Review: The Gentleman and the Rogue by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon

When war veteran Sir Alan Watleigh goes searching for sex, he never imagines the street rat he brings home for one last bit of pleasure in his darkest hour will be the man who hauls him back from the edge of the grave.

A night of meaningless sex turns into an offer of permanent employment. As Sir Alan Watleigh’s valet, Jem offers much more than polished boots and starched cravats. He makes Sir Alan Watleigh smile and warms his bed. Just as the men are adjusting to their new living arrangement, news about a former soldier under his command sends Sir Alan Watleigh and Jem on the road to save a child in danger.

The journey brings them closer together as they travel from lust toward love. But is Sir Alan Watleigh’s love strong enough to risk society discovering the truth about him?

Review by Leslie H. Nicoll

This is the second historical I have read from these authors (the first was Seducing Stephen) and I have to say, on the basis of these two books, Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon are quickly earning a space on my “auto-buy authors” list. Brava, ladies!

Similar to Seducing Stephen, the core of The Gentleman and the Rogue is about a slightly older man who is jaded and discontent; he meets a younger man who re-introduces him to joy and happiness in life. In The Rogue and the Gentleman, the older man is Sir Alan Watleigh, formerly Captain Watleigh, who has returned from the Iberian War, injured and ill and also family-less. The younger man is Jem, a prostitute that he picks up, intending on one night of sexual release before he commits suicide. Jem very quickly gets under Alan’s skin, however, and over the course of the story becomes an essential part of Alan’s life.

Jem is a terrific character. He’s funny and kind and full of love. It’s not hard to see why Alan falls for him. Alan is taciturn and reserved. He acts like the military man that he was and Jem makes it his mission to get Alan to smile—at least once in a while.

Jem has wonderful interior and exterior dialog. In his mind, he wonders about Alan and makes up all sorts of funny nicknames for him—Lord Bumbuggerer is my favorite. He also shows his insecurities and his fears, wondering if, at any minute, Alan will suddenly change his mind about the life he is living and return Jem to the streets of London from whence he came. Exteriorly, he tells Alan stories, shares his thoughts and opinions and eventually, his love. Alan, for his part, slowly comes to trust and accept Jem, ultimately realizing how important he is in his life.

The story has two very distinct parts. The first half concerns the developing relationship between Alan and Jem. In the latter part, the situation referenced in the synopsis, “news about a former soldier under his command sends Sir Alan Watleigh and Jem on the road to save a child in danger…” comes into play. This structure was interesting. In the first part of the story, the conflict came from the interactions between Alan and Jem as they established their bond as lovers and the boundaries that must exist, given the time and place in which they were living (Regency England in 1813). But, in the second half, the conflict came from their quest to save the child in danger and not from some sort of misunderstanding or blow-up between them. I appreciated this as I find “the big misunderstanding” trope to be overused. On the other hand, there was a distinct change of tone in the book—much less sex in the second half and much more adventure and derring-do, with Jem in particular putting his life at risk to save the young girl, Annie. This two-part structure didn’t particularly bother me, but some readers might find that it makes the book feel a little choppy. I note it here as a caveat but not a criticism.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story of two men from very different walks of life who meet, develop an attraction, fall in love, and share an adventure that further cements their relationship. The writing was crisp and solid and the fast moving story kept me completely absorbed from the very first page. Highly recommended.

Buy at the Loose Id website

7 Responses

  1. I read this some time ago; I have no recollection of how I came across it, but I certainly enjoyed it. Nevertheless I was slightly surprised to find it reviewed in the hallowed pages of SpeakItsName – I remember it as being somewhat contrived. The shift in focus between the romance of the first half and the adventure of the second was just one example of that; the interplay between the two leads was entertaining but for me it didn’t ring true.
    Despite this I think I can add my recommendation to the review above – just don’t expect it to be beautifully crafted to Georgette Heyer standards!

  2. Hi Bruin–thanks for your comment. Hallowed pages, huh? LOL. I think the rule is that if it is historical and gay, it has the potential to be reviewed here at Speak Its Name. I have certainly reviewed a few duds. The Rogue and the Gentleman–maybe it’s not “great lit-tra-ture” but it was an entertaining story that kept me absorbed. History-wise, it seemed to be true to the period–lots of cravats and breeches that came off on a regular basis. ;-) I enjoyed it.

    L

  3. Is this in print form? I can’t seem to find it and I prefer to read a book in my hands, so to speak.

    • Checking at the Loose Id website, right now it appears to be available only as an ebook. I don’t know if they have a print version planned…maybe if ebook sales are good enough they’ll bring one out?

      L

  4. Thanks so much for the great review. Glad you liked it.
    Loose Id does have some books in print and this one may be one of them eventually. They decide based on sales.

  5. Excellent, gay regencies !!!

    Yay, yay, yay.

    Off to get them.

  6. Just finished the book this evening—and really enjoyed it! But I have one question—were lucifers actually invented back in 1813? I thought those came along a little later…

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