Publication Date: June 26, 2012
The Duke of Ravenham (Dex) lost a bet and must bring Miss Gabriella (Brie) Gordon into society. Her family connections are not desirable in London society, but Dex may be the one man that can help her make a brilliant match. As Dex gets to know Brie and their friendship builds, will he be able to let her go?
If you’re a fan of Regency romance, chances are you’ve read this novel at least ten times, all of which were better done. Two people that don’t want to be together are thrust into each other’s company; one by a debt owed and the other through familial pressure. Though a common theme and formatting, the idea of the piece could have been executed at a higher quality level, leading to a more readable work.
Brie is immature and impulsive in the manner of a female who thinks stamping her foot and speaking loudly is decisive action. She’s a stock character. She wants to stay and help run her late father’s veterinary practice until her brother comes of age, but the author hasn’t rounded her out so that we could believe it is something she could accomplish. That her family would need her to make an advantageous monetary match doesn’t seem to matter to her. She storms the inn looking for a man she believes is abusing a horse. Is that supposed to show the uncommon spirit in which her suitor will be interested? In a character of the time period, it read more as a contrived temper tantrum than the independent nature that will attract only the right beau. That her mark both thinks she’s a servant and a pain in the ass is mirroring what readers will think.
Dex is the romance hunk straight from central casting who never had to learn the craft because he’s cast on his looks. We’re told that Dex is hot and that all of the ladies love him though we meet him on the heels of a failed seduction. He’s a jerk, and while we see Brie and Dex finding common ground, finding love isn’t something I’m sure that I believe.
The background characters lack subtlety and grace. Okay, so Brie’s sister isn’t supposed to be subtle. She believes that she is the toast of London and beloved by all, though she’s actually crass and people will cross the street to avoid crossing her path. The bottom line of Gabriella was that I never cared about the characters or story. The way that the story is written is simplistic and expected where interest could have been fostered, the plot twists are predictable and contrived.
Gabriella has a pretty solid fan base on Amazon, so if this sounds like something you might like, check out some of the many five-star reviews. The author is prolific and Gabriella (originally published in 1992) is her first novel. The author is now a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, which says something for her work, so this reader has to believe that Gabriella is the classic “learning to write and putting oneself out there” tome. As the fabulous Literary Gary says, writing a book is an accomplishment in itself and Hiatt did indeed write a book in Gabriella.
Read an excerpt and buy Gabriella (Hiatt Regency Classics Book 1) by Brenda Hiatt on: