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A Gentleman Undone

(Blackshear Family #2)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,132 ratings  ·  313 reviews
A seductive beauty turns the tables on a gentleman gaming for the guiltiest of pleasures in this rich and sensual Regency romance from beloved newcomer Cecilia Grant.
Lydia Slaughter understands the games men play—both in and out of the bedroom. Not afraid to bend the rules to suit her needs, she fleeces Will Blackshear outright. The Waterloo hero had his own daring agen
Kindle Edition, 350 pages
Published May 29th 2012 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2012)
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Katherine A Gentleman Undone takes place after A Lady Awakened. You will see more of Martha and Theo, but only in their interactions with Will and Lydia.

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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  2,132 ratings  ·  313 reviews

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May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it

"Honor is the best part of you Will Blackshear. And I don't make that pronouncement lightly. No woman could, who's ever seen you naked."

Will Blackshear has returned from the Battles of Waterloo and Quatre Bras a broken man. Haunted by the death of his friend Talbot, he is desperate for funds to secure the future of Talbot's widow. As a youngest son with no fortune his only hope of quickly accruing the capital he needs to invest, is at the gaming tables.

Lydia Slaughter is another man's mistress.
Sam (AMNReader)
Here after all was their condition, perched on their separate wind-whipped summits, in view of each other, but too distant to reach.

I slowly made my way through the beginning of this book, realizing it's not your usual. Nor was the story for Martha, Will's older sister, so this came a no surprise, but somehow I was surprised. It's stunning how brilliant this series is. How quietly rich and subversive, how oddly fresh. How terribly difficult too.

I'd tell you to expect plots more like Sherry Tho
I'm envisioning Grant sitting down to work on this and musing to herself, "Hmmm, what romance convention shall I skewer today?" Our heroine Lydia is a courtesan, formerly a prostitute. She's a courtesan who enjoys her work -- or at least, some aspects of it.

"With all the insolence she swallowed, it was a wonder her corsets still laced. Retort after rejoinder after sharp-edged remark: Why do you address me? What can I possibly have to say to a man who would split a pair of fives? Be quiet. Go to
Rachel (BAVR)
Apparently, all it takes is a mistress with rough sexual appetites and an ex-military hero without all the woobie rake angst to squeeze 5 stars from my cold, dead hands. Granted, A Gentleman Undone is barely a literary masterpiece, but it ranks worlds above the rest of the regency crap I've been reading lately. If more authors would write like Cecilia Grant, then maybe I wouldn't bitch so much about the tepid quality of historical romance these days.

When Will Blackshear (former lieuten
Anna (Bobs Her Hair)
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Romance fans
4.5 stars…Eloquent, natural, sensual…Sympathetic, daring, imperfect characters…You must read Cecilia Grant!

After a second read, I still love this book! Cecelia Grant is sitting pretty on a custom-made pedestal! Why? She provides compelling relief in a sea of monotonous romance novels. If you think you’ve read it all and believe you can predict what will happen next in a romance, then you haven’t read A Lady Awakened or A Gentleman Undone! The only thing guaranteed is a happy ending.

”I begin to
Oct 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Supremely patient readers
Shelves: historical
OMG, Michael Ende, you were wrong. This is the neverending story. My lament for the better part of A Gentleman Undone receded at four-star moments, leaving me to scratch my head now.

Cecilia Grant's voice remains intelligent and insightful. She understands and fleshes her characters better than most and with impeccable prose and such a human familiarity. Couples from A Lady Awakened and A Gentleman Undone respectively, Theo, Martha, Will, and Lydia never mimic cardboard. They're three-dimensional
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think that Cecilia Grant’s début book, A Lady Awakened was one of the best historical romances I’ve read in a long time. Not only was it very well-written, but the plotline was original, something that can be hard to find in the genre. (I’m not knocking the tried-and-tested plotlines; some of them are incredibly well done, it’s just refreshing to find something different for a change!) So naturally, I’ve been looking forward to her follow-up novel ever since I finished the first one.

Once again
Nov 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Just shortly. Great writing and great topic. But it was much darker book than the first one. Heroine was cold and guarded for most of the book. Our hero on the other hand, was open and vulnerable even though he carried dark secrets within himself.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cecilia Grant certainly doesn't shy away from gritty reality. With her you don't get fairy tales about beautiful virgins and handsome dukes, and I, for one, am happy to have her as a new favorite HR author, right up there with Meredith Duran and Courtney Milan.

In Grant's debut novel, A Lady Awakened, she gives us a young widow so desperate to keep her late husband's estate out of the hands of his incompetent heir that she hires someone to impregnate her. Not the most romantic of themes, to say t
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hr, perfect, 5-stars
If I want to read a comfortable, fluffy, sweet romance book, Cecilia Grant's books would be the last I would turn to. A Gentleman Undone, especially. I must admit that I was reluctant to write a review.

But it seems that I must have masochistic tendencies, because this book is as painful as it gets. I know, it doesn't sound endearing, but it's challenging.

I won't go too much into the plot. There are other reviews which did a wonderful job explaining it. A Gentleman Undone is for all those who kn
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: regency
This book was an excellent surprise. I did not think I would enjoy it as much as I did. In fact, I’m a little surprised I decided to read it considering I wasn’t too crazy about A Lady Awakened. One thing I can say though, Cecilia Grant writes some of the most intriguing characters in romance fiction.

Basically the story is about an ex-soldier and a courtesan working together to make some fast money at cards. Lydia Slaughter has a mathematical gift and can count cards like a pro, but she needs a
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ashley by: Melissa - she told me it would be my favorite Grant book and she was right!
Take a bow, Cecilia Grant! This is one of the best historical romances I've read. Though I liked A Lady Awakened well enough, I was a little disappointed by it, if I'm going to be honest. I think I'd over-hyped it in my head because so many friends had read and recommended it. It was good, the writing fantastic, but I think it was a case of it not being the right book for me. I have a weakness for fucked up heroines and Melissa was spot-on when she said I'd probably wind up liking the second Bl ...more
Fani *loves angst*
2.5 stars
I finished this book yesterday and still can't settle between a 2 and a 3 stars' rating. The first half was noticeably better than the second IMO, even though there was little to no romance there. Still, the writing was very good and both main characters were likeable until that point. However, when the heroes let go of blackjack and 21 lessons, and start indulging in their passion and need, the book surprisingly took a turn for the worse for me. The hero who was nice until then, if a l
Brittany B.
***Upon reread of select parts:

This book did not immediately engage me, neither did the characters. Cecilia Grant has written a very different story from her debut novel A Lady Awakened, a 5star novel that I absolutely adored. In this second novel, the tone is far more bleak and ominous, the circumstances are darker, and the characters are flawed to a frustrating degree. However, I have grown to appreciate the characters and their dark circumstances. The book is thoughtful and well-written, but
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pub-2012
When I read Cecilia Grant's debut novel I decided she was the author I should keep tabs on. And she proved my initial assessment was correct. While Sherry Thomas is still God of historical romance to me, Cecilia Grant is now hot on her heels.

If she keeps improving with every book like that, she might very well soon find the romance genre too limiting for her and end up winning a Pulitzer or something. I kid you not. If there is such a thing as a 'literary romance', this is it. None of the auburn
This one took me a while to get into, but once I did, I did.

The first third of the book is Lydia teaching Will how to count cards and improve his gambling skills. I'll admit I occasionally got bored during this part because it felt repetitive (and I was recovering from a reading slump), so it took an embarrassingly long time