A Gentleman Revealed
Author: Cooper Davis
What I’m Talking About:
While A Gentleman Revealed is the beginning of a series, I believe that the narrative would have benefitted greatly if I’d read the original stories that prefaced it. There are private jokes and intricacies which are crucial to the various relationships that define the characters, but left me confused, and sometimes very irritated, without an understanding of these previously defined behaviors. After carefully perusing several synopses and lengthy reviews of the first series, things made more sense. As such, it might be helpful to new readers to do some research into the earlier novels if reading them in their entirety isn’t an option.
With that in mind, and in a unique and promising twist, A Gentleman Revealed is set in a universe where same-sex unions are not only accepted, but encouraged. At least, that seems to be true most of the time. Alistair’s foster brother, the current king, was apparently forced to marry a woman in order to produce an heir before her death opened the way to his pursuit of a male concubine (who he is now married to). Marcus’ father, however, is fine with the idea of Marcus and Alistair adopting, which is wonderful. Other particulars of the story regarding scandals and the tarnishing of reputations led me to believe that these relationships were actually more “tolerated” than truly celebrated.
Another thing that made it easier to distance myself from the narrative were some of the modifiers used to describe Alistair’s form—especially when thought or implied by Marcus. Phrases like “generous proportions” and “heavyset,” etc. are moderate, yet forthright enough, but I was a little horrified that Marcus considered him as “big as a barn” in his own head. There were a few similar incidents, as well. I expected that kind of phrasing from other characters, but not Alistair’s lover. Despite the above, however, Marcus was a favorite of mine in the story, and I wanted him to find happiness with Alistair a great deal.
On a far more serious note, A Gentleman Revealed takes a unvarnished and oftentimes brutal look at Alistair’s constant battle with negative body image and alcoholism. While Alistair’s struggles are specific to him, they illustrate a universal and very real need for patience, acceptance, and support on both sides of the situation. The vast majority of the novel concerns Alistair’s self-loathing and the downward spiral he’s in, and seeing him agree to the help that’s offered was a major turning point in the story.
Overall, while I wanted to really love A Gentleman Revealed, I felt that it lacked a degree of clarity on its own which additional details with regards to the secondary characters would have provided. This and other issues kept me from becoming fully invested in the story, though I suspect I might feel differently had I been aware of the importance of the central series that preceded it. To its credit, through Marcus (and a few others), A Gentleman Revealed offers a compelling argument for the good that unselfish support can do in some situations, and underscores the belief that being healthy, regardless of body type, is the only goal that should matter to those around us.
My Rating: C+ Liked It, but I had issues
About the Book:
Alistair Finley has spent years concealing the truth of his illegitimacy. The bastard son of the late king and half-brother to the man who now occupies the throne, Alistair fears ruination. He has never allowed himself love or companionship. Until he meets the handsome young Lord Marcus Avenleigh.
Marcus has spent two years attempting to gain the notice of the king’s shy secretary. Tempting Alistair out of the shadows and into his bed, however, proves a daunting task. The self-proclaimed spinster has made a profession of decorating the wings of every social gala, denying Marcus and every other eligible bachelor a formal introduction.
When Lady Elsevier’s annual ball presents a daring moment, Marcus invites Alistair to waltz. What Marcus can’t know is that his would-be paramour has chosen drink and the life of a lonely bachelor above ever risking his heart, or his king’s own reputation. He’s bound in lies and secrecy, and the past must never, ever be revealed…
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Series: Lords of Avenleigh #1
Genre: Historical Romance, LGBTQ, m/m
Format(s): e-book, audiobook
Book Source: NetGalley