Within twenty-four hours, the mysterious Connor Brice proposes and though she’s startled to discover that she’d rather marry a near-stranger than Sir Robert, Adelaide can’t risk her family’s future. Then Connor kisses her – in front of gossipy society members – and Adelaide no longer has any choice but to marry. But which man? Adelaide finds herself in the middle of a tug-of-war between Connor and Sir Robert, and she discovers that each man has secrets…secrets that involve their determination to ruin one another. To her dismay, Adelaide falls for Connor anyway. Yet how will she know if she will ever be more to Connor than a pawn in his quest for revenge against Sir Robert?
Deception and desire are the name of the game in AN UNEXPECTED GENTLEMAN. Author Alissa Johnson takes some historical romance tropes and gives them new life, delivering a satisfying romance. Connor is a man who’s had his life made hell by Sir Robert over and over again, so it’s easy to sympathize with his determination to get revenge. Though he may or may not have used Adelaide to do so – I’ll leave that for the reader to find out – Connor isn’t careless when it comes to Adelaide. He does have feelings for her and the way Ms. Johnson shows his adoration for her ended up charming me. Adelaide, for her part, is sensible and puts her family first, both qualities I respect in a heroine. That doesn’t mean she’s perfect, and it doesn’t mean she can’t be swept away by passion; after all, her initial meeting with Connor proves otherwise. I enjoyed watching these two fall for one another.
AN UNEXPECTED GENTLMEAN does start off as a bit of a slow read, but happily, it picks up. There aren’t any grand surprises, but the story works without them. I will say that I did miss the sparkle of Ms. Johnson’s AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT and TEMPTING FATE, the only other books by Ms. Johnson that I’ve read. AN UNEXPECTED GENTLEMAN didn’t have the energy of those books, which was somewhat of a pity. Still, a book that is simply a good romance is sometimes enough, and that’s just what AN UNEXPECTED GENTLEMAN was for me.