Theresa Romain returns to the blog today with the first full-length installment in her new Regency-era series, Romance of the Turf. Please read on for my review of
A Gentleman’s Game
Opening with a fresh perspective, Theresa Romain gives us the story of two ‘commoners’ who are functioning in the horse-racing world. Nathaniel has a gifted eye for horseflesh and training, and has spent years working to gain his father’s approval. His father received the title of Baronet as recognition, and he’s never wholly approved or trusted him. Sir William has a secretary, Rosalind, daughter of innkeepers and a knowledgeable and trusted employee. More importantly, Sir William treats Rosalind with the respect and attention that he doesn’t afford his son.
A big race is coming up on the horizon, and Nathaniel wants to participate: he’d need to transport the horses to the venue ahead of time, but two issues are cropping up. Horses are suddenly and unexpectedly falling ill with no real cause that can be found, and Sir William does not trust Nathaniel to manage alone. To that end, he assigns Rosalind to both supervise Nathan and the horses, and to discover what is causing the horses to fall ill.
Romain builds this story carefully if a bit unevenly, with information regarding horses and racing being prominent in the first quarter of the novel, setting up the story to come. Both Nathaniel and Rosalind are struggling with their own issues regarding acceptance, their own positions in society, and just whether or not they can take a chance and trust one another. Slowly these two reveal themselves to us and each other: there are secrets galore, insecurities and of course, who is making the horses ill. It was interesting to watch Romain’s process with these two, a gradual unfolding as each revelation builds on the next, fully coloring in the lines that are the characters. With lyrical and descriptive phrasing, an interesting series of issues surrounding more ‘working class’ minded people and their approaches to life and the obvious connection between them, it was easy to get lost and just enjoy the ride.
While the ending did feel a bit overstuffed with revealing the villain and sorting things between Rosalind and Nathaniel, I enjoyed the trip as we saw the gradual path into love.
Title: A Gentleman's Game
Author: Theresa Romain
Series: Romance of the Turf #1
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published on: 2 February 2016
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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Suave Nathaniel Chandler can just as easily talk himself into a willing lady's embrace as he can broker a business deal. But no amount of charm is sufficient to cloak a chilling, recent discovery: every one of his award-winning racehorses has suddenly and mysteriously fallen ill.
Determined to discover the source of the problem, Nathaniel searches for all possible explanations. His suspicions fall on the alluring Rosalind Agate, his father's new secretary. But for the sake of both their livelihoods - and his recent attraction - Nathaniel sets aside his suspicions. Instead, he decides to use Rosalind's wit and her wiles as key components of his investigative team.
As the upcoming race draws near, Nathaniel and Rosalind must use every trick up their sleeves to not only catch the culprit, but also satisfy the desire that burns between them…
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A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: