Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quick Looks: The Naked Gentleman

The Naked Gentleman
By Sally MacKenzie

Historical Romance

The Premise:
Miss Margaret Peterson would like a husband. Not that she has any romantic notions; no, she just wants a household of her own and the opportunity to pursue her horticultural interests. Any gentleman of appropriate means will do. Well, perhaps not just any gentleman, but one she finds reasonably appealing and who expects nothing more than a well bred wife who will produce an heir and then be happy to let him do as he wishes as long as she may do the same. To this end, she has spent the better part of a London season sneaking off into the gardens of whatever stately home is the scene of the evening’s social activity with potential husbands. Her only aim is a bit of conversation, a look at the gardens, and a kiss or two to see if the gentleman will suit. It never occurs to her that her reputation may be taking a bit of a beating, and that not all gentlemen are, well, gentlemen. Unfortunately, one evening she ventures into the shrubbery with a viscount who is interested in more than a chaste kiss; fortunately, she is rescued by Mr. John Parker-Roth, who is not only a gentleman, but an avid horticulturist himself. Unfortunately, once Margaret’s attacker is vanquished, she and John are discovered together with her dress in tatters and his arms around her, which results in both families decreeing that the two must marry. Fortunately, they are attracted to one another, and do share an interest in plants. Unfortunately, Margaret doesn’t want John to marry her just because he has to, and refuses to consider it. And so it goes, with many misunderstandings, several passionate kisses amidst the ton’s topiary, some completely unlikely couples rendezvousing in various gardens, and general mayhem abounding, until Margaret and John manage to clear the air and live happily ever after.

What I Liked: This is my favorite kind of madcap romantic comedy, well executed and clever. There were plenty of eccentric characters and entertaining subplots, and the hero and heroine were quite likeable.

What I Didn’t Like: Can’t find anything to complain about.

Overall: Quick, funny, and light. Perfect for a rainy weekend or a little bedside reading. I’ll be purchasing more of MacKenzie’s Naked series for the library.

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