Jaded Gentlemen #3
by Grace Burrowes
Narrated by James Langton
Publication date Oct 24, 2017
Running time 11 hrs
Dec 15, 2015
Print formats by Grace Burrowes Publishing: Dec 15, 2015
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.
Axel Belmont, though a wealthy and much-respected botanist, occasionally takes a turn serving as magistrate in his rural corner of Oxfordshire. When the owner of a neighboring estate is the victim of a homicide, Axel initially suspects the man’s much younger wife, Abigail Stoneleigh, of committing the crime.
But then Abby appears to be in harm’s way, and Axel’s investigation uncovers longstanding deceptions aimed at cheating her out of wealth and happiness. The solution to this deadly puzzle remains elusive, even as Axel captures Abby’s heart and surrenders his own. Axel is a fine investigator, a devoted father, a brilliant scientist, (and an excellent kisser), but will he solve the mystery before the villain strikes again? https://tantor.com/axel-grace-burrowes.html
It’s weird how some books can bug me and others delight and satisfy these past few weeks I had one that really bugged me and one I loved: AXEL, by Grace Burrowes, was marvelous. I kept thinking I was listening to a book by Georgette Heyer whose work I really love. While this has the feel of Heyer in many respects it is somewhat steamier. Burrowes writes some explicit sex scenes but they aren’t vulgar at all. At no point did I feel I would be embarrassed if someone else saw what I was reading.
James Langton’s narration certainly added to the pleasure of reading the story, it’s a nice speaking voice and very genteel. I have heard his work several times and get a distinct feeling for each character. For a secondary character, I have an idea of Axel’s friend, Nick, I have a definite image in my head of a lassitudinous actor from my younger days: devastastingly handsome, and leonine wearing a Byronesque shirt and long flowing hair, not Fabio, If only I could remember who.
I enjoyed the mystery too, and I was only a little ahead of the sleuths in discovering “who” killed the victim, but not at all for the “why.” The real mystery was that no one had killed the creepy criminal sooner.
Even with the mystery there’s a real romance here, with real “swoon-worthy” actions that would make it almost impossible for anyone to not feel all “the feels.” The characters come together nicely and seemingly over time. The timeline develops a fluid nature here as the weeks mentioned by the writer in discussing the couple seem like months. Axel’s career as a botanist working to create a thorn free rose that smells and looks good is a metaphor for seeking romance all on its own. He brings Abigail roses all the time. See? Swoony!
While the research seems good, I found Axel’s liberality in allowing Abigail latitude to find herself a trifle too modern. Of course, we only hear, usually, about the restrictions on women, but we know that is a generalization and there must have been some men with more enlightened minds.
My point is that it is a rare book that sets me up with such a clear image of the characters, good relationship development, and with a plot and narrator I enjoy. I you’re a fan of Heyer, or just want a splendid Regency Romance AXEL is the one at the top of my recommended list.
AUDIO PUBLISHER: https://tantor.com/axel-grace-burrowes.html