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Gabriella

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He lost a wager . . . but won a treasure. Due to a lost wager, the Duke of Ravenham is obliged to bring a pretty little nobody from the country into fashion among the high-sticklers of London Society. Ravenham would never refuse a debt of honor, no matter how unorthodox, so he overlooks Miss Gordon's vulgar relations to do what is necessary, escorting the unsophisticated chit to He lost a wager . . . but won a treasure. Due to a lost wager, the Duke of Ravenham is obliged to bring a pretty little nobody from the country into fashion among the high-sticklers of London Society. Ravenham would never refuse a debt of honor, no matter how unorthodox, so he overlooks Miss Gordon's vulgar relations to do what is necessary, escorting the unsophisticated chit to balls, etc. But what he expects to be an irksome duty turns out to be something quite different as he falls under the spell of his protege's innocent charm. When he lost that wager, he definitely never counted on losing his heart as well! First impressions can be deceiving. Miss Gabriella Gordon only came to London at her mother's and sister's insistence, for she'd much rather assist in running her father's veterinary practice than attempt to fit into fashionable society. No sooner has she arrived in London than the exalted (and exceedingly handsome) Duke of Ravenham comes to call. The reason is less than flattering, however: due to a lost wager, the Duke is forced to bring Gabriella into fashion, a "favor" she would certainly refuse if her family would let her. But the more time she spends in the dashing Duke's company, the more conflicted she feels-- particularly when she discovers they have more in common than she ever dared dream.   A sparkling traditional Regency romance from bestselling author Brenda Hiatt.


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He lost a wager . . . but won a treasure. Due to a lost wager, the Duke of Ravenham is obliged to bring a pretty little nobody from the country into fashion among the high-sticklers of London Society. Ravenham would never refuse a debt of honor, no matter how unorthodox, so he overlooks Miss Gordon's vulgar relations to do what is necessary, escorting the unsophisticated chit to He lost a wager . . . but won a treasure. Due to a lost wager, the Duke of Ravenham is obliged to bring a pretty little nobody from the country into fashion among the high-sticklers of London Society. Ravenham would never refuse a debt of honor, no matter how unorthodox, so he overlooks Miss Gordon's vulgar relations to do what is necessary, escorting the unsophisticated chit to balls, etc. But what he expects to be an irksome duty turns out to be something quite different as he falls under the spell of his protege's innocent charm. When he lost that wager, he definitely never counted on losing his heart as well! First impressions can be deceiving. Miss Gabriella Gordon only came to London at her mother's and sister's insistence, for she'd much rather assist in running her father's veterinary practice than attempt to fit into fashionable society. No sooner has she arrived in London than the exalted (and exceedingly handsome) Duke of Ravenham comes to call. The reason is less than flattering, however: due to a lost wager, the Duke is forced to bring Gabriella into fashion, a "favor" she would certainly refuse if her family would let her. But the more time she spends in the dashing Duke's company, the more conflicted she feels-- particularly when she discovers they have more in common than she ever dared dream.   A sparkling traditional Regency romance from bestselling author Brenda Hiatt.

30 review for Gabriella

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Kindle freebie, 7/18/2017. In this older Regency romance, Gabriella, a country girl, just wants to follow in her father's footsteps and be a veterinarian, but her mother sells the practice after her father's death and Gabriella is forced to go to London for the Season, living with her more socially-minded sister. Due to a poor wager, the Duke of Ravenham is forced to help this country miss become a success in society. True confessions time: I read this Regency romance three years ago, presumabl Kindle freebie, 7/18/2017. In this older Regency romance, Gabriella, a country girl, just wants to follow in her father's footsteps and be a veterinarian, but her mother sells the practice after her father's death and Gabriella is forced to go to London for the Season, living with her more socially-minded sister. Due to a poor wager, the Duke of Ravenham is forced to help this country miss become a success in society. True confessions time: I read this Regency romance three years ago, presumably the last time it showed up as a freebie. And I remember absolutely nothing about it, even after reading the blurb and a couple of my friends' detailed reviews, lol. *shrugs* So it wasn't in any way memorable for me, but anyway it's free if you're interested in old Regencies. 2.5 stars, dinging it for being so utterly forgettable.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kami Reeve

    So, I'm not giving this 4 stars because it was knock you socks off amazing. I'm giving it a 4 star rating because it was a clean, regency era, predictable romance. I read this today while I was sitting in the hospital with my dad and it was totally enjoyable. I knew what would happen by page 3 and enjoyed the journey. Sometimes it's calming to read something like this. Thanks for a fun, clean read Brenda Hiatt!

