Dangerous Gentlemen by Beverley Oakley

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Shy, self-effacing Henrietta knows her place—in her dazzling older sister’s shadow. She’s a little brown peahen to Araminta’s bird of paradise. But when Hetty mistakenly becomes embroiled in the Regency underworld, the innocent debutante finds herself shockingly compromised by the dashing, dangerous Sir Aubrey, the very gentleman her heart desires. And the man Araminta has in her cold, calculating sights.

Branded an enemy of the Crown, bitter over the loss of his wife, Sir Aubrey wants only to lose himself in the warm, willing body of the young “prostitute” Hetty. As he tutors her in the art of lovemaking, Aubrey is pleased to find Hetty not only an ardent student, but a bright, witty and charming companion.

Publisher and Release Date: Ellora’s Cave, February 2014
RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: Regency London
Genre: Regency Romance with mystery elements
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars

Review by Natalie

I have to be honest; when I first read the description of Dangerous Gentlemen, I was a little incredulous. It seemed to be an impossibly tall order! How, in Regency London, with all its rules and societal restrictions, was Ms Oakley going create a scenario where a respectable, wallflower, débutante who is barely ready for the spotlight could be mistaken for a prostitute? Well, it turns out not only does Oakley manage it but she does so without making all the characters seem like 21st century people masquerading as Regency characters.

Hetty is almost always upstaged by her older sister Araminta, who is the beauty of the family. What Hetty lacks in beauty (and of course beauty is always a matter of opinion) she more than makes up for in kindness and good sense. Hetty may not think she shines like her sister, but it is obvious that this opinion of herself is flawed after living in Araminta’s shadow for so long. In her first season in London, Hetty ends up casting longing glances at Sir Aubrey, a man of questionable morals who seems besotted with her sister. But soon Hetty, through a gut-wrenching case of mistaken identity, ends up in Sir Aubrey arms, mistaken for a lady of the night. I gasped at the impropriety of this arrangement before I remembered that I wasn’t actually part of the ton and had never lived in 1820s London.

The scenes between Hetty and Sir Aubrey were highly charged with Hetty forgetting herself and, a little naively, hoping for the best outcome in a terrible situation. Leading two lives, Hetty tries to unravels the mystery surrounding Sir Aubrey but she is forced to watch as Araminta tries to capture the eligible Sir Aubrey in the ballrooms of London.

Dangerous Gentlemen takes you on a seductive ride while still staying true to the character of London society. This book had me worried and overjoyed as I was reading and I couldn’t put it down!

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