Mercy Dawson spent the last few years of her life deep in the horrors of war. As one of Nightingale’s nurses she tended to the sick and dying. Yet only one stole her heart…which is part of the reason she is now at the doorstep of the home belonging to Stephen Lyons’ family. She announces to the family that the small bundle of joy she holds in her arms is the child of the late Major Lyons. Seeking a situation that would allow her to remain with the boy, Mercy is desperate for help. Yet, the biggest shock is yet to come….she discovers Stephen did not die in the war.
While others are desperately trying to forget the war, Stephen wants nothing more than to remember it. An injury stole the memories of that horrific time, so he certainly doesn’t remember Mercy Dawson or the night he got her with child. He is just as shocked as anyone else when this meek flower arrives at his door with his son in her arms. His background of being an honorable gentleman demands he marry Mercy to ease her shame. Yet Stephen is the last person anyone ever expected to settle down. Before the war, he was a seducer of women, capable of juggling multiple acquaintances at one time, now he’s not quiet sure whom he is.
While they both struggle to figure out their future together, Mercy has a few skeleton’s she never wants Stephen to be aware of. She finds his spotty memory a blessing, because if Stephen knew the real truth about their time together, she might never see her son again.
Expect to encounter the whole set of emotions with this novel. The secrecy will leave you in utter suspense and anxiously awaiting for the truth to be revealed. There will be secondary characters which make you smile and laugh out loud. Then you have the horrific trauma these two have experienced in the war which will make you weep in sorrow. Finally, you have the passion and love these two develop and learn to embrace that will delight and warm your heart. Basically, it’s a wonderful novel.
If you love stories about rakes and eternal seducers becoming romantic fools, Pleasures of A Notorious Gentleman is your novel. Heath’s story provides the best of both worlds…Stephen was the pleasure seeking man before the war and straddles that line of seducer/gentleman when he returns home. Obviously, war changes a man, but Stephen has no memory of his time in battle. He knows deep down he is a changed man, but can only remember his days of amorous play. The treasure of having a different woman in his bed each night no longer holds such appeal, especially after her meets Mercy.
For this reader, it was a bit disheartening to see in the beginning how far from a romantic Stephen really is. His usual character is just that of a considerate and generous man. He’s not cruel, but it is difficult to picture him attached to one woman. He is a constant carefree gentleman. With that being said, once you finish the novel, you will appreciate the complete turn around his character has made. Heath delivers such an extreme transformation in a poignant and emotional way that will make you swoon with delight. Also, chapter one of this book was the funniest opening chapter I’ve ever read. If you can keep a straight face as you read about Stephen saying goodbye to his multiple lovers while marching off to war, you are a stronger person than I!
The secrecy is a killer. These lies that are known to the reader, you are just dying to see revealed. Mercy’s character is virtually flawless, except for the huge lie she carries with her. It is an interesting conundrum that Heath has Mercy in. Her suspicious betrayal of holding on to these secrets is a reason to call her character into question when she is nearly perfect. Her dishonesty just encourages you to read on until you find out the truth, seeking to know why she has sacrifice so much.
Pleasures of A Notorious Gentleman was a enthralling, sweet and a true pleasure to read. The fact is, the few times I did put the novel down, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This is a story that dissects the tangled webs we weave in order to protect the ones we love. You will have no idea what to expect from one chapter to the next. I was so involved in this novel I became truly and completely concerned for these characters. I was even shedding a few tears in the end because of how beautiful and charming an experience it was reading this novel. Take my word for it, Pleasures of A Notorious Gentleman was wonderful.