  3. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Gabriella Gordon wants nothing more than to stay in the country and continue to operate her father's veterinary surgery practice along with her younger brother. When Mrs. Gordon sells the practice, Gabriella is forced to give in to her older sister's invitation to come to Town for the Season. Gabriella arrives at a posting inn to discover a horribly mistreated horse. She decides to take on the miscreant who dared abuse an animal. She rudely interrupts the Duke of Ravenham in the middle of wooing Gabriella Gordon wants nothing more than to stay in the country and continue to operate her father's veterinary surgery practice along with her younger brother. When Mrs. Gordon sells the practice, Gabriella is forced to give in to her older sister's invitation to come to Town for the Season. Gabriella arrives at a posting inn to discover a horribly mistreated horse. She decides to take on the miscreant who dared abuse an animal. She rudely interrupts the Duke of Ravenham in the middle of wooing a new mistress. He's furious at the interruption by this little serving wench with the turquoise blue eyes. He refuses to set her straight on the matter. Once in London, Gabriella sees her sister has not changed. She's still superficial and social climbing. Angela has burned a few bridges and is determined to use Gabriella to enhance her own social status. Angela introduces Gabriella to her friend and would-be lover Sir Frederick who is intrigued by the naive, outspoken Gabriella. While Brie is being brought out, The Duke of Ravenham must pay a debt and do a favor for the first man he sees. That man happens to be Angela's husband, the foppish and stupid Sir Seymour Platt, who decides Ravenham's favor will be to take up Gabriella. That way she is sure to be a success with the ton. Brie worries the arrogant man she remembers will humiliate her, but instead he introduces her to his sister Lady Elizabeth. The plan is a grand success and Brie attracts a number of suitors. Ravenham isn't what he appeared on first acquaintance and Brie comes to regard him as a friend, but how will he react when he finds out she's not an heiress as the gossips would have it? What will Ravenham think of Brie if he finds her out father was a veterinary surgeon? Brie knows one thing, she refuses to lie about who she is. Why does it hurt to think she may lose the friendship of the Duke of Ravenham? Little does she know, a new rumor circulating through the ton could do far more to ruin her reputation. I wanted to like this book because of the animal rights theme. Like Brie, I am passionate about animal welfare, so I was intrigued by the story at first. Unfortunately the book bored me so much that I ended up skimming most of it. The plot reads as if written from a template. There's nothing really substantial in it. Brie doesn't meet Wilberforce or join the RSPCA (founded in 1824 but I have no idea what year the book is set). The animal rights thing is dropped and picked up again when the plot requires advancing. The story features the usual superficial activities of the Season but nothing to really pinpoint the exact year the story takes place. It's all very pleasant. A lot of the action is basically summarized and shortened in favor of endlessly boring cliched scenes and pointless dialogue. A key moment in the plot towards the end is told after it happens. The romance doesn't quite make it to being a full blown romance. The characters are not on page together a lot and when they are, we're told what they did. They start to become friends but they don't really connect though we're told they give each other speaking looks. It wasn't quite enough for me to root for them to get together. I didn't care whether they did or didn't end up together in the end. The author had a little bit of knowledge of the Regency era and either didn't know or didn't care about all the nuances of etiquette. Etiquette plays a large role in the story yet the hero and heroine end up on a first name basis! There's also a scene where the heroine, another young lady and some gentlemen are present for a momentous event. I don't think an unmarried girl would have been in the room, let alone in the room with gentlemen. I'll let it slide that the heroine was there but not Elizabeth. There's another scene with Elizabeth that I didn't feel was quite right. The language sounds very modern too. The characters are just as boring as the plot. I liked Brie because of her love for animals and her desire to stay true to herself. I didn't like how she gave in to Angela so easily though and I found her very modern for a Regency heroine. Sometimes I didn't like the way she acted because it just wasn't even close to accurate. The other characters are largely superficial. I don't know much about Ravenham. His behavior in his initial scene is at odds with his behavior later on. He's supposed to be a Corinthian, but the only evidence of that is his teaching Brie how to drive. Apparently he's an excellent shot as well. He's the perfect paragon of a hero on the surface but we never get to dig beneath the surface to find out who he is and what he's feeling. I hated the misunderstanding because if she really was that close to Brie, he wouldn't have even considered it for a moment or wouldn't have cared. He took too long to get over himself. Elizabeth seems like an interesting character and a good friend for Brie. She's in the story more than her brother. I liked her because she was a good balance of ladylike and mischievous. There's a secondary hero who is another perfect paragon despite his tendency to gamble on anything. Another suitor is silly and too over the top. Angela is a beastly sister. If she were my sister we would have had some serious cat fights. I find it hard to believe she and Brie have the same parents. My sister and I are very different yet we have the same values more or less. The other villain is too stereotypical. This is Brenda Hiatt's first Regency book so I'll forgive her for the boring plot and glaring historical errors. I may try another one of her older Regencies and see if it's any better. This one was just too cliched for me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Edwina " I LoveBooks" "Deb"

