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4.5 out of 5 stars17
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 28 November 2013
Well-written with good characterisation and plenty of sexual tension. After a childhood spent being used as a weapon between his parents, Felix re-creates himself into The Ideal Gentleman. Of course, beneath the facade, he's nothing of the sort. Louisa, in need of a wealthy husband, has put a lot of time and effort into appearing to be the perfect bride - though underneath she is no more perfect than Felix is ideal. The fact that both of them are pretending is what enables each of them to recognise pretence in the other. I liked both characters and certain scenes - notably the one where Louisa admits to Felix that only 25% of her bust is her own! - live in the memory. Ms Thomas has talent.
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on 27 March 2015
I have decided that Sherry Thomas is in my top five favourite authors, I literally found this novel difficult to put down. And I have a few more to work my way through...bliss! How is it possible that a lady whose second language is English, can write such beautiful, intelligent... English? Better than most with English as a first language. Her careful research is phenomenal, both in my language, but also in mathematics and physics, which I'm convinced she must have a thorough working knowledge of, as these subjects creep into more than one of her novels and she actually makes them sound interesting and sexy! I've looked her up as I'm fascinated by this lady and apparently she "laboriously worked her way through Rosemary Roger's SWEET SAVAGE LOVE with an English-Chinese dictionary" in order to perfect her writing! She's done an incredible job, not only in this, THE LUCKIEST LADY IN LONDON, but also in the other two novels written by her I have read recently. In this one Ms. Thomas has crafted a deeply emotional, thought provoking tale, in most other hands, with this scenario, we would be looking at a light, fluffy romance with little plot. Ms. Thomas has instead created a deeply angsty story, romantic yes, but also a not-what-it-seems-on-the-surface tale, of a deeply turbulent and simmeringly sexual and sensitive love which cannot be ultimately realised until there is a lot of soul searching done and faced up to. For the first part of the book the sensuality is all spoken or implied, nonetheless it sizzles right off the page, tense with innuendo and sublimely deliciously sinful.

Felix Rivendale, Marquess of Wrenworth is seen by society exactly as he wishes to be seen, as The Ideal Gentleman. He has perfected this persona to cover his manipulative, exploitative and controlling nature. He has no scruples in using his outward beauty, urbane charm, immense wealth and hauteur to get exactly what he wants from life. His peers fawn over him, look up to him, defer to him. Felix is in command, exactly as he likes it.

Louisa Cantwell, it has been decided, by her family of females, will be the one amongst them to find a husband to save them from eventual destitution. She is passably pretty with no obvious talents other than a quick wit, clever mind and an ability to make the most of her few attributes. Louisa is not calculating but is still determined to find a husband she can at least like and who has sufficient fortune for her families needs although she is not the type of lady to use devious methods to obtain her goal. On her round of ton engagements she encounters Felix and is immediately attracted by his outward beauty and elegance but intuitively detects beneath his outward persona, the man he has taken such pains to hide. The Ideal Gentleman-Felix, sees this recognition of his other self and finds it intriguing, refreshing and stimulating, much against his better judgement he is drawn to this girl who uses no wiles to capture his interest and indeed actively avoids him. Despite this Louisa feels the first stirrings of sexual awareness and Felix in his usual hidden, but Machiavellian manner, exploits the situation, subtly stalking her throughout society. Eventually he offers her enough funds to help her family out of its difficulty by proposing she becomes his mistress, Louisa prevaricates between a hidden desire to grant his outrageous request but outwardly knowing she should conserve her reputation. Having become enthralled by Louisa, and her lack of subterfuge but recognising her awareness of himself - his real self, and being excited by it, he is afraid of losing her and eventually offers marriage, much to her amazement. Realising that she will never get a better marriage offer she accepts, regardless of being aware that she is taking on a man she knows little about, and whom she instinctively realises she cannot trust, nevertheless she is secretly thrilled by the fact that her outrageous fantasies concerning him can be realised.

Her reservations are not misplaced when after a torrid, passionate wedding night during which Felix cannot get enough of his enticing wife, he comes to his dubious senses, realising that this innocent girl has some control over him - he will never allow that - The Ideal Gentleman facade returns in force and he treats her abominably, rejecting her advances in a despicably cruel and malicious way, the scene where he rejects her actually made me cringe.

