Grey Sommers, Lord Wyndham, never met a predicament he couldn’t charm his way out of. Then a tryst with a government official’s wife during a bit of casual espionage in France condemns him a decade in a dungeon, leaving him a shadow of his former self. Yet his greatest challenge may be the enigmatic spy sent to free his body—the only woman who might heal his soul.
Half English and half French, Cassie Fox lost everything in the chaos of revolution, leaving only a determination to help destroy Napoleon’s empire through her perilous calling. Rescuing Grey is merely one more mission. She hadn’t counted on a man with the stark beauty of a ravaged angel, whose desperate courage and vulnerability touch her frozen heart as no one ever has. With Grey, she can become the passionate woman she has long denied. But a spy and a lord are divided by an impassable gulf even if they manage to survive one last, terrifying mission….
This blurb came from the author’s website here.
Ms Putney is one of the authors whose historical romances I will usually read. I started with Thunder & Roses the first of her Fallen Angels series and proceeded to seek out all of her other books. I started reading the Lost Lords series when the first one was released. Then life got in the way and I fell behind in the series. When we were offered a chance to review No Longer a Gentleman I eagerly accepted for a couple of reasons, first I wanted a historical romance fix which I knew I would get because I had to catch up on the story I had missed and second Ms Putney’s stories usually provide me with a combination of intrigue, strong men and women, and lots of vivid details. Unfortunately this installment fell slightly short of what I expected.
I was really intrigued in the mystery that is Cassie as I was able to spend some time with her in Nowhere Near Respectable. She knew how to play all sorts of different roles while blending in and becoming almost invisible. Yet she had a very deep old hurt which kept her from settling down or revealing what she really looked like. She was also extremely driven to end any chance Napoleon had of ever ruling Europe. I liked Cassie as a person and found the unveiling of her story fascinating and tragic at the same time. It was good to see how she had overcome her past to create her present. She was a strong woman, mentally and physically and used everything she had to accomplish her missions and remained mostly self-contained.
I didn’t know as much about Grey except for the memories his classmates had of him because he had been missing (imprisoned) since before this series began. Grey seemed to be much harder on his former self than any of his friends or family could ever be. I wasn’t sure if that was a result of solitary confinement or if it was because he was forced to grow up suddenly and face the fact that if he had made one choice differently he wouldn’t have been in that situation or a combination of the two. I found it admirable that after Grey snapped out of the shock of going from golden charmed man without a struggle in his life to being brutally mistreated and imprisoned that he did what he could to regain and preserve his strength and sanity. I also really liked how Ms Putney handled the PTSD Grey experienced when he was suddenly freed. His freedom didn’t mean a switch was flipped and he returned to the lighthearted Grey he had been before. In fact she even brought up that Grey would never be the same person.
As much as I liked the two characters individually and their non-romantic associations with each other I had a few issues with their romance and HEA. I understood Grey’s need for physical closeness and to celebrate that he was free in a very elemental way but I did not understand Cassie’s motivation to have sex initially. After their first encounter well it was obvious * wink *. But even with their sexual attraction and compatibility I was not able to buy Grey’s love as anything other then a rescue fixation. My other quibble is hidden behind the spoiler tags, click at your own risk. View Spoiler »I also think the timing and reason for a quick marriage, while probably accurate, was a bit too convenient. « Hide Spoiler
I found that No Longer a Gentleman was much more focused on the characters rather than intrigue. The bad guy’s method to draw Grey back into his reach I found to be extremely obvious and very predictable. My only question was at what point of the book it would occur. Given the book’s focus, the fact that I never bought into Cassie and Grey as a HEA couple lowered my enjoyment of their story. I liked them individually and as they journeyed on their path of lovers to friends but I wasn’t ready for HEA. It was also good to see some of the other early characters get closure in regards to Grey while continuing to assist as they could the war against Napoleon. I am looking forward to seeing what Ms Putney comes up next in this series.
I give No Longer a Gentlemen a B-
Links to purchase