    JUST SO SO!! I was not very impressed with this story. I never felt that Dexter the Duke of Ravenham and Gabreilla Gordon were in love. They came to be friends but love was a far stretch. Nothing sensual or romantic happen between the couple and the story ends abruptly. I think the couple learns to respect each other but noting more. Just a bland read. Just Ok nothing special. After loosing a bet too his friend Lord Garvey, Dex must escort Brie/Garbreilla to Ton events to help her com JUST SO SO!! I was not very impressed with this story. I never felt that Dexter the Duke of Ravenham and Gabreilla Gordon were in love. They came to be friends but love was a far stretch. Nothing sensual or romantic happen between the couple and the story ends abruptly. I think the couple learns to respect each other but noting more. Just a bland read. Just Ok nothing special. After loosing a bet too his friend Lord Garvey, Dex must escort Brie/Garbreilla to Ton events to help her come out be a sucess. Her social climbing sister Angela Platt and her husband Sir Seymore Platt are the benefactor of the bet. The couple are basically not respected or invited to Ton events. Angela is crass and without any social breeding, but she thinks she is the "It" factor for the Ton. So she uses her sister Gabriella to social climb. Gabriella has all the characteristics of what the Ton expects in a young lady. Angela and Sir Seymore uses this to social climb and get invites to Ton functions. She cares nothing about her sister. The relationship between sisters is never resolved. Maybe there will be another book to explore all the unresolved relationships in the story. I wouldn't mine a little more on how Dex and Brie get on. Or maybe Lord Garvey and Lady Elizabeth. A wedding, or children maybe for either couple.The story need More!! I gave the book 3 stars because as individuals I like each character. Dex's and his sister Lady Elizabeth I really enjoyed. Brie was a sensible young lady even though she was a middle class merchants daughter. Which I didn't understand either. The upper echelon of the Ton Dukes to Earls barely recognized anyone below that rank and Sirs were the lowest on the totem pole. But I like Brie. The ebook was only 99cents so no great lost.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Delia Binder

