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A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant (some mild spoilers)
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desiderata



Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 226

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What makes me leery about even trying this book is how Will could get past those two things to be attracted to and fall in love with Lydia. Obviously feelings change, but my understanding of Chris' problem with the book was that the author didn't show why Will fell in love with this person -- it had to be in spite of Lydia's conduct toward him. I would really need to be convinced there was a reason for his feelings to change beyond the magic lightening bolt of love.
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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

desiderata wrote:
What makes me leery about even trying this book is how Will could get past those two things to be attracted to and fall in love with Lydia. Obviously feelings change, but my understanding of Chris' problem with the book was that the author didn't show why Will fell in love with this person -- it had to be in spite of Lydia's conduct toward him. I would really need to be convinced there was a reason for his feelings to change beyond the magic lightening bolt of love.


Well, that's exactly why I read romance. Why does someone love someone else, despite obstacles and difficulties? A good romance will make it work for me, and since I read so much of it, I like challenging situations and characters because they're not the same old same old.

But I have no particular interest in talking you into trying the book -- if you think it won't work for you, you would know better than I would. I was just trying to correct what I feel are misleading remarks.
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jaime



Joined: 23 Sep 2011
Posts: 516

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

desiderata wrote:
What makes me leery about even trying this book is how Will could get past those two things to be attracted to and fall in love with Lydia. Obviously feelings change, but my understanding of Chris' problem with the book was that the author didn't show why Will fell in love with this person -- it had to be in spite of Lydia's conduct toward him. I would really need to be convinced there was a reason for his feelings to change beyond the magic lightening bolt of love.


I can understand being influenced by a consensus of reader opinion from reading a book but letting yourself be swayed by the opinion of one reader means you are going to miss out on many good books.

For what it's worth Will doesn't know the heroine when he shows no jealousy towards her protector, once he starts caring for her things change.
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LFL



Joined: 05 May 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am in agreement with Willaful and Jamie. Will is turned on the first time he sees Lydia with her protector because they don't yet know each other well. He is already starting to feel jealous of the protector, but Lydia's obvious and assertive enjoyment of sex attracts him. I don't think that's so weird.

Once he falls for Lydia he is definitely not happy that she is still with her protector -- but to be fair to Lydia she was in this relationship before Will showed up, and she does not want to cheat on her protector with Will. In their ways, Will and Lydia are both honorable people which is why it's not until the protector transgresses against Lydia in a way both she and Will find unforgivable that Will and Lydia first sleep together. That is pretty far into the book, IIRC.

As to Erika's question -- yes, I think I would still like this book if the genders were reversed, though it is hard to reverse them completely because you could not give Will the same tragic history Lydia has.

SPOILERS IN WHITE (REVERSED PLOT)

But say Will had lost a lover, a child, parents and his only beloved sibling when he was young, and that tragedy led him to become a male prostitute, and say Lydia was a former female spy (because I can't imagine another military role for women in the Regency) suffering from survivor's guilt. And say that shortly after they met, she happened to see an encounter between Will and his client, and then Will fleeced her because she'd watched him and he didn't like it, to which she responded by asking him to teach her card tricks, while he was determined not to sleep with her -- yes, I would absolutely read that. Especially if written in Cecilia Grant's prose.


Mind you I know that plot would be an unconventional one (though not that much more than the actual, non-reversed plot of A Gentleman Undone), but unconventional plots and characters appeal to me.
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chris booklover



Joined: 12 Apr 2010
Posts: 315
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

willaful wrote:

I think the romantic attraction already existed -- he agreed to have sex with her, after all. The respect and admiration on top of that was what caused them to fall in love. And the pursuit happened after he was already in love with her, and while she was pregnant with his child. I don't find that unusual or hard to understand.


The fact that a man agrees to have sex with a reasonably attractive woman is not an especially compelling sign of romantic attraction. Male sexual desire can and does exist independently of any romantic feelings. Theo was very much the pursuer THROUGHOUT the relationship. He is the one who from the beginning was constantly pushing for greater intimacy and commitment, and he continued to do so even after being rejected on several occasions. My (unanswered) question is: why exactly did he fall in love with Martha in the first place? She was not the most conspicuously lovable character that he would have encountered in his life. You evidently found his attraction to be much more plausible than I did.

Quote:
The scene in which Will sees them having sex happens when he barely knows Lydia. It's not accurate to describe her as the woman he loves at that point. I don't specifically remember, but I'm pretty sure he experiences jealousy about her protector later, when he actually has feelings for her.


Since most people do not conduct their sex lives in public it is hardly surprising that Will does not see Lydia and her protector in flagrante later.

There are some readers who do not want the hero or heroine to have sex with anyone else at all once they have met each other. That has never been an issue for me. I would expect the H and h to be faithful to each other once they have decided to enter into a monogamous relationship, but not before (or after a breakup). Nevertheless, the relationships in A Gentleman Undone are unusual for two reasons. First, Lydia continues to have hot sex with her protector even after her relationship with Will begins to develop. SPOILER There is one passage where she has a hot makeout session (stopping just short of sex) with Will and then immediately goes home to have hot sex with her protector. You don't see that plotline in today's romance novels. Susan Johnson's early novels sometimes contained scenes in which the hero had sex with other women after becoming emotionally involved with the heroine, but a hero who acted like that today would be dismissed as a manwhore.

