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3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Start, Fades Away, 26 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: The Making of a Gentleman (Mass Market Paperback)
Left penniless after her father's death, and facing an intolerable future with a wastrel fiancé, Felicity Bennett applies as a governess to the Valère family, but her pupil is not quite the sweet little boy she expected. After twelve years rotting in a French prison, Armand, comte de Valère cannot speak. Neither can he bear to be touched, and his nights are plagued with terrible dreams. He wants nothing more than to be left in peace, until the piano playing Felicity arrives, offering a peace he never knew existed. He'll do anything to keep the music going, and even more to remain at her side.

But Armand's problems are not the only obstacles that lie between them, and no amount of tutoring in the Rules of Society will induce him to keep them. Yet if Felicity thought Armand's kisses were dangerous, that's nothing compared to what's waiting in the shadows.

'The Sons of the Revolution' series (Making of a Duchess) about three brothers torn apart by the French Revolution continues with Armand, the youngest and most traumatised. Armand has real trouble communicating, thanks to years of holding his tongue and suppressing the worst memories, affecting much of what had come before. His family can remember him as an intelligent, bookish boy, but Armand has changed. Yet with the help of music and patience, Felicity is able to coax him towards recovery.

Stubborn and strong-willed, Armand is a handsome and surprisingly gentle man considering what he's been through. With one look at Felicity he knows what he wants, even if he doesn't quite understand all the Rules and methods yet. Patient and determined, Felicity has reasons beyond the obvious to want Armand's tutoring to succeed, though falling in love with him was not quite what she had in mind. Of the two characters Armand is much better developed. His struggles and frustration make for compelling reading, without becoming mawkish.

Unfortunately the promise of this great beginning doesn't last. Armand's recovery, after initial problems, becomes too smooth. Over a long period of time I might have accepted this, but only a month is pushing it. Then there's the plot with Charles, which was entirely unnecessary, especially with the addition of Marius and Claude. One flimsy villainous plot was not enhanced by adding a second. It would have been better if Galen had picked one and fleshed it out. Or not bothered with either. I personally would have preferred a more in depth recovery for Armand, and slower development of the romance. As it stands things are all a bit too convenient and easily solved.

A good premise with an excellent beginning, it's a shame the rest didn't live up to it. I'm a little disappointed. Still, looks like the missing pirate twin is up next - The Making of a Rogue - which may prove intriguing.
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The Making of a Gentleman
The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen (Mass Market Paperback - 1 Oct. 2010)
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