No True Gentleman by Liz Carlyle (2002)
This is one of my favorite re-reads. It is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! I am seriously in love with Maximilian de Rohan....how's that for a name! Dark, brooding, moody, sexy....yowzah! This book really transcends the romance genre...it is something much more than one would expect. Carlyle's prose is rich and nuanced, and this book is not a fast read-sort of romance novel. It needs to be savored like a fine wine, and it is well worth it. In the same way that I need to adjust to Annette Blair's unique style of writing each time I read one of her books, Carlyle's voice as a writer is also something unique and special. This is a romance novel for the intelligent, curious and demanding reader...just the way I like them!
Carlyle's characters are nothing short of amazing. The contrast between Max, the dark and introspective investigator, and Catherine, the proper English widow, is wickedly delicious. Everything about this book is spot-on...the structure of the story, the unfolding of the mystery, the revelations about the characters, and the masterful writing. The love story is at times wicked, touching, sensual, intense and emotional. Wow! It's absolutely amazing.
The secondary characters are also fascinating, and many have their own stories, also (although this book is by far my favorite). I must admit that there are quite a few romance novels that I find enjoyable to read, but I can't remember the character's names the next day. This one stays with you for a while. It is fascinating. I don't think this book is for everyone...some readers may find the pace too slow, the prose too rich...it is certainly a more complex book than many romance novels I have read. I honestly think this book is a treasure. I defy you to read this one and not fall madly in love with Max. He is not your typical romance hero, but he sure is a memorable one. Grade: A+
Perfectly pleased as punch,