REVIEW: Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman by Lorraine HeathTuesday, November 30, 2010 1:00
Sandy M’s review of Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman (London’s Greatest Lovers, Book 2) by Lorraine Heath
Historical Romance published by Avon 30 Nov 10
After meeting Stephen Lyons in Passions of a Wicked Earl, at first I wasn’t sure he’d be my kind of hero. But knowing his character is in the hands of one of the best historical authors we have today, I should have known better. Stephen goes from a charming rake to a man of character to a man lost and finally to a man who finds everything he never thought he’d have or that he’d never really wanted. I fell in love with him instantly.
Stephen is a middle brother, which is nearly a kiss of death for men of his era. The military or the clergy. Not a spectacular choice for a man like Stephen who has a duke for a brother on one side and an earl on the other. To make up for not having a title or not being as good, in his eyes, as his brothers, he vows to become more than proficient in one aspect of life his siblings are mighty awesome at – loving women. And he does excel after all the practice he’s gotten over the years. Stephen charms me out of my pant — socks at every turn, just like he does all the women wishing him well as he marches off with his fellow soldiers to face war in the Crimea.
His brothers, of course, are hoping his stint in the military will help Stephen finally grow up, take some responsibility on in his life, and become the man they know he can be. A change does come over our hero while in Crimea, he rises in the ranks to become a major and a leader his men respect and look up to. Of course, he can still charm one of Nurse Nightingale’s nurses when the opportunity arises, he never lets that particular skill get rusty. Everything comes to an end, however, when Stephen is injured in a major incident on the battlefield and he wakes up in a field hospital, not remembering a person, place, thing, or event from the last two years.
Mercy Dawson wants to do something with her life, something meaningful, so she studies under Miss Nightingale, goes to the Crimea with her to nurse injured English soldiers. It’s there she meets Stephen on the worst night of her life when he rescues her from ruffians on the street. The comfort and care he gives her that night only plunges the man deeper into her heart, even though he doesn’t look at her the same as the other nurses, one of which she befriends only later to learn the woman is carrying Stephen’s child. Dumping the infant in Mercy’s care and then running ends up being a godsend to Mercy. She loves Stephen’s child as though it were her own and decides the younster needs his family, though, especially now that Stephen has been killed in action.
You can’t help but like Mercy. She’s kindhearted and loves with all her heart. She takes the ruination forced upon her when she arrives home from the Crimea with a child in tow over not having him in her life, and her father carts her and the child off to the Duke of Ainsley, Stephen’s youngest brother, for some kind of remuneration for the disgrace bestowed on his daughter. What they find instead, which is a huge relief to Mercy, is Stephen alive and well. She’s determined to be a part of her son’s life, even if it means playing nursemaid or governess.
All the while Stephen has kept his “affliction,” his memory loss, a secret. Meeting Mercy and his son only heaps more questions on top of what happened in the war, what kind of man he was there, and a million others he wants answers to. There’s something about Mercy that calls to Stephen, and he has a decision to make on how she’ll fit into his life, if at all.
And once that decision is made, Stephen and Mercy are a perfect couple. They have fun, they talk, they love, they work together. I really enjoyed them. Watching Stephen open up to his son in so many little ways, all because of Mercy, is one of the varied emotional parts of the book. Of course, there are still secrets to be revealed and conflict to resolve between them, which is also just as emotional, and I’m so very glad Ms. Heath handled their resolution the way she did. She’s true to these charming characters created for love and romance.
I didn’t think it possible, but I like this book even better than PoaWE. Ainsley’s book, Waking Up with a Duke, is not due out until July of next year, a long time to wait to see how he and his heroine will compare to Stephen and Mercy, who are going to be quite a tough act to follow.
As the black sheep second son of an earl, Stephen Lyons has gained a reputation in the art of seduction, but when his wicked ways result in scandal, he enlists in the army to redeem himself. On the battlefield, he proves courageous…until he is seriously wounded. Returning home to recover, he discovers he can’t remember the angelic beauty who arrives at his doorstep, his babe nestled in her arms.
Mercy Dawson will risk everything to protect the son of the dashing soldier she once knew and admired. When Stephen offers to do the honorable thing, she is determined that London’s most notorious gentleman will desire her and no other. But Mercy fears that what began as an innocent deception could destroy her dreams and their blossoming love if Stephen ever learns the scandalous truth…
No excerpt available.
Other books in this series: