Review: A Gentleman’s Wager by Madelynne Ellis

When Bella Rushdale finds herself fiercely attracted to handsome landowner Lucerne Marlinscar, she does not expect the rival for her affections to be another man. The handsome and decadent Marquis Pennerley, however, has desired Lucerne for years and when all three are brought together at the remote Lauwine Hall on the Yorkshire Moors, Pennerley intends to claim Lucerne. At the risk of scandal the contest leads to a passionate struggle between the highly sexed Bella and the debauched aristocrat. Ultimately it will be Lucerne who will choose the outcome, but his decision is bound to cause outrage and upset somebody’s plans.

Review by Erastes

“What’s this?” I can hear you shout. “That’s a M/F cover – what’s going on?”  Well, yes, it does have some het in it – quite a lot of het, to be honest, but this isn’t just another menage book. There is an established (if only if they did it once) homosexual relationship described and as such I think it deserves a place on the site.

This, let me say from the first, is an erotic novel. Whilst there is a plot running through it, (and it’s a much better plot than so many novels where sex scenes happen almost every other page) it’s an erotic novel – there’s sex from the first page just about, and sex almost to the last page. One could level accusations of anachronism for the “let’s stay in this big house and all have sex with each other a lot” but who’s to say that some people didn’t behave like this in private?

Yes, as expected, everyone wants Bella, and annoyingly, even the decadent, seemingly homosexual Pennerley is swept away by her “charms” (however well worn…!) but that’s to be expected in a Black Lace book – the heroine has to be irresistible.  But what I did like particularly about the book was the way Lucerne (however silly it is to be named after a bean) struggled with his feelings for Pennerley and those of Bella. At times he’s swept away by Pennerley’s seduction, and at other times he’s protective of Bella, and then jealous of her as Penerley starts to stalk (hur hur) her.

I was less impressed with Bella who – it seemed to me – would have not only slept with anyone who asked her (and she does, including the staff!) but would have gone off with any of them either. I was never really convinced that she loved Lucerne, and frankly I was cheering Pennerley on from the sidelines and hoped that he’d win Lucerne for himself.

It’s a hot and steamy one-handed read, which will appeal to people who like a lot of froth and a lot of sex – it will even appeal to die-hards who only read M/M.  Hell, I read it and enjoyed it, didn’t I? Can’t get more die-hard than that!

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Author’s Website

3 Responses

  1. Yes, as expected, everyone wants Bella, and annoyingly, even the decadent, seemingly homosexual Pennerley is swept away by her “charms”

    Does Edward Cullen know?

  2. *snort* Well he does want to eat her, but not in that way!!

  3. Actually, Lucerne is named after the place. *just saying*

    Thanks for the review.

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