A Private Gentleman
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A Private Gentleman

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  881 ratings  ·  138 reviews
"To seal their bond, they must break the ties that bind. "

Painfully introverted and rendered nearly mute by a heavy stammer, Lord George Albert Westin rarely ventures any farther than the club or his beloved gardens. When he hears rumors of an exotic new orchid sighted at a local hobbyist s house, though, he girds himself with opiates and determination to attend a house pa...more
ebook, 1st Edition, 355 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
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Shattered Glass by Dani AlexanderArmed & Dangerous by Abigail RouxStars & Stripes by Abigail RouxChase in Shadow by Amy LaneWho We Are by T.J. Klune
Best M/M Romance Published in 2012
40th out of 602 books — 1,390 voters
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Best Gay Historical Romance
23rd out of 415 books — 688 voters

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Community Reviews

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2.5-3 Stars

This is a second chances, healing love, beat the odds kind of story.

Lord George Albert Westin has a stammer that hampers his ability to communicate, it is so bad his family considered putting him in an asylum thinking that it was a mental illness. He also has a social phobia. These conditions have made him an introvert and reclusive man. The only way that he will even venture out is when he takes large doses of opiates.

Michael Vallant is a professional sodomite (and damn that's an awf...more
Emma Sea
Oh, the angst.

Michael is a rent boy with a heart of gold, who has developed PTSD-related panic attacks when he tries to work as a whore.

Wes/Albert/George is a lowly second son who loves Michael, and will pay for a month of Michael's time to do nothing more than keep him company on long carriage drives. And trips to gardens. And libraries. And more gardens. And Oxford. And gardens.

I loved both the MCs, and the botanical sub-plot was interesting (if a little overwraught metaphor-wise). The seconda...more
I did enjoy this book.

Be warned, though, if you're into historically accurate books: THIS IS NOT FOR YOU. From the way they address each other (okay, really? That, at the very least, wasn't right? WHY NOT?) to the situations they find themselves in. It felt like the historical portion of this book was more of a vehicle for the characters verses an actual setting.

I label this: historical-fantasy. :)
Barb Manning
A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan is at its core the love story of Lord George Albert Westin and Michael Vallant; it's a tale of failure and redemption in families, friendships and society. Cullinan paints a vivid tapestry of passion and pain, of love gone down to the depths of hell and reclaimed at great costs.

Cullinan is not a gentle writer. She can draw beautiful imagery, such as her descriptions of Wes' orchids and Michael's books. However, her power as a writer is in her depiction of em...more
It’s not very often that I am charmed by a book almost from the first page–but this book blew a fresh wind into the rather overworked 19th century area of the m/m historical romance genre and I found myself won over and wooed.

I have to say that I took to Cullinan’s protagonist immediately. In fact I took to both of them because they were so refreshing in these days of perfect hunks of men. Granted they are both gorgeous as hell, but Lord George Albert Westin has a stammer that would make King Ge...more
Before reading...
Not a review just self-encouragement...

As my dear friend Vio told me good-naturedly - this will end tragically.
Not for the characters....for Sims!
But -
a.) I`m incorrigible (what shall I do,I love the blurb..!)
b.) I`m prepared
- Disbelief got kicked out of the window,dislike of historicals completely ignored,CwD-allergy rigorously suppressed and my other pet-peeves...what are pet-peeves?

...that should work...*deep breath*

After reading...

It didn`t work...
I had a serious problem wi...more
Much darker themes and emotions than I had anticipated. Wes and Michael are very broken men, both are haunted by their pasts and the abuses of the same man. I loved their relationship and support of each other. Both have huge insecurities, but were able to help the other move past them. I love couples who are just kind and loving towards each other, no need for snark or snappy comebacks (not that I don't love that too) but these men were very thoughtful in their actions, it was sweet.

