Book Review: Gentleman of Christmas Past by Jennifer Monroe

Publisher: WOLF Publishing
Format: ebook
Release Date: October 18th 2022
Genre: Romance – Regency – Christmas
Goodreads
Part of Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Regency AnthologyOnce Upon an Aggravatingly Heroic Kiss Review / A Diamond for Christmas Review / The Governess Gamble Review / The Countess’ Christmas Groom Review / A Very Daring Christmas Review

Agnes Fitzimmons never imagined she would socialize with the upper class, but after being taken in by Mr. Porter, she has spent the last four years learning how to be part of their world. Mr. Phillip Rutley seeks out investors, after a series of misfortunes brings him close to losing his fortune. And without financial security, he couldn’t possibly marry the woman he’s in love with.

This one was okay. It was a fairly dry story, and it felt like the characters didn’t really spend that much time together. This was the main reason the story felt lacklustre – it introduces some great concepts and ideas, but none of which there’s room to explore in a novella. We get a lot of talk of investors and Agnes shown as being ‘different’ from the ladies of the ton, but we just get brief glimpses of the main couple together here and there, without it feeling like enough to sustain the story. I found my interest rising and falling a bit too quickly, as complications are solved swiftly.

Monroe is a talented writer, but I think likely her longer works are going to be stronger. It seemed like there were things to be said within the story but not the room to say them, meaning no elements quite got the attention they deserved. It started off strong, as Agnes intercepts her guardian’s letters to Mr. Rutley, but flattened around the middle. This one also has the misfortune of being placed near the end, following a run of quite good novellas – maybe one that would have been better near the beginning or middle of the anthology.

Still, there’s nothing here that indicates I wouldn’t enjoy more of Monroe’s work, and so far I am definitely interested in checking out more from every author in the anthology.

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