NEVER A GENTLEMAN
Author: Eileen Dreyer ISBN: 9780446542067 4/2011 HISTORICAL Publisher: GRAND CENTRAL
RRAH's THOUGHTS AND PONDERINGS:
This is the second book in the Drake’s Rakes series from Ms. Dreyer. Last year she gave us BARELY A LADY, and it was easily one of the best books I’ve ever read. A warning to all hard core romance lovers: NEVER A GENTLEMAN is a very, very hard read. At one point in the story, I got so emotional that I had to stop and scream!
Grace’s story, like her life, is heart wrenching. I truly felt this woman’s pain, heartbreak, and utter humiliation, from not just the Ton, but from Diccan, as well. I actually could see a bit of all of us women in her. We’re brought up to do exactly what Grace kept doing—putting everyone and everything before our own wishes, wants and dreams. It’s in our genes to please and take care of others. Grace hid so well who she is that she almost lost her personality all together. She kept sacrificing her own dreams, first for her father, then for Diccan. It took a very traumatic incident for our Grace to emerge. I was so proud of this woman!
Diccan Hilliard is such a complex man that, at first glance, you’ll think him all cool and suave, and that is exactly what he wants you to think of him. He’s one of Drake’s Rakes; a spy extraordinaire, deep undercover for a very long time, so long that his true self is completely gone. Diccan is a man of action; a restless soul. He’s one of those men that can’t stay still.
As a reader of romance, I found that we tend to compartmentalize our heroes. We accept them if they’re ‘good’ and also if they’re ‘bad’, but we shy away from those that are not quite easily described in black or white. We tend to dislike those that fall from grace and fall in the category of ‘gray’. Diccan is one of those heroes that Ms. Dreyer gave all shades to and brought him down from a pedestal to make him human. She gave him heart and soul, flesh and bone. This man lives for his country and his pleasures, exactly in that order. He’ll do anything to protect the Crown and his King, and if that involves satisfying his lusts, so be it. No excuses does he offer, nor does he want to. When he finds himself compromised and is forced to act a gentleman and propose marriage to a woman he hardly knows, let alone is attracted to, his world starts to slowly unravel. All this man can see is years of devoted service to the Crown and his cover of a perfect rake being compromised. He doesn’t need nor want to bring a wife into this dangerous situation.
Left with no choice, these two extremely complex characters are doing their best to make their situation work. It’s not easy for either as the plot to overthrow the Crown and assassinate Wellington takes Diccan away from his new wife and even more under cover. The scene at the Half Moon Street was the hardest to read, and I cannot imagine it being easy to write. I applaud Ms. Dreyer for leaving it in and showing us what a real spy must go through, even though it left me bereft and emotionally drained.
If you’re like me and hunger for a romance that will take you on a roller coaster of emotion, please take a ride with NEVER A GENTLEMAN. You’ll be glad you did.