A Gentlemen’s Surrender: Mariel Grey
Sometimes we make decisions of the heart and at any times we make them according to proper protocol. What happens when Lady Monique meets Mr. James Stanton? It is almost like a fairytale where the beautiful princess meets the charming prince and instantly falls in love. But, in this case it could be disastrous as Mr. Stanton wants nothing better than to marry Lady Monique but not for the reasons you might think.
James Stanton’s father and Lady Monique’s mother was an item until she decided to marry someone else. Not taking a chance of not having a proper heir, his father married another woman who loved him dearly. But, unfortunately the match was not what you would call made in heaven and Mr. Stanton and The Duchess had a lurid affair leaving James alone with his father when his mother passed from a broken heart. Revenge and retribution are his goals to teach not only the Duchess a fatal lesson but to take down Lady Monique as well. Since her primary goal is to marry someone with status and a title although when they met and keep meeting it seems that the chemistry is stronger than an experiment in a chemist’s lab. The author’s research into the time period is extensive as she includes, customs, protocols, traditions and an interesting amount of information about each Season when women are actually placed on what is called The Marriage Mart or Market so that men can choose and they can also decide on who would be the best match. Decisions are made at the galas and those not chosen might find themselves as Lady Monique fears out to pasture like a cow that can no longer give any milk.
There is an underlying plot here when we learn more about her brother the Duke, his failed business enterprises and how he managed to squander their entire fortune by investing in the wrong enterprises. So, should Lady Monique go after the repulsive Lord Manning? Should he admit she has fallen for James Stanton? With the aid of her friend Lady Lucy and her husband they manage to attend many galas, the theater as it was back then, masquerade parties and dinners. With her mother insisting that she marry someone with a title why did her brother approve of Stanton? What happens when someone blurts out information about her mother and his father at the same moment she is about to announce and accept his marriage proposal? What will she do when she learns the truth behind his scheme and the fact that he has bought up all of her family’s debts and much more?
Things start heating up as Lady Monique announces that she and Stanton are to be married and her mother voices her objections and states why she married her father and not Lord Lawrence. Not realizing that she meant Stanton’s father the wedding plans proceed but when she goes to purchase materials, trimmings and have the gowns made a harsh realization about her family’s finances comes to light. What will she do when she learns the truth behind his motives? Just how far will he go to embarrass and take her down along with the Duchess? What about the Duke?
The proper bans must be filed so that she can marry him whenever she wants but the happiness is not in the air and a black cloud just might cover it all when she learns the truth. Her brother approves of him but her mother does not. Does it really matter if he has not title? He has the one thing she needs: Money! No dowry that else will accept her? Why won’t anyone look at her at these galas? Why does she make a list of unacceptable suitors and decide she might have to choose one?
Stanton is redoing his home and the announcement is made at the Masquerade Ball in his home. Love vs. Revenge! Stanton vs. Lady Monique: Which one wins? Will one lose? The banter between them is at times humorous and the rise and fall of their emotions lets readers know that although he seeks revenge against her, her mother and her brother he just might have a twinge of remorse but will he let them sway him from his quest?
I love the balls, the descriptions of the rooms, the gown and the customs but what I really love is the interplay among some of the characters and the friendship and loyalty Lady Lucy and her husband put forth for Lady Monique.
The author brings to light the status of women during this time period in the late 1800’s where they are required to marry men of their station or be shunned you might say in society. She also brings out that women were required to run their household, rely on their husbands for money and monetary advantages and none held jobs. I am not sure that I would want to live during this time period and not be allowed to work, earn my own way or be more independent. All of the women enjoy shopping, outings, parties, luncheons and meeting with their friends. Most of the time they are socializing and preparing for the next gala, which does sound like fun. But, status and class are everything and that raised the questions of whether status and money really make someone more suitable than someone of means and no status, which Lady Monique has to decide for herself.
Glenhurst approved her marriage to Stanton but her mother had a secret that would rock Lady Monique’s world, change what she thought of herself and possibly ruin her impending marriage. A communication from someone from her past and a harsh truth told as a deception comes to light and a betrayal comes front and center. But, someone is trying to undermine and undercut what Stanton is doing and has bought up some of the debts incurred by Glenhurst. But who and why? Who has been investigating her family? What happens when she reveals her secret to Stanton will surprise readers and Lady Monique too? Why did he take the news without a single shudder? Why didn’t he seem shocked or surprised? Was it worth revenge for his mother to keep this going? Was it worth hurting Monique? Why did he feel almost remorseful? Would that change it all?
When the Duchess confronts Stanton what she reveals will not only rock his world but others too. Author Mariel Grey serves up not one but several twists, turns, surprises and revelations in this romantic historical novel. Just who lied and who was telling the truth about things from the past? Who had an affair with the other one’s spouse? What was believed and told to someone was what that person wanted him/her to know?
A lie that destroyed young love many years before and the same lie might destroy it again. Forgiveness: Can Lady Monique see her way clear to understand the truth, why Stanton wanted revenge on her and her family and will they work it out or will he return to America?
Lies, Betrayals, Deceit, Love, Understanding, Hope, Truths and Forgiveness: Which one wins at the end? A Gentleman’s Surrender: Yes or No!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine