Wanted, A Gentleman
K.J. Charles never disappoints. Sometimes, as with the wonderful Society of Gentlemen series this author exceeds expectations, but she never disappoints.
Wanted A Gentleman is a perfect read with which to start 2017. Curl up in a chair and let her unfold this story for your delight. It involves a humble Scribbler and Advertiser for love, Theodore Swann and the suave Martin St. Vincent, …a merchant with a Mission, also a Problem.
Theo owns a daily publication called the Matrimonial Advertiser possibly the Tinder or Grindr of its day. For a shilling, he includes the lonely heart notices of London and just about makes a living. He also writes romance novels of the more salacious type but under a pseudonym.
Into his offices and life comes Martin St. Vincent, a well-built, well-educated, well-dressed, wealthy black man. Though not initially impressed with Theo and his publication, Martin needs his help. He has a problem, or rather the family Martin grew up with has a problem. Their underage daughter seems to be conversing with a gentleman via Theo’s lonely heart ads. Her parents have engaged Martin to find the man, ascertain his intentions, and express their disapproval.
The problem evolves into a road trip chase after a runaway bride, as Martin and Theo try to stop the young lady and her beau reaching Gretna Green. Gretna Green in Scotland is famous for conducting quickie, legal marriages without parental approval. There also seems to be something suspicious about the haste of this marriage and a certain day approaching when all debts have to be paid.
Through Martin’s eyes, K.J. Charles manages to shed thought-provoking light on the subject of slavery and its abolition in England. She writes accurate historical prose that whilst addressing racism, inequality of status and the position of women in society, enlightens and entertains, but never preaches. The theme of strangers to friends to lovers develops through wonderful conversations and incidents including the joint suffering of uncomfortable travel.
There are some very enjoyable, sexy and erotic scenes, and the relationship between Theo and Martin is thoroughly believable and – eventually – fun. The emotion and empathy Ms. Charles brings to her writing always captures me. I loved both characters and had a few ‘oh no!’ moments and giggles too.
This novella just failed to reach the rating heights of previous books by this author only because it is a shorter story and a simpler plot. The writing is still fabulous and I highly recommend Wanted A Gentleman.