Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: NetGalley
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…
A new historical romance that features the horse racing community. I enjoyed the setting and the characters that are introduced, a wonderful start to a new series.
Nathaniel Chandler has wanted to be a part of his father’s life for years, yet they are often at odds. Sir William is in a wheelchair, still proud and able to run a successful horse farm, but Nathaniel was a wild one in his younger days, drinking to excess and his father does not trust him. While visiting, they realize several of his father’s prized horses they plan to race in the Derby are sick with colic, they are desperate to solve the mystery and form a tentative truce.
Rosalind Agate is Sir William’s secretary, an unusual job for a woman, but she comes with good recommendations and is working out well. She has had many jobs in the past ten years, often leaving in a hurry and rarely saying goodbye to friends she has met. She hides several truths about herself and is constantly corresponding with a woman she calls Aunt Anne, someone who is not a relative and is a mystery herself. She saved Rosalind’s life ten years ago and since then Rosalind has worked for her, paying off a debt with spying and lies. When Rosalind meets Nathaniel she is in hopes that she can get the money she needs to break free from Anne, and they make a wager that turns into much more.
I enjoyed this first book in a new series, it is a bit different from what I have been reading in historicals lately and I liked the change. The characters are not from the aristocracy, no dukes or earls in the bunch; Nathaniel’s father is a Baron, almost working class.
Rosalind is in a bind, she is grateful to Aunt Anne for saving her life, but she is ready to move on and Anne is not very trustworthy. Rosalind has lived a lonely life since leaving her family, having to move so often because of the lies she has told and the information she has gathered, but when she meets Nathaniel she believes she might be able to dream of a future.
Nathaniel wants to please his father, as a middle child he feels like he has been lost in the shuffle. He brothers and sister are accomplished and set in life and he has not found his place yet. While staying with his father, he tries in every way to do something for him, but gets brushed aside, however it takes Rosalind’s introspective on the relationship to throw some light on what they are both doing wrong and I like how things end.
Nathaniel and Rosalind have an unremarkable relationship in the beginning, yet they are thrown together to solve the mystery of the sick horses. Nathaniel talks his father into letting him travel with the horses to race in the Derby, and when he asks Rosalind to come with him, she agrees on one condition, one that will set her free. I enjoyed their adventures while they traveled, seeing her family for the first time in ten years, it is apparent how much she has missed them. The two also become very close and discover their attraction is mutual and the relationship grows beyond friendship. They are both full of self-doubt and I love watching them become more confident throughout the story.
The pace starts slow and seems to drag in the beginning but picks up and I enjoyed their travel adventure and the people they meet along the way. I was waiting for more scenes at the horse track but I think with a mystery to solve and relationships that need mending, it kind of fell to the side. I liked many of the secondary characters that played important roles including siblings from both their families and even liked his father in the end. A delightful first book in the series and I look forward to more.
I give A Gentleman’s Game by Theresa Romain 4 stars!