Review: A Gentleman Revealed by Cooper Davis

Posted April 17, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 22 Comments

Review: A Gentleman Revealed by Cooper Davis
A Gentleman Revealed

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four-flames

Series: Lords of Avenleigh
Genres: Historical Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Intermix
Released on April 17, 2018
Pages: 343
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

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The Delight

An alternate history m/m Regency Romance set against the world of high society, the Season, and the Palace for a pair of unlikely lovers with troubled pasts by a new to me author.  I most definitely had to give it a go.

Review

A Gentleman Revealed is the first book of the Lords of Avenleigh series.  I discovered once I started reading that its actually a spin-off of the earlier Noble Pleasures duo featuring a side couple in this series.  I had no trouble beginning here, but I am curious now to go back for Arend and Julian’s story.

The alternate history is mild in that the country and places named are different, but this is the British Isles Regency Period (ignore the blurb on that one) and the glaring difference is that same sex relationships are not unlawful or taboo so it makes for an interesting variation when it comes to the fashionable Season, the marriage mart, and the dynamics of courtship.

Lord Marcus is a congenial, happy sort with three older rascally brothers and a widowed ducal father who wants his sons happiness above all.  He has a gift for the violin and a penchant for a certain buttoned up, husky-shaped King’s Secretary with prim airs.  He finally goes for it and the pair begin quite the tempestuous courtship.

Opposite to handsome and sweet Lord Marcus’ uncomplicated situation is Alistair Finley, secret illegitimate brother to the king and blackmailed into silence by the former king’s lawyer, alcoholic and overweight and bowed down by his own secrets has a difficult time first believing in Marcus’ interest and allowing himself to love and be loved.

I found this story a tough one to get into and had my moments throughout.  Both Marcus and Alistair are drawn in such a way that they take turns blowing hot and cold and acting prudish and rakish in turn.  I couldn’t get a bead on either of them until a third of the way through.   It was an unhealthy relationship that needed to take a step back and allow for Alistair to heal before they could go further.  Marcus was steady, true, and strong to the purpose despite him floundering in uncertainty about how he could best help and if love was going to be enough.

Alistair’s self-loathing that took the form in indulging in food and alcohol and raw feelings about his body image earned my pity.  He was an unacknowledged bastard son and now must hide the truth from his brother because of that nasty, slimy lawyer who played mind games and emotionally and verbally abused him for years.  I really wanted a building to fall on the guy.  I didn’t know what to make of Alistair’s cousin, Sam, who in his own pain and trouble took shots at him, while claiming to be Alistair’s friend and accepting him as a fostered brother of his cousin.  Everyone, Alistair included, treated Sam’s hurtful remarks like jokes.  I was relieved when he did see what terrible pain his hurtful teasing caused.

Marcus’s family was hilarious with all those Scottish red heads that were spirited and mischief loving and a father who wanted them to act with honor, but also be happy.  The family dynamics were great and Ethan’s role in Alistair and Marcus’ relationship was just amazing.  Everyone needs a brother like Ethan.  Marcus was amazing, too.  He’d survived a scandal he didn’t cause and an abusive relationship in the past, but he still reached out and saw the diamond in the rough that was the troubled Alistair.  Alistair pushed him away or strike out from his own place of pain and Marcus saw this.  He was a beautiful soul as Alistair pointed out to him.

There were some interesting dynamics addressed in this deeper story- dealing with addiction, being accepted by family, being supportive of a person who has addictions, parental expectations, gender defined and reversed, and so much more.

Ultimately, it was all these complex layers along with the slowly emerging characters of the main players that won me over.  This was a long book and had slower moments when I wanted them to get past the issues, but I also saw the need to take the time because these issues were huge and shouldn’t be swept over too quickly.  Now that I’m introduced to the cast of characters and the situation I can’t wait for Ethan’s story next.

So, it took me a bit and then I was impressed with how the author handled deeper matters.  I thought it was great to see how altering that part of history to allow same sex relationships to be accepted would create some fun, new opportunities for historical romance.  I would definitely recommend this one to those who enjoy m/m historical romance on the spicy side.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges

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New Release #55

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Cindy S
Guest

What an awesome review! You have me wanting to dive right into this book, thanks for sharing!

Sophia Rose
Guest

Thanks, Cindy! Hope you like it if you get the chance.

AngieElle @ Ba_BAMB
Guest

I have tried a few m/m books that took place during this time period, and I just can’t get behind them. I feel like they never capture the dire straits the men are in by even entertaining same sex relationships, and disregarding that part of history altogether, IMO, turns it from romance to fantasy, sort of like the Captive Prince trilogy – which I love and actually does acknowledge it’s fantasy. Me and my personal hang ups. Sigh.

Great review, Sophia.

Sophia Rose
Guest

I get it. It’s the authenticity factor. I think that’s why she went with an alternate history setting so she could skip the problem of a same sex romance working long term in that era.

There are some pretty good ones, though, who I think do a good job with keeping it authentic: Ava March, Charlie Cochrane, Alex Beecroft, and a few more on my list if you want them. 🙂

AngieElle @ Ba_BAMB
Guest

The authenticity is a factor, and I think it smarts even more because it seems to be lacking all around in the historical genre. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton was a breath of fresh air for many reasons, and I think the authenticity played a huge role in that for me.

I may try this (sub)genre again at some point down the road, but for now, it’s nice to have one to cross off my list! LOL Thanks for the recommendations.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yes, I loved Chanel’s book and can’t wait for book two.

Sure thing! 🙂

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yes, I like that it touched on some deeper elements beyond the romance.

Barks Book Nonsense
Guest

These books always seem to have soooo much angst! But I do love them when I’m feeling up for them.

Sophia Rose
Guest

They really do. I wanted to Alistair until his teeth rattled, but, I also wanted to give him a hug. 😉

Sophia Rose
Guest

So many are not my cuppa, either. 😉

Evie
Guest

What a thorough review! I love that he can play the violin and that the father wants his son’s happiness no matter what.

Sophia Rose
Guest

LOL, yes, I tend to say more when a book pulls me more than one direction like this. I thought the deeper elements with the characters was pretty neat.

Kimberly Caffeinated Reviewer
Guest

They sound fickle. LOL

Sophia Rose
Guest

There was so much two steps forward three steps back with this pair. Sigh…

Vanessa
Guest

I love that this one isn’t just about romance but it also has some deeper issues added into it Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose
Guest

I agree. I like that they are struggling and have a personal issue to get past as well as find a way to be together.

Mary Kirkland
Guest

That sounds good. I haven’t read this author before.

Sophia Rose
Guest

I hadn’t either. I was glad to try her books and find another historical series to follow.

Lola
Guest

Sounds fun with the mild alternative history parts. That’s always a bit difficult when you struggle to get into the story at first. Seems like it got better later on and has some good parts too. The side characters sound well done too. And it seems like there are quite some things going on and issues they have to deal with besides the romance. It makes sense it takes some time for them to get over those things and deal with them but I can see how it can make the story a bit slow at times. Great review!

Sophia Rose
Guest

I just could not figure them out the way they went back and forth at first. But then the explanations came and made sense so I was able to enjoy the story. I liked that there was more to it than just ballrooms and fancy events and they had to work through difficult stuff.

vvb reads
Guest

I love how the cover has a literal reveal 😉

Sophia Rose
Guest

Buahaha! Good catch, Velvet!