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Book review: Sailor turns to high society in clean Regency-era romance 'My Fair Gentleman'
"My Fair Gentleman: A Proper Romance" is by Nancy Campbell Allen. - photo by Christine Rappleye
MY FAIR GENTLEMAN: A Proper Romance, by Nancy Campbell Allen, Shadow Mountain, $15.99, 248 pages (f)

Nancy Campbell Allens historical Regency-era novel My Fair Gentleman offers an entertaining romance and a little mystery with several twists reminiscent of My Fair Lady.

Jack Elliot has almost reached his goal of being the captain of his own ship when he is unexpectedly called to see his estranged grandfather, the Earl of Stansworth. The earl, whose health is poor, names Jack as his heir days before he passes away, and the only reason Jack accepts is to get his ailing widowed mother, Mary, and sister, Sophia, out of their near-destitute circumstances.

Jack is then thrust into a whirlwind of London society, where he must learn to navigate new rules for manners, attitudes and survival if he, his mother and Sophia are to be accepted.

Ivy Carlisles grandmother Olivia Knightly Carlisle, the dowager Countess of Huntington, was close friends with the old earls late wife and has asked Ivy to tutor Jack on societys ways and help ease the family into society.

Though she hasnt had a social season yet, Ivy is well aware of societys expectations, especially since her very proper family has weathered its own scandal with her older sister.

Jack initially resists Ivys help because he only wants to get back to sea, but he soon sees Ivys respect and resourcefulness as they navigate spurned relatives, a growing attraction and the danger lurking in an attempt on Jacks life.

This entertaining novel showcases witty, flawed and endearing characters who have good hearts as they combat the hidden traps laid by more devious characters and work to navigate the rough conditions they find themselves in due to the choices of others.

At least one story element wraps up a little too neatly in this otherwise satisfying novel.

As with other books in Shadow Mountains A Proper Romance series, there is a strong love story with plenty of resisted attraction, but the physical romances dont go beyond kissing. Violence is only generally referred to, and there is no swearing or other foul language.

Campbell has another Proper Romance novel scheduled to be released this fall: a steampunk novel titled Beauty and the Clockwork Beast.
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