    Okay If a Bit Anachronistic and Slow As somebody who came to Regency romances from the work of Georgette Heyer, it's tempting to think that writing one is easy: Take one initially cool but secretly passionate nobleman, a smart innocent young lady of good breeding, add a bunch of usually humorous complications during her London Season, blend in dialogue and scenery from Jane Austen, bake until golden brown and delicious! Unfortunately, as too many authors attempting to follow in Heyer's footsteps have p Okay If a Bit Anachronistic and Slow As somebody who came to Regency romances from the work of Georgette Heyer, it's tempting to think that writing one is easy: Take one initially cool but secretly passionate nobleman, a smart innocent young lady of good breeding, add a bunch of usually humorous complications during her London Season, blend in dialogue and scenery from Jane Austen, bake until golden brown and delicious! Unfortunately, as too many authors attempting to follow in Heyer's footsteps have proven, there's an art and artistry to writing a good regency that few can match, a blend of assiduous research of the period, and a feel for the attitudes and mores of the time, that seem to escape even good historical writers. Brenda Hiatt comes a lot closer than most, and largely doesn't embarrass herself, but there is a certain ingredient missing the keeps her work from reaching the lofty heights of VENETIA, THE GRAND SOPHY, or even ARABELLA which this novel most closely resembles. There's also, as my title for this review points out, the anachronisms. Not so much in things like clothing or style, but choices for men and women of the minor aristocracy which these stories are about. Gabriella, like her father before her and her young brother, are veterinarians, and her father had promised Brie (Gabriella's nickname) she would become his partner once she came of age - Wait? WHAT?!?!? Let's unpack that bit of intelligence, given to us in Plot-Point Conversation in Chapter One: - Gabriel Gordon, Gabriella's father, the younger son of a Viscount and thus a Right Honorable (who would inherit if his older brother died without issue), works as a veterinarian - in Regency England, at a time when human doctors were largely considered skilled tradesmen on the order of a silversmith (anathema to any member of the gentry or nobility - the term "shop-stained" comes to mind), let alone the "animal midwifery" of a veterinary practice. - Mr. Gordon (he wouldn't be considered "Dr. Gordon" back then unless he was a Physician who worked on humans) offered to take his younger daughter on as partner in his veterinary practice - his daughter , who by the conventions of the time was usually expected to marry well enough to improve the family's fortunes. If the family was well-educated but not wealthy enough to afford a good dowry, then the daughter might alternately take employment in a "suitable profession for a Lady of Quality" - Tutor, Governess, or Lady's Companion, not working with animals like a common tradesman! Note the "man" as the end of that word - few women of any class in this time period, or any until very recently, worked a trade. Some women of the trade or merchant class might have worked alongside their father or husband at his trade and done well enough to de facto run the business, but nobody in that time period would have ever trusted a woman who openly ran it on her own. She would have had to use her father, husband, brother or son as the business's "official" male face. This happened rather a lot until the last half the 20th Century - my best friend's mother caused quite a scandal in the early 1960s when she stepped away from her father's importing business to open her own interior decorating one. Our heroine has a beautiful, spoiled, self-centered sister, Angela, who married a nobleman and generously offered to give Brie her long-overdue London Season - which she doesn't want anyway, wanting to live in Gloucestershire among the animals and world of elements. Nonetheless, at her mother's insistence, she agrees to go to London, sure she'll never find a husband, and will be able to return home where she feels safe and comfortable. Stopping at an inn on the road to London, she spies an abused horse which is the property of the Duke of Ravenham, finds him preparing for a seduction, and tears into him about his treatment of animals! What she doesn't know (though we find out almost immediately) is the Duke purchased the horse from a tinker he caught abusing it, since he's a much an animal-lover as she is - of course, since she's dressed casually he assumes she is just a serving-wench with no understanding of the proper way to treat her betters, rather than A Woman of Quality and Breeding! Yes, the Eyerolls Will Come Thick & Fast... Once arriving in London, Brie embarrasses her status-conscious sister with talk of working for her late Father's veterinary practice Maybe I, or the Author, Exaggerate That 'Woman of Quality & Breeding' Part and her gowns are hopelessly out-of-fashion. But that's okay, because her Brother-in-Law, Lord Platt, is a drunk and a gambler and Angela (a flirt with a long string of admirers!) suspects cheating on her, to boot! Anywho… There's a bet Ravenham loses which results in his having to introduce Gabriella into the Ton (London Polite Society), which is how they end up getting thrown together; there's the reveal where she discovers the Warm Animal Lover Under the Stickler Aristocrat; there's a villainous reprobate to provide The Misunderstanding - It's been a while, but I once went into a screed in a review about how much I hate The Misunderstanding as a romance plot twist: You know, where the Heroine/Hero misunderstands something s/he saw or heard, assumes the worst of the Man/Woman s/he's Starting to Fall in Love With, so the Woman/Man, heartbroken, vanishes for a time until The Truth Is Uncovered, Apologies, Declarations of True Love, HEA. Tom Jones is Where I Encountered This Trope For the First Time, But Since It's Played For Laughs There It Obviously Predates the Novel By a Long Chalk! Because it's a Regency Romance, of course it all ends Happily Ever After, but the character and behavior of the older sister Angela, the betrayal of Brie's emotions by both her and Ravenham, and other nastier elements of the story artlessly added left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth - not enough to rate this as below average, but just enough to think when Heyer died, they broke the mold. _____ (My thanks to Alicia Rasley's monograph, "Doctors in the Regency", available at the Romance Writers of America's The Beau Monde website.)

  6. 5 out of 5

    HR-ML

    A re-read of this Regency era romance. I liked this better on previous read. This time 3.5 stars. Gabriella ("Brie") was dtr of a viscount's 2nd son employ- ed as a veterinary surgeon. She assisted her late dad in his work. Her mom & beautiful sis (wed to a baronet) scorned this as an unladylike avocation. Brie's younger bro sought to take his dad's place one day. Naïve Brie jumped to conclusions IE she assumed Dexter (later revealed as a duke) had starved & beaten his hor A re-read of this Regency era romance. I liked this better on previous read. This time 3.5 stars. Gabriella ("Brie") was dtr of a viscount's 2nd son employ- ed as a veterinary surgeon. She assisted her late dad in his work. Her mom & beautiful sis (wed to a baronet) scorned this as an unladylike avocation. Brie's younger bro sought to take his dad's place one day. Naïve Brie jumped to conclusions IE she assumed Dexter (later revealed as a duke) had starved & beaten his horse! Brie's sister Angela came across as tactless and immature. Flirty Ang + insincere baddie suited one anther and should have made for the Continent or elsewhere together? Brie & Dex were a couple from different worlds. This social and experience gap seemed insurmountable at times. Dex made some sly comments about her lack of dowry, etc. They both needed to listen more closely to the subtext of their convos. Brie & Ang: both too plain-spoken, but at least Brie softened her approaches & reactions over time. Something seemed missing this time around? Revised.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tonileg