The other point is that Will actually declines an offer of sex with another woman at the house party, preferring to rely on the comforts of his hand. It's not clear why he should do so, since he is not in a committed relationship with Lydia at that stage. Will behaves, in short, like the heroes in menage erotica who desperately love the heroine and would not dream of having sex with anyone else, but have no problem whatsoever with sharing her with their brothers and/or best friends. In the real world, of course, such men are extremely difficult to find - which is why I described Will as a most unusual character. Smile

I don't expect that we will agree on the artistic merits of either novel. Clearly there are certain things that worked for you but did not work for me - mainly, I believe, in terms of what we find plausible. At the very least, however, I don't think that I misrepresented the plots.
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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chris booklover wrote:
willaful wrote:

Quote:
The scene in which Will sees them having sex happens when he barely knows Lydia. It's not accurate to describe her as the woman he loves at that point. I don't specifically remember, but I'm pretty sure he experiences jealousy about her protector later, when he actually has feelings for her.


Since most people do not conduct their sex lives in public it is hardly surprising that Will does not see Lydia and her protector in flagrante later.


I have no idea what your point is here. What does that have to do with what I wrote?
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erika



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LFL wrote:
I am in agreement with Willaful and Jamie. Will is turned on the first time he sees Lydia with her protector because they don't yet know each other well. He is already starting to feel jealous of the protector, but Lydia's obvious and assertive enjoyment of sex attracts him. I don't think that's so weird.

Once he falls for Lydia he is definitely not happy that she is still with her protector -- but to be fair to Lydia she was in this relationship before Will showed up, and she does not want to cheat on her protector with Will. In their ways, Will and Lydia are both honorable people which is why it's not until the protector transgresses against Lydia in a way both she and Will find unforgivable that Will and Lydia first sleep together. That is pretty far into the book, IIRC.

As to Erika's question -- yes, I think I would still like this book if the genders were reversed, though it is hard to reverse them completely because you could not give Will the same tragic history Lydia has.

SPOILERS IN WHITE (REVERSED PLOT)

But say Will had lost a lover, a child, parents and his only beloved sibling when he was young, and that tragedy led him to become a male prostitute, and say Lydia was a former female spy (because I can't imagine another military role for women in the Regency) suffering from survivor's guilt. And say that shortly after they met, she happened to see an encounter between Will and his client, and then Will fleeced her because she'd watched him and he didn't like it, to which she responded by asking him to teach her card tricks, while he was determined not to sleep with her -- yes, I would absolutely read that. Especially if written in Cecilia Grant's prose.


Mind you I know that plot would be an unconventional one (though not that much more than the actual, non-reversed plot of A Gentleman Undone), but unconventional plots and characters appeal to me.


Thank you for respnding. Grant must be a talented writer to make such a difficult plotline so compelling.
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desiderata



Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 226

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I can understand being influenced by a consensus of reader opinion from reading a book but letting yourself be swayed by the opinion of one reader means you are going to miss out on many good books.


I'm not. What I'm saying is that something another reader pointed out as inhibiting her enjoyment of a book is something that would bother me to the point I would regret spending time or money on the book. To me the issue is why a hero falls madly in love with a heroine who treats him poorly and is unavailable to him. For some readers "because he fell madly in love with her" is enough if they enjoy the book as a whole. It would bug me to no end. I'm glad someone who has the same outlook posted.
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LFL



Joined: 05 May 2007
Posts: 704

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You don't see that plotline in today's romance novels. Susan Johnson's early novels sometimes contained scenes in which the hero had sex with other women after becoming emotionally involved with the heroine, but a hero who acted like that today would be dismissed as a manwhore.


I think you do see it these days, albeit rarely, and it's usually the hero sleeping around. For example in Anne Stuart's Black Ice, Bastien has sex with other women after meeting Chloe, once in his capacity as a spy and one after he send Chloe to the US and thinks he'll never see her again.

I understand why many readers find it objectionable, but for me it all depends on the author's execution. Most authors probably could not pull it off for me, but Cecilia Grant did.
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LFL



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Thank you for respnding. Grant must be a talented writer to make such a difficult plotline so compelling.


You're welcome! Yes, a highly skilled and talented writer. I think she has an extraordinary voice.
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Last edited by LFL on Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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LFL



Joined: 05 May 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
To me the issue is why a hero falls madly in love with a heroine who treats him poorly and is unavailable to him. For some readers "because he fell madly in love with her" is enough if they enjoy the book as a whole. It would bug me to no end. I'm glad someone who has the same outlook posted.


Personally I couldn't disagree more that the heroine treats the hero poorly. I don't think she does at all. Her job is to sleep with another man and she has no other way to support herself. She is trying to win enough money at cards to be able to have some financial security. She fleeces the hero to punish him for his voyeurism, but she quickly agrees to teach him her math skills and gambling techniques when he asks her help. She behaves as honorably as she can toward both him and her protector, and it is hardly her fault that the loss of her child rendered her infertile.
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Last edited by LFL on Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JMM



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 508

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why don't more readers question it when heroines fall in love with heroes who treat them badly?


Quote:
Personally I couldn't disagree more that the heroine treats the hero poorly. I don't think she does at all. Her job is to sleep with another man and she has no other way to support herself. She is trying to win enough money at cards to be able to have some financial security. She fleeces the hero to punish him for his voyeurism, but she quickly agrees to teach him her math skills and gambling techniques when he asks her help. She behaves as honorably as she can toward both him and her protector, and it is hardly her fault that the loss of her child rendered her infertile.


Exactly. She wasn't out to destroy his life (unlike some heroes). She was working on simple survival.
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