrying David. They weren’t in love, but she nursed him after a carriage accident and believed they were friends. No one was more surprised than she was when David left her at his brother’s home and disappeared. She was ready to take her young daughter and return home when Marcus insisted she stay… not as his wife in truth, but to save his sister and step-mother from the truth of David’s scheme. If Hannah plays along for just a month or two, he’ll help her quietly retire to the country, with a home to raise her child.
So yeah, it’s a little far-fetched, but go with it.
Marcus comes off as a cold guy. He is not interested in love. He saves his brother, but he has little patience for him. He is aloof and controlling –and when he first meets Hannah, he is pretty much a jerk to her. But what I liked about him was the man we saw as the ice melted. It’s not that Hannah changes him, but that we see the man he is underneath the mantle of being Duke. We watch him learn how it feels to be valued and desired for who he is, rather than what he is.
Meanwhile, Hannah is a likeable heroine. She is put in an untenable situation, but she does the best she can for everyone involved, especially her child. She is honorable and honest with Marcus. I liked the heat between them, even when they were at odds with each other. And as they began to see each other as people, I really enjoyed the vulnerability she brought out in Marcus.
There is a mystery plot surrounding David and some counterfeiters that brought along some tense moments late in the story. It was ok. Mostly it was a vehicle to get all of the characters where they needed to be, emotionally. But overall, it was a quick and engaging read, with a satisfying ending.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
What a Gentleman Wants
by Caroline Linden
Re-Release Date: January 26, 2016