The only th...more
Here is another book that isn't getting the stars that the writing may deserve because the Theme was too much for me. And I'm going to blame Samhain for it. No where in the product warning was I told that child sexual abuse was going to be so front and center. "Product Warnings
Contains wounded heroes, bibliophilic tendencies, orchid obsessions, a right bastard of a marquis, and gay men who get happily-ever-afters. " It sounds almost blithe. No, the abuse wasn't on screen but it was certainly cle...more
Kaje Harper
I really liked this one - the characters were wonderful, unusual, and not perfect, although Michael came close. The historical setting felt real but not intrusive. I was caught by surprise by where the story went plot-wise in the penultimate climax, with a nod to the reality of addiction. The secondary characters added depth and complexity. (Actually, I'd love to see Rodger get a story of his own - he really caught my imagination about who he is, how he ended up the way he did, and where his lif...more
Page Crusherz
OMG EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED! This was excellent. I was dying for a great romance where I could lose myself and have that "I can't stand to stop reading" feeling. THIS WAS IT! I carried my kindle around all day in case I could get a glimpse! I made myself almost late to work! I love Heidi's work, in particular Special Delivery and its sequel. (I frequently debate which I love more, and its about a 50/50 split.) In those, she took characters I didn't think I could love, and made me love them. Here,...more
This book was like one of those vending events where a well-versed eloquent salesperson effortlessly as anything manages to convince you that you can't live without their goods - and you listen raptly nodding your head and open your purse wide since you're sold, literally. Only once you're outside the sales room with your absolutely superfluous overpriced heating blanket, you wake from your daze enough to take a break to think, and then you shake your head at your own gullibility. But do you sto...more
An excellent historical m/m romance set in Victorian times (not sure the cover conveys that period). I very much enjoy Heidi Cullinan's writing: this book had an intelligent plot and fully developed likeable characters.

The stammering opium-addicted Lord George Albert Westin (Wes or Albert) meets beautiful short-sighted whore Michael Vallant and his world begins to change..

'She shrugged. "Life is pain, Lord George. We all deal with it as we can. Some of us hide in our anger. I prefer not to judge...more
Heather C
Mar 05, 2014 Heather C rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Heather C by: Kaje Harper
A Private Gentleman has been on my TBR list for a while now and since this week was set aside for “Heidi Cullinan Week”, I figured it was the perfect time to read it.

While snooping around at a house party searching for a rare orchid, Lord George Albert Westin, social outcast and stutterer, encounters Michael Vallant, professional whore. Both men have some dark demons: Wes is a slave to the poppy and Michael has a really bad history with Wes’s father. I don’t want to get into too much plot review...more
Vicktor Alexander

Two hopelessly flawed men discover that they aren't as hopelessly flawed as they suspected. A son of a whore who becomes a whore himself and the painfully shy, socially awkward, stammering son of a marquess meet in the most unlikely of situations and start a love affair with a dark, unspoken and painful secret between them.

I must admit, I am not just an epilogue whore, I'm a history whore as well and this story had me enthralled in the historical references, the sensitive subjects it touched on...more
Mar 13, 2013 julio rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to julio by: Breann
Such a sweet, gentle, yet passionate and emotional romance. I really enjoyed seeing Wes and Michael learn to love each other. They were great characters, and they felt very real. It was beautiful how they could just be themselves around one another, and they accepted each other without questions, flaws and all. The plot is pretty intense, and it grabbed my attention from the very beginning.

Note: There were pretty major editing oversights that detracted from my experience. For example, one charac...more
A sweet and tender love story between a whore and the second son of a lord, who happens to be a stammerer and opium dependant. Though it turned into too sweet territory at times, it was never cheesy and those two were so sweet together and so obviously in need of each other, that I didn't mind it at all. I really enjoyed reading it, even if it's not what I'd call my usual 'fare'.
Mar 03, 2012 dblue rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: m-m
I bought the book not really sure how I would like a m/m story in a historical setting. The setting I could handle, the emotional and physical abuse the characters endured was much harder - only in that it was very heart breaking to read. It was filled with broken people, evil perpetrators, people trying to cope with the aftermath, people looking for healing and love.

If you are looking for light historical romance, this is not it. I am happy it ends on a positive note.
Really no stars or maybe a 1/2 star. I really really tried to finish this book but I just lost interest about half-way and couldn't bring myself to care. This is especially frustrating since I am a fan of Cullinan's other work. The historical genre is just not one of my favorites and it has to be freaking good to keep me going. I'll give this one a rest and maybe try it sometime much later.
This review was originally published on my blog Joyfully Jay.

Lord George Albert Westin is painfully introverted and suffers from an extreme stutter that keeps him out of most social settings. But he has braved a party with the help of some laudanum in order to see a prized orchid owned by the hostess. Though he is uncomfortable with people, Albert dearly loves plants and manages to pull himself together enough to visit the rare specimen.

