A lad from the streets meets a lord of the manor…
When Crimean war veteran Sir Alan Watleigh goes searching for sex, he never imagines the street rat he brings home for one last bit of pleasure in his darkest hour will be the man who hauls him back from the edge of the grave.
A night of meaningless sex turns into an offer of permanent employment. As Alan’s valet, Jem offers much more than polished boots and starched cravats. He makes Alan smile and warms his bed. Just as the men are adjusting to their new living arrangement, news about a former soldier under his command sends Sir Watleigh and Jem on the road to save a child in danger.
The journey brings them closer together as they travel from lust toward love. But is Alan’s love strong enough to risk society discovering the truth about him?
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Gentleman and The Rogue is pretty classic MM historical romance with steamy sex, sly nods to class differences, witty banter, historical settings, and a requisite but interesting mystery sub plot. The writing is solid with some great touches of humor and delightful dialogue combining with solid characters that step just enough outside of classic outlines to stay interesting and fresh. This may not be the most exciting story but it’s incredibly easy to read, very engaging, and ultimately pretty satisfying. TG&TR is a great story when you’re craving something historical but mostly sweet and thoroughly entertaining.
The story follows Sir Alan as he struggles with overwhelming depression from losing his entire family to disease and horrible memories of war. He decides to give himself one night of forbidden pleasure with a male prostitute before he kills himself but Jem’s wit and charm light a spark in Alan to live. Realizing that perhaps his depression will eventually lift and he can enjoy life, Alan keeps Jem around to help alleviate his sadness and eventually his sexual desire too. While the two are becoming closer, there is a sudden lost child that is thrown into the mix they must race to rescue.
The plot is somewhat formulaic but it works well and the writing helps elevate this story to something engaging and interesting. The mystery subplot, which is usually a throw away in historical romances, has some weight and purpose. It actually adds quite a bit to the story instead of just being another source of tension. Now the two men must work together and some of the best scenes come from the later half involving this thread. Part of this is due to pretty great writing. There is a light touch with humor that gives Jem a delightful character and some very entertaining dialogue. His witty, ridiculous stories about friends and family keep the tone light even with more serious overtones. These tales keep the story fresh, light, and entertaining.
The characters are developed just enough to step beyond the well known outlines. Jem is the prostitute with a heart of gold that falls in love with Alan and defends him against his own nature. His funny commentary really helps carry the book with an irrepressible charm and surprisingly happy demeanor. Whether he’s referring to Alan as Lord Bumbuggerer or Sir Doom and Gloom, his dialogue and antics offer numerous easy laughs. His love affair with the older man is easy and without much angst. There are very few comments or concerns about the differences in wealth and status due to Alan’s reclusive nature so there is no angst or drama about the two falling in love. Alan is a pretty typical older man weighted by loss and trauma that finally finds happiness in the least expected place. Together the two make a nice couple with some very interesting secondary characters to round out the cast of engaging characters.
This is an easy book to recommend and like if you’re a fan of MM historical romances. It stays within the well known and loved guidelines but offers some fresh writing and charm to keep readers interested and engaged. Although I actually enjoyed TG&TR more than Seducing Stephan by the same authors, they both offer satisfying and enjoyable romances. There are a few stumbles but nothing that will ruin your reading experience.
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