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Ratings and Reviews (14 16 star ratings
14 reviews
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4.6 out of 5
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    A wonderful story!

    Be prepared for a wonderful story time that hooks you from the start and surprises you in the end! I love that it starts with Hugh telling his son the story. You will fall right into the brutal story of the attacks and riots and be holding your breath afraid of what will happen next. They are a couple at odd from the start with him trying to save her while she is determined to stay. There are many times that you think the story will go one way and it takes a turn in another way. The ending to their story will totally surprise you and it’s sweet at the same time. Angelette is very loyal and it’s almost to a fault. She didn’t understand what was coming until it was too late, but she was different than her friends. You won’t love her right away, but you will in the end with how she surprises you. Hugh lost his heart quickly and didn’t even know it. I loved him right away because he kept trying to make people understand what was coming. No matter what he kept coming back to her. Copy provided for an honest and voluntary review
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    this one has everything!

    Viscount Hugh Daventry is in France to further his family's wine importation interests and, as a favor to her sister, he also plans to visit a house party hosted by Angelette, Comtesse d'Avignon, and do all he can to convince her to return to England with him and flee the unrest and brewing violence in Paris before it spreads. But when he arrives at her home in Versailles, it is as if he has entered a different world. Angelette and her aristocratic friends are either unaware or completely in denial about the danger they are in and refuse to heed Hugh's warnings. Angelette refuses to come with him and, though he continues to try to convince her, she is more interested in ensuring the success of her first event since the end of her widow's mourning period after the death of her husband. Despite being presented with logical arguments, the naive countess insists on remaining in France, believing any unrest will be put down. When the violence makes its way to her own home, sooner than even Hugh anticipated, Angelette is forced to open her eyes. Yet even after fleeing her home with Hugh, she continues to insist upon remaining in France, so Hugh decides he's given it his best shot and has no reason not to make good his own escape back to England. Although France is her adopted country, Angelette feels she can do something to get justice for her friends and warn others. By the time she realizes the situation is more dangerous than she thought, she finds her own life in peril and herself separated from Hugh, who she labels a coward. But Hugh is trying his best to keep her alive and get her to safety, it just may not be enough. I loved how this began as a story being told by a father to his son. Of course the son thinks his parents are boring and stuffy and doesn't know what to make of his father's outrageous tale. I thought this was a nice touch. This story kept me in suspense and although I wanted to bash Angelette over the head at times, it worked out well in the end and I couldn't put the book down until I'd finished. I would highly recommend this as a quick and suspenseful read with enough adventure and romance to keep everyone engrossed till the end. I received an advance review copy of this title from the author and read and reviewed it voluntarily. Thank you!! All thoughts and opinions are my own.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Intriguing look at the French Revolution

    Singing: “Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men?” I have been intrigued by the French Revolution from the first of many times that I saw Les Miz (the play, which was so much better than the movie—but that’s a whole different review). I found myself singing the songs in my head as I quickly got involved in reading TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN, the novella that serves as the introduction to the new Scarlett Chronicles series by Shana Galen. In contrast to Les Miz, however, which tells the story from the viewpoint of the revolting peasants, TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN presents the viewpoint of the aristocracy. It is the fabulous story of the origin of the Scarlett Pimpernel and the rescue of members of the nobility who were being targeted for death by the insurgents. English Viscount Hugh Daventry was in France for his family’s wine importing business. Before returning home, he attended a house party at the estate of recently widowed Angelette, the Comtesse d’Avignon, whose relatives asked him to bring her to London with him due to the dangerous situation that was developing in France. Angelette refused to believe that things were as bad as Daventry was describing, and she insisted that she would remain loyal to her late-husband’s family in France. Unfortunately, Daventry had been telling the truth, and Angelette soon found herself homeless when peasants burned her home to the ground. What happens to Angelette and Daventry after they flee into the night to save their lives becomes part of a beautifully crafted, well-written story that is as complex as any novel even though it is a novella. The attention to historical detail is admirable, and the author did not shy away from even the very ugly parts of this time in history. Ms. Galen’s writing shows an uncommon passion for the French Revolution and she has definitely done her homework. The characters are also complex and fully developed. Daventry is a man of honor who cannot leave Angelette, even though staying with her could mean the loss of his life. Angelette is a strong, intelligent woman who is determined to stand by her adopted country no matter what it may cost her. Their romance began in a very intense situation but was still authentic, realistic and timely. The secondary characters, most notably Sir Percy and the Viscomte de Merville and his wife, add interest and depth. TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN is a page-turner with many twists and turns. It can easily be read in one sitting and you are going to want to do so. Another five-star read from Shana Galen! I can’t wait for the next book in the series. “There’s a life about to start when tomorrow comes!” Still singing…….. I voluntarily read an Advanced Reader Copy of this book and the views expressed are my honest opinions.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    This is historical romance!

    Although TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN is officially the first book and prequel in Shana Galen’s new series, if you enjoyed TRAITOR IN HER ARMS, don’t even bother reading my review, and get TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN right away, you will not regret it. What an extraordinary book! I usually dislike books that seem like history lessons, TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN is in many ways a history lesson about the taking of the Bastille and it is phenomenal; I adored it! Shana Galen has taken a slice of history and made it her own: vibrant and dynamic, her research is exemplary; the mood and the climate are recreated with astonishing historical accuracy and the characters are exceptional literary creations. I loved how Angelette truly represented the way of thinking of the French aristocracy, although she was half-English. I wished she had come to her senses more quickly, but one must understand how the French aristocracy was thinking, and this is how it must have been. The aristos did not want to believe what was really happening; and I loved seeing both points of view; it felt realistic. Both Angelette and Hugh are tremendously well fleshed-out, very engaging, their romance is believable every step of the way, it progressed as it should have, and Hugh was simply a wonderful man. The sex scenes are splendid, they happen when they should, as they should, and are entirely credible – by themselves and in the context. The secondary characters are also fabulous, and Sir Percy Blakeney is an utter delight; his lines of dialogue nearly made me swoon! I could not help but picture my darling Leslie Howard from the old black and white movies! Ms. Galen’s writing is outstanding, the prose utterly flawless, elegant; the dialogues impeccable; it was as if I had been imbibing the story, not simply reading it. I’m not quite sure what else to say, except that TO RUIN A GENTLEMAN is yet another masterpiece by Ms. Galen, and this series will one day be considered a classic. Positively sublime!
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    Definitely historical and a romance!

    Excellent writing and a good story as always, but this time with an added fillip of the twist on the classic tale of the Scarlet Pimpernel - starting with the couple talking to their grown up son many years later, reminiscing about how they met and then how they spent the rest of the war. All Shana Galen's books are good, but this one was a step up on that standard. Even if she does get a bit buried in the nitty gritty of the Napoleonic war occasionally!
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