Michael Vallant is a high class prostitute, hiding out fro...more
To begin with, I should mention that I have been an avid historical romance reader for a long time; having it combined with a more recent favourite genre (M/M romance), by an author whose books I have previously enjoyed and highly rated, let's just say I was really looking forward to reading this story. By the end I felt quite dissatisfied and it took a bit of introspection to realise why. The book deals with heavy themes such as child abuse, opium addiction, PTSD - so this would not be an appro...more
I greatly enjoy gay-themed Regency stories, but confess to a certain amount of unease about this one, due to the fact that it’s a bit darker in tone than many of the historical novels that I read. You could say that this book puts on display the seedy underbelly of the times in a way that Georgette Heyer never would.

With themes involving laudanum addiction and child abuse, there’s no doubt that this book touches on problems never mentioned in lighter historical fare. But at the same time the sto...more
Really, this is around 3.75 stars. This is a sweet love story about two damaged individuals who must overcome their difficulties in order to forge a meaningful relationship. Albert, the second son of a marquess, has a prominent stutter, extreme social anxiety, and a growing addiction to opium. He has been shunned by society as a madman who is not confined to an institution only because he is a member of the aristocracy. Michael is a prostitute who was abused as a child, and is experiencing a sev...more
A delightful story; it’s going in my re-read pile

Warning: This review might contain what some people consider SPOILERS.

Rating: 9/10

- Cullinan handles Wes’s stammer beautifully. She doesn’t avoid dialogue entirely, so we get the point that he has difficulty communicating. But a lot of conversations that might be horribly difficult to read are shown as hypothetical conversations in Wes’s head, and he has no stammer when he’s thinking.
- Michael is a bit on the delicate side, both physically...more
Jason Huffman-black
What can I say? It's Heidi Cullinan. I mean, her writing never disappoints.
I fucking loved this book.
Set in London in the mid 19th Century, Lord George Albert Westin (who goes by either Albert or Wes, doesn't like society life or the expectations his father has for him as a second son. He life is hampered by crippling nerves, a severe stutter and an addiction to opium, originally prescribed to help him get over the first two problems. His main interest is his work with the Royal Botanical Society, in particular the study of orchids. He puts his nerves aside one night to go to a party where he's...more
*sigh* this is so hard because even though this book had the same awesome Heidi Cullinan writing as always I just didn’t like it as much as the other books I’ve read by her…and the most difficult part is admitting that it perhaps was the meticulous writing that actually caused me not to like it as much. The writing is wonderful, but the attention to detail and the language quality unfortunately drags the pace of the novel down quite a bit. Sadly cutting some corners with the believability might...more
Phoebe Gee
at 50%:

I am all set to give this a 5star now. Two broken men with no wish for anything more grand than a little peace and control over their own lives. I think that, for both of them, the love they are stumbling upon is more a miraculous joy than they would have ever hoped for. I can't wait to see how Ms Heidi fleshes this out.


I think I cried, or at least teared up though a third of this book. But I was right, for me this was a 5 star read.

I won't say too much but once you read it you will...more
Apr 21, 2013 Kay rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ebooks
3 1/2 Stars ~ This love story has a much darker theme and at times painfully heart wrenching to read.

Albert is a man who keeps to himself; terribly shy and suffering from a horrible stammer, he prefers his own company and botanical pursuits. All his life he's been persecuted for his stammer by his family, and he grew up shut in his own home. Until the day he meets Martin, a young man who sells himself for the pleasure of others. Almost instantly Albert falls for Martin, who instantly sees the ge...more
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Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren't enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her family. Heidi also voluntee...more
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“It's your eyes, I think. They promise something kind. Heaven help the world should you ever turn dark. You would send Satan himself scrambling.” 1 likes
“As he returned to the bed, he could see Vallant eyeing him warily, but he ignored this, sat on the opposite end and braced the pad on his knee.

You think after all that, I will leave? What sort of monster do you take me for? You think I could be that callous? No better than the piece of filth who used you, nor the soulless fiend who sold you?

He ripped off the page and handed it over, but he began a second note even before Vallant had taken the first from his hand.

Is this bastard still alive? I assume not, that Rodger had him strangled? He had to pause, forcing his grip on the pencil to lighten before he went on. I want his name, if he isn't already dispatched. I'm not without resources or influence. And I'm very difficult to prosecute.
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