Book 1 in the Jaded Gentlemen series
Author Grace Burrowes
Narrated by James Langton
Published by Tantor Media
Publication date Apr 25, 2017
Running time 10 hrs
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Thomas Jennings arrives to his newly acquired estate to find that his steward has fled under a cloud of scandal, and the property has been held together by Miss Loris Tanner, the steward’s daughter. Thomas knows what it’s like to not fit in, and he’s pragmatic enough to respect results, so he gives Loris a chance to maintain her position in a profession uniformly undertaken by men.
Thomas learns about the complexities of estate management from his unlikely tutor, despite somebody’s attempts to drive him off his own land. Mishaps turn into near tragedies, while between Thomas and Loris, respect and liking grow into attraction. Who is sabotaging Thomas’s estate, and what choices will Loris face when the malefactor has been revealed?
At some point in the past it became okay not to be a shrinking violet and realizing one’s abilities as a strong, intelligent woman became, just unusual, then okay, and – only lately – fully the social norm. Sadly, Loris, this story’s heroine, doesn’t live in any enlightened age. Romance Literature doesn’t treat women as disposables, rather it points out how far we’ve come and where society needs to move on. The official line of the Regency and Georgian periods was that women did not have the ability to focus their brains enough to do complicated jobs. So – yeah running the households of myriad estates was the woman’s domain as long as the concern stayed in household affairs. That is SO MUCH LESS complicated than running a farm, right?
This is the way life for women is presented in most Regency Romance. I am told it wasn’t as bad as all that: George IV’s heir was to have been his daughter who died in childbirth, and there were several ruling queens in the history of the country. But, given what we continue to face as women, it’s easy to imagine a time when women were held just slightly above livestock in importance. The system depended on men being honorable. Much of this genre depends on the human condition of imperfection.
I don’t know what was really true: in reading fiction or, even, popular history, one would imagine all women were meek and, it is true they ceased to be legal entities once they married, but were they really so trounced and subjugated? My guess is that they probably achieved their needs in many ways and in some cases just did what had to be done and were listened to.
Loris is somewhere in the middle. She is an unofficial estate manager, or steward, filling in for her missing father. The problem with stepping out of bounds for a woman then was that then the boundaries in your treatment were also loosened. There are a lot of subtleties to this particular area of thinking, and a complex plot with intrigue galore in this one.
Loris’ story is a bit contrived, but her decisions are hard to make. The chemistry between the characters seemed a little forced.
Langton has a particularly listenable voice- just the right pitch and a lovely variety of reasonable accents. I think his breathy female voices are growing on me – or he is working at making them sound less vapid.
I enjoyed this one for the issues, and the location felt removed from the realities of normal Regency life.
On a personal note: We suffered an unexpected loss and I just couldn’t wrap my head around blogging for a week. I am back, although we are still pretty upset and sad. Thank you all for your patience and the many messages of support I received.