The prolog for A Gentleman Undone is in June of 1815 and the story starts nine months later. Book one in the Blackshear Family series is A Lady Awakened. It did not follow the usual path of historical romances. I loved A Lady Awakened and wanted to see if A Gentleman Undone had the same unusual story line. Another difference was that unlike a lot of the historical romances the main characters are not members of the ton. They are the class just below. Look at what Goodreads says about A Gentleman Undone.
A seductive beauty turns the tables on a gentleman gaming for the guiltiest of pleasures in this rich and sensual Regency romance from beloved newcomer Cecilia Grant.
Lydia Slaughter understands the games men play—both in and out of the bedroom. Not afraid to bend the rules to suit her needs, she fleeces Will Blackshear outright. The Waterloo hero had his own daring agenda for the gaming tables of London’s gentlemen’s clubs. But now he antes up for a wager of wits and desire with Lydia, the streetwise temptress who keeps him at arm’s length.
A kept woman in desperate straits, Lydia has a sharp mind with a head for numbers. She gambles on the sly, hoping to win enough to claim her independence. An alliance with Will at the tables may be a winning proposition for them both. But the arrangement involves dicey odds with rising stakes, sweetened with unspoken promise of fleshly delights. And any sleight of hand could find their hearts betting on something neither can afford to risk: love.
Characters: Both Lydia Slaughter and Will Blackshear have what they think are unforgivable secrets in their past. Those secrets mold their actions and in the end are what bind them together. I loved both of the characters. They are strong willed and tortured. Will is Martha Mickwood’s youngest brother so the Mickwoods are among the characters that appear from the previous book. There are some new secondary characters who play a important part. Only one really caught my attention and I wondered if he would be the main character in the next book.
Plot: The plot revolves around the secrets both Lydia and Will carry and their drive to make things right.
Tension: There is a lot of sexual tension between Will and Lydia. That leads to tension between Will and his family. It also leads to tension with other secondary characters in the book.
Writing: Cecilia Grant uses the tension to tell a very good story. Like A Lady Awakened her characters and story are unlike other romance books set in the time period. She is carving a unique place for her writing.
I will be watching for the next book in the series. Unfortunately A Woman Entangled is not due out until the Spring of 2013.
Bantam Books published A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant in 2012.