Friday, February 5, 2016

A Gentleman's Game by Theresa Romain

The Basics:
A Gentleman's Game by Theresa Romain
Book One in the Romance of the Turf series
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Historical Romance
Published February 2, 2016
Source: Received Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I reviewed Theresa Romain twice in 2014, here and here, and I loved her books both times. When I saw this one by her, it was a no-brainer to pick up!

In Book One of Romance of the Turf, a refreshing new Regency series from rising star Theresa Romain, a mystery demanding to be solved brings unlikely allies together in more ways than one...
How far will a man go
Talented but troubled, the Chandler family seems cursed by bad luck-and so Nathaniel Chandler has learned to trade on his charm. He can broker a deal with anyone from a turf-mad English noble to an Irish horse breeder. But Nathaniel's skills are tested when his stable of trained Thoroughbreds become suspiciously ill just before the Epsom Derby, and he begins to suspect his father's new secretary is not as innocent as she seems.
To win a woman's secretive heart?
Nathaniel would be very surprised if he knew why Rosalind Agate was really helping his family in their quest for a Derby victory. But for the sake of both their livelihoods, Rosalind and Nathaniel must set aside their suspicions. As Derby Day draws near, her wit and his charm make for a successful investigative team...and light the fires of growing desire. But Rosalind's life is built on secrets and Nathaniel's on charisma, and neither defense will serve them once they lose their hearts...

My Thoughts:
A Gentleman's Game is a fantastic historical romance featuring the middle class. Nathaniel is the son of a Baronet, part of a family who are embedded in the business of raising, breeding, and racing horses. Rosalind is the daughter of a couple who run an inn, working now as a secretary for Nathaniel's father.

I loved how fresh the story felt. I've never read a horse-racing-centric romance before, and romances between people in this middling class are only just beginning to become popular, I think. I loved all the evidence of the heroine's status, from clothing references to what she values. And Nathaniel's concerns around supporting himself and what he can do for work were also quite welcome.

The best part of the relationship, I think, is the excellent banter between Nathaniel and Rosalind. I quite enjoyed all the interaction between these two.

I also really liked Rosalind's family, and would be happy to read more about them in the future. 

As for the horse-racing side. I thought that there was just enough horse and racing information to ground the story. Those details were important to give context, and I never felt that they overwhelmed me. I found considering the logistics of horse racing, historically and even in the modern age, really interesting. Obviously moving horses across the countryside was, and is, much more challenging than moving their human counterparts. 

The romance itself is fantastic, the setting is great. Really, my only complaint is that the story line beyond the romance gets a bit messy around the climax and resolution. I wasn't completely sold on the explanations or the way that everything played out, and some of it felt like a bit of hand-waving so readers wouldn't poke it too hard. Regardless, the parts I cared about the most were excellent. 

Bottom line:

A Gentleman's Game is a delightful historical romance featuring two characters that are rather unusual in the genre. I happily recommend this one!

4.5 stars
For fans of historical romance, middle-class romance, horse racing

Don't just take my word for it though! I've gathered up a couple of other blog reviews, so check them out for some other opinions!

The Rambling Book Junkie 


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