    Historical English romance mostly set in London in the society of titled aristocracy with a poor country mouse finds love with a powerful duke like Cinderella with the magic godmother being in the form of a debt of honor. The Duke of Ravenham loses a bet to his best friend who has a twisted sense of humor, the Duke must give a favor to a rude drunken lowly Baron, who asks him to make his sister in law's entrance into society a success. Miss Gabriella Gordon aka Brie is not like her older si Historical English romance mostly set in London in the society of titled aristocracy with a poor country mouse finds love with a powerful duke like Cinderella with the magic godmother being in the form of a debt of honor. The Duke of Ravenham loses a bet to his best friend who has a twisted sense of humor, the Duke must give a favor to a rude drunken lowly Baron, who asks him to make his sister in law's entrance into society a success. Miss Gabriella Gordon aka Brie is not like her older sister, so she makes it easy for the Duke to make her into a popular debutante as well as bringing her a best friend in the form of his little sister who is also coming out. There is a light animal science theme put in the story. HEA guarenteed as well as a clean romance with only a kiss in the story. 288 pages and kindle freebie 2 stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rabid Readers Reviews

    If you’re a fan of Regency Romance chances are you’ve read this novel at least ten times, all of which were better done. Two people that don’t want to be together are thrust into each other’s company one by a debt owed and the other familial pressure. Though a common theme and formatting, the idea of the piece could have been executed at a higher quality level leading to a more readable work. I never cared about the characters or story. The way that the story is written in simplistic and expecte If you’re a fan of Regency Romance chances are you’ve read this novel at least ten times, all of which were better done. Two people that don’t want to be together are thrust into each other’s company one by a debt owed and the other familial pressure. Though a common theme and formatting, the idea of the piece could have been executed at a higher quality level leading to a more readable work. I never cared about the characters or story. The way that the story is written in simplistic and expected and where interest could have been fostered, the plot twists are predictable and contrived.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Marie

    This was a free book, so I can't complain really, but oh my the head hopping...and the story just felt so underdeveloped. There was a lack of flow, characters and story lines not fleshed out, and a general "rushed" end feeling. A lot more editing and some story repotting could have made this a much better book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy

    It was pretty cute but it had the whole mistress thing going on and that bugs me. The hero does "reform" quickly when he meets the heroine and the married sister stops flirting with other men by the end of the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    OhWell

    Cute and clean, but in the end the MCs felt more like good friends than anything else. No real spark there.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Sweet historical romance that makes me want to start reading this genre again

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marti

    A wonderful clean romance with a predictable ending. There was no stupidity or contrived fighting, just a smooth plot with reasonable ups and downs, a lovely heroine and, of course, an almost perfect Duke! I enjoyed every moment.

  14. 5 out of 5

    BookMaven

    Fair Read The Duke of Ravenham has lost a wager. His penalty is assuring the successful coming out of an acquaintance's sister-in-law, Miss Gabriella Gordon. Gabriella does not want a coming out. Her mother and sister insist, however. Gabriella would prefer staying in the country attending her father's veterinary practice. The Duke does not want to assist her either, but his debt of honor must be paid. It would seem that these two people are worlds apart, but, maybe not. Hiatt's w Fair Read The Duke of Ravenham has lost a wager. His penalty is assuring the successful coming out of an acquaintance's sister-in-law, Miss Gabriella Gordon. Gabriella does not want a coming out. Her mother and sister insist, however. Gabriella would prefer staying in the country attending her father's veterinary practice. The Duke does not want to assist her either, but his debt of honor must be paid. It would seem that these two people are worlds apart, but, maybe not. Hiatt's writing style is very simple and straightforward. The story is formulaic. It reads more like a teen novel, and would be appropriate for that age group. It is an easy, quick read, with a likeable H and h, but there is little emotional depth. The couple seems to be mildly in like. The emotion of love is given lip service, but no real evidence is presented. And romance? None. The couple are "proper" in all interactions, and passion is nonexistent. I do not mind a lack of physical passion, but a lack of emotional passion seems too sterile, and does not ring true. This book is not a bad read. It is not a great one either. While reading this book, I could not help but think that a better writer could have made this plot line zing. This writer, however, only let it rise to mediocrity.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Swafford

    Gabriella has no interest in going to London for the Season, however her mother convinces her to make the best of things. Off she goes, and romance ensues. As a lover of Georgette Heyer and the Regency time period, I love it when I discover someone else who writes a 'classic, traditional story like this. The characters are lovely, and the writing is done very well. There were a few missing letters and punctuation, but over all, extremely well done. If you love a Gabriella has no interest in going to London for the Season, however her mother convinces her to make the best of things. Off she goes, and romance ensues. As a lover of Georgette Heyer and the Regency time period, I love it when I discover someone else who writes a 'classic, traditional story like this. The characters are lovely, and the writing is done very well. There were a few missing letters and punctuation, but over all, extremely well done. If you love a clean, Regency romance, you won't go wrong with this one!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Just Meh... Nothing much happens in roughly 300 pages of stock characters, typical plotting, inconsequential complications finished with a 'you see it from a mile away' HEA. Bottom line: this is the author's first novel and it shows. My advice: pick up one of her later novels. They are somewhat better.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Raymond

    This story was cheesy, but clean. Not realistic, has a simple plot that is over done, not much to the characters. The love triangle was not even close to love or compelling. The story has all the right elements, it didn't have much heart or feeling.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Cute, predictable, and clean regency romance. I liked the characters, and the authors writing style.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Boyko Ovcharov

    Sweet! Entertaining, lovable and sweet. It reminds me of Jane Austen in a way.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Absolutely enjoyed this story. Ms. Gordon, our reluctant heroine, is a real blast.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Salter

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a different spin on how a regency couple meets and falls in love. I'm definitely going to be reading the next books in this series!