During the rest of this captivating story comes the realisation that Felix actually loves Louisa, the unravelling and eventual revealing of his tragic secrets (although the bones of them are told in the prologue) to Louisa, his fear of submitting to anyone and why, and the realisation that he must work to prove that he has become a decent person, no longer bent on being selfish and self-seeking and most importantly, worthy of Louisa and the love he hopes to win from her. Here Felix won my admiration and I despaired that Louisa took so long to give him a sign that she actually loved and forgave him his heinous acts. The final chapter is so spine tinglingly lovely as Felix faces his demons, and his redemption when finally it comes, after he commits a completely altruistic act and wins the heart of the lady he loves. As I said, the plot/storyline is light but so intensely compelling that I cannot praise the writing or content highly enough. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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on 11 November 2013
Magnificent

It was a truly wonderful insightful story written masterfully. I never wanted it to finish. She delves deep into her characters souls.
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on 14 December 2014
As much as some parts of this story were difficult to read, once again, I must give Sherry Thomas kudos for her brilliant writing. Felix Rivendale, Lord Wentworth, was a type of scoundrel who struggled in the game of life, often being willing to "cheat" so to speak as long as he got what he wanted. This was obviously a result of wounds he had received during his growing up years, where he felt he had to resort to manipulation and deception in order to survive within his cold family.

When he meets up with Louisa Cantwell, little does he know, he's met his match. At first, she appears to be just another lady let loose on the Marriage Mart, who absolutely must marry some money in order to help her mother and sisters through life. She's prepared for this opportunity, having carefully studied and practiced to look her best and act her best in order to marry some eligible man who will be willing to help her family. Love is not a requirement, survival is. When she comes across Lord Wentworth during the Season, she's instantly wary of his intentions. She soon has reason to trust her instincts when he cruelly remarks upon her "borrowed" dress he had previously seen on one of her friends.

Realizing very shortly, he was up to no good, she begins to give as good as she gets so to speak. Actually, she gave better than she got by tempting him with words, which caused him to be consumed with erotic images based upon her conversations. She was an innocent, so it's interesting how she came up with some of the conversation. Nevertheless, her conversations worked its business on him because he kept coming back for more. He wanted one thing from her and was determined to entice her into his way of thinking, but she played the game straight into a marriage proposal.

Since Felix had lived for many years with a reputation as "The Ideal Gentleman" he was sophisticated, deceptive and yet the reader began to understand, there was kindness and a type of integrity beneath the maneuvering personality. Once he married Louisa, he realized something elemental had changed in his chemistry. He made a couple of drastic mistakes in the process trying to protect his soul from further wounding. I, for one, wanted him to receive a harsh comeuppance. For the first big mistake, in my opinion, Louisa was way too easy on him. However, relative to the second mistake - for not coming clean in a timely manner about a deception he had practiced on her, she makes him pay over the top. Good for her! Was there anything ever so sexy than the tulips he kept sending her stating, "I am hopelessly in love with you." I must confess that worked on my sympathy.

There were parts of the storyline that made me uncomfortable relative to the fact he had a very close relationship with his former mistress, Lady Tremaine, who has her own book in Private Arrangements, and continued to invite her to gatherings at his home. This bugged me to no end. But, that's the way these books are often written.

Purely from a standpoint of my personal satisfaction I would give this book 4 stars. However, for keeping me dialed in to the storyline and compared to what's available in this genre, I can give this book no less than 5 stars.
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on 24 November 2013
I am a fan of Sherry Thomas, having read all her romances in order of publication. My favourite, to date, was Tempting the Bride. However, this probably beats even that. It's a gripping read - full of sexual tension, in large part before the main characters even touch - and although initially you do wonder if you like the hero enough to warrant his wickedness, he is sufficiently vulnerable for you to change your mind. I can't recommend it enough - I read it once, then immediately started to re-read it, because I enjoyed it so much.
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on 9 September 2015
I found this story hugely entertaining and the verbal sparring very funny indeed. I also rather liked that characters whose stories are told in other books crop up here - appropriately because they are all part of the same social scene in London. In this story Lady Tremaine's (Private Arrangements) former lover, Felix, meets and joins battle with the woman he deserves.
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on 25 January 2016
i didnt expect to like this book, i actually bought it by mistake and wasnt very sure about it at the beginning. but the author definitely has an interesting writing style and teh characters are pretty weird, nerdy and interesting... not bad
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on 18 April 2014
I really liked this book. Maybe not love but then I only have several books that I love from more than a decade of reading romance novels. Sherry Thomas has a style that makes the story fun to read and very absorbing. Recommended.
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on 4 May 2014
Classic story - flawed man puts woman on guard and then has to win her trust. Well told with a fair helping of dirty talk/implication but pretty gentle/sweet overall.
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on 1 April 2016
I tried to read this book on two separate occasions but couldn't bring myself to continue. Very cardboard characters and weak plot. This author is not for me,.
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