  22. 5 out of 5

    H.B. Moore

    Great story, clean regency romance, some fun twists and turns.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pauline Ross

    This was a disappointment. The premise is fun, if not wildly original (it’s basically the plot of Georgette Heyer’s Arabella, with a few minor variations), but the execution is not all it might be. The characters have some charm, but the writing lacks lustre, with dialogue that feels too modern and a number of historical inaccuracies. Let’s deal with the plot first. Gabriella (shortened infelicitously to Brie) is an impoverished younger daughter of a veterinary surgeon, about to be la This was a disappointment. The premise is fun, if not wildly original (it’s basically the plot of Georgette Heyer’s Arabella, with a few minor variations), but the execution is not all it might be. The characters have some charm, but the writing lacks lustre, with dialogue that feels too modern and a number of historical inaccuracies. Let’s deal with the plot first. Gabriella (shortened infelicitously to Brie) is an impoverished younger daughter of a veterinary surgeon, about to be launched into society by her social-climbing and catty older sister Angela. At an inn en route, she sees a maltreated horse and gives the owner a piece of her mind. He, having been interrupted in mid-seduction, isn’t best pleased. But back in London, he’s lost a wager, and finds that his penance is to bring out country-mouse Gabriella (sorry, I refuse to call her Brie; that’s a cheese, not a person). Needless to say, he’s a duke (aren’t they all?). So far, so good. Of course, anyone who’s read a few Regencies could plot out the rest of the book - the reluctant early meetings, the growing attraction, the rival suitor who turns out to be a cad, the realisation of True Love just when All Seems Lost, and naturally, the Misunderstanding. Heaven preserve me from misunderstandings. But none of this is a problem, because with a light hand, some lively dialogue and some amusing side characters, this could be a delightful piece of froth. I actually believe that the author’s capable of that, for the bare bones were there, but it just fell a bit flat for me and was too solemn to be properly entertaining. The biggest problem was the number of historical inaccuracies. The sister must be the world’s worst chaperon, for she allows Gabriella to gad about on her own with her suitors and to wander about unattended at balls and the like. The duke even takes her to Almack’s with only his younger, unmarried sister with them, which leaves both of them unchaperoned. And then he waltzes with her without the explicit permission of one of the patronesses (he says he’s asked, as if that would cut any ice!). And then he generously gives permission for Gabriella’s suitors to call on her the next day, as if he had any right! I could go on, because there were a lot of these niggly little things that don’t matter much to most people, but knocked me out of immersion right away. But hey, I’m nit-picky about this stuff. And I don’t think she’d call him by his first name, even when he asked her to. She might show her intimacy by calling him Ravenham instead of your grace, but not Dexter (another shockingly unRegency name). On the plus side, the romance, once it gets going, is rather charming, I liked the two main characters and the editing is up to scratch, and it’s a pleasant, undemanding read. I’m sure it would work fine for anyone who’s less pedantic than me about details. I understand this was the author’s first foray into the genre, and there’s enough promise in this to make me want to try a later one. Even so, there were enough niggles to keep it to three stars for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Montgomery

    I would give this book a 3.6 or 3.7. A 3 is too low, and a 4 is too high. Ms. Hiatt does her best to create characters similar to Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." Lord Barry Garvey is Mr. Bingley. Dexter Patton, Duke of Ravenham is Fitzwilliam Darcy. Miss Gabriella Gordon is Elizabeth Bennet. Lady Elizabeth Patton is a nice mix of Jane Bennet and Georgiana Darcy. Lady Angela Platt is a mix of Lydia Bennet and Caroline Bingley. Sir Frederick More is George Wickham. The author even has a I would give this book a 3.6 or 3.7. A 3 is too low, and a 4 is too high. Ms. Hiatt does her best to create characters similar to Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." Lord Barry Garvey is Mr. Bingley. Dexter Patton, Duke of Ravenham is Fitzwilliam Darcy. Miss Gabriella Gordon is Elizabeth Bennet. Lady Elizabeth Patton is a nice mix of Jane Bennet and Georgiana Darcy. Lady Angela Platt is a mix of Lydia Bennet and Caroline Bingley. Sir Frederick More is George Wickham. The author even has a minor character named "Mr. Bennet" and another named Sir Timothy "Gardiner." As I enjoyed Fitzwilliam Darcy in the original, I took a liking to Dexter Patton because he was above all else, a man of honor. He made his quick judgements, but he was willing to learn from others, and he loved and protected those for whom he cares. Gabriella is not as well crafted as was Elizabeth Bennet. She is perhaps more naive than was the original character. Because the story line is similar to Austen's tale, it struggles at times. For example, Sir Seymour's sudden jealousy of Angela's flirtations with Sir Frederick felt forced. It through me off in Chapter 13, when Frederick's character was suddenly spoken of as a "knight," rather than a "baronet." Certainly, it was possible for a man with a knighthood to have great sway in society, but a knighthood is customarily presented in service to the Crown, and it is not inherited, as would be a baronetcy. If Sir Frederick was such a lowlife, it would seem out of place for him to receive a knighthood, IMHO. The author uses multiple points of view to tell the story. Certainly, the tale could have the ideas and wishes and actions of Dexter and Gabriella, but there are also passages from the points of view of Lady Platt (the sister Angela), Mrs. Gordon (Gabriella's mother), Sir Frederick, and Lord Garvey (Dexter's friend). Switching POVs is distracting for me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nessa

    CLEAN ROMANCE. BUT SADLY DISAPPOINTING. THIS STORY WAS ABSOLUTELY BORING IN TERMS OF DRAMA AND ROMANCE. THERE WAS BARELY ANY INTERACTION BETWEEN THE H/h SO I DON'T KNOW HOW THEY CAN EVEN FALL IN LOVE. OUR HERO is a powerful Duke who runs in the higher echelon of society. Owing someone from a wager of sorts, he's inclined to help launch our heroine for her first Season. The plot was promising but the lack of interaction and emotional development between the Duke and our hero CLEAN ROMANCE. BUT SADLY DISAPPOINTING. THIS STORY WAS ABSOLUTELY BORING IN TERMS OF DRAMA AND ROMANCE. THERE WAS BARELY ANY INTERACTION BETWEEN THE H/h SO I DON'T KNOW HOW THEY CAN EVEN FALL IN LOVE. OUR HERO is a powerful Duke who runs in the higher echelon of society. Owing someone from a wager of sorts, he's inclined to help launch our heroine for her first Season. The plot was promising but the lack of interaction and emotional development between the Duke and our heroine was terribly off-putting. I barely sensed any affection from the Duke APART from what the author TELLS us he feel. I was hopeful for SOMETHING to happen but it was all a monotonous drone of politeness and the lack of sensual kisses just....NO....NOPE this wasn't interesting at all. OUR HEROINE is a delightful character with her own set of backbone for a woman of her time. I liked her despite the failure of this story. She's sweet, kind to animals and speaks her own mind. Having been close to her dear, deceased Father, Brie is left in the clutches of her mother and insists that she takes up her Socialite sister's offer to partake the Season. Reluctantly, she is whisked away to London and has to put up with her bitch of a sister's conniving ways to restore HER own reputation in society, manipulating and using Gabriella. OVERALL the entire story was just SAD. It could have been more....and the friction in the story was just quite silly. Because she spurns a villainous suitor, he in turn is out to exact petty revenge for her direct cut and spins lies about her. WTF have I just wasted two hours reading?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Tican

    Gabriella knows one end of most livestock in a farm that needed medical attention but she is definitely clueless when it comes to the more deadly and intricate machinations of members of the ton ~ like in her naivete in giving the cut direct to a vindictive rake, well deserved as it might be. She is a delightful and sometimes exasperating girl. Note her first meeting with the Duke at an inn where he, was trying to convince a high priced courtesan to be her next protector. She, saw a badly mistre Gabriella knows one end of most livestock in a farm that needed medical attention but she is definitely clueless when it comes to the more deadly and intricate machinations of members of the ton ~ like in her naivete in giving the cut direct to a vindictive rake, well deserved as it might be. She is a delightful and sometimes exasperating girl. Note her first meeting with the Duke at an inn where he, was trying to convince a high priced courtesan to be her next protector. She, saw a badly mistreated horse and immediately assumes (after questioning the groom of the beast's ownership) that the Duke was responsible. Marching with righteous indignation, she knocks into His Grace's room interrupting his seduction attempts. Naturally, as night follows day, fireworks explode. Gabriella's adventures into the polite and hypocritical world of the ton is hilarious and sometimes one becomes annoyed with her ignorance about people's motives and her own ~ but to all these, I think the author has created such human and relatable characters that the reader can't help but empathize with them and give a nod of understanding.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenika Ioffreda

    Free download from Amazon Kindle. It started as a potential 4 star book but slowly it became flatter and flatter: the introduction of the two characters was cute and I really liked how it wasn't insta-love between them... there were elements that caught my interest straightaway: the cool heroine with a huge love for animals and her dedication to her work as a vet, the nice world building, her discovery of London, a huge city she has never seen before, a dashing (even if misunderstood) gentleman, Free download from Amazon Kindle. It started as a potential 4 star book but slowly it became flatter and flatter: the introduction of the two characters was cute and I really liked how it wasn't insta-love between them... there were elements that caught my interest straightaway: the cool heroine with a huge love for animals and her dedication to her work as a vet, the nice world building, her discovery of London, a huge city she has never seen before, a dashing (even if misunderstood) gentleman, etc... The story held good promise... but after a few more uncounters sadly their romance felt very rushed and I lost interest. A few elements in the plots made me roll my eyes: (the hero says he "loves" the heroine but believes straightaway the false rumors about her... yup, I see you trust her very much. Not. Luckily this lasts only two days but still it was a quite asinine behaviour and together with other elements put me out of the story.) The writing style was nice, it could have been a great story if properly developed. Still, I managed to read the book until the end and all in all it was a pleasant read. 2.5/5 stars

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rosina

    Derivative, unoriginal, with the standard unbelievable misapprehensions*, and unneccesary moustache twirling (which looked as if it was going to move on to unbelievable melodrama as a plot ploy to bring in the oh so slowly developed happy ending). And not particularly well-written, or in tune with its times. *G thinks D has illtreated a horse: she has no diffiulty in associating with him, and never asks after the horse. Phoebe from GH's Sylvester (one of Ms Hiatt's inspirations) would Derivative, unoriginal, with the standard unbelievable misapprehensions*, and unneccesary moustache twirling (which looked as if it was going to move on to unbelievable melodrama as a plot ploy to bring in the oh so slowly developed happy ending). And not particularly well-written, or in tune with its times. *G thinks D has illtreated a horse: she has no diffiulty in associating with him, and never asks after the horse. Phoebe from GH's Sylvester (one of Ms Hiatt's inspirations) would have demanded updates! Sir F kicks a kitten, and G gives him the cut direct. The characters were either squeeky clean or mean and no better than they ought to be. None of them appeared to be an interesting human mix of good and bad. Gabriella is of course not perfect: her love of and concern for dumb beasts are her greatest fault. Good people appreciate her: bad people dislike her. I couldn't stick her beyond the kitten incident. Ullyses the similarly abused dog in GH's Arabella has more character that Gabriella!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    After her father's death, his veterinary practice is sold and his daughter, Miss Gabriella "Brie" Gordon, no longer has the excuse of helping out to keep her from a Season in London. With no dowry and no particularly impressive family background, Brie probably has little chance of making a good match...except that the Duke of Ravenham loses a wager and promises her brother-in-law to make her a social success. While advising her on clothes and which invitations to accept, the Duke falls in love w After her father's death, his veterinary practice is sold and his daughter, Miss Gabriella "Brie" Gordon, no longer has the excuse of helping out to keep her from a Season in London. With no dowry and no particularly impressive family background, Brie probably has little chance of making a good match...except that the Duke of Ravenham loses a wager and promises her brother-in-law to make her a social success. While advising her on clothes and which invitations to accept, the Duke falls in love with Brie, and she him. But one of Brie's jilted suitors tries to ruin Brie's reputation, leading Brie to flee London before Ravenham can make her an offer of marriage. Fun! It felt a little like a less-serious version of Evelina, in that Brie has innate good taste and manners, but is put into bad situations or exposed to ungentleman-like conduct thanks to her relatives' boorish social climbing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gareth Ellzey

    Georgette Heyer would be proud This lovely Regency romance conveys a delightful tale of a disdainful Duke and an animal-loving country Miss. The flow of the story is strongly reminiscent of the writing of the great Georgette Heyer. Dexter (a thoroughly ducal name) Duke of Ravenham is rather full of his own consequence, but is happily revealed as more human than the façade he presents to the Ton. Brie, The eponymous Gabriella, is both naive and outspoken, an ugly duckling that turns into a swa Georgette Heyer would be proud This lovely Regency romance conveys a delightful tale of a disdainful Duke and an animal-loving country Miss. The flow of the story is strongly reminiscent of the writing of the great Georgette Heyer. Dexter (a thoroughly ducal name) Duke of Ravenham is rather full of his own consequence, but is happily revealed as more human than the façade he presents to the Ton. Brie, The eponymous Gabriella, is both naive and outspoken, an ugly duckling that turns into a swan, thanks to her less than charming sister. I wonder what happened to Velvet, the kitten. Never mind. It’s a very pretty story, spiced appropriately by a villain who deliberately tries to destroy the damsel. The charm is in the deft handling of the characters and the fluid graceful writing. Read it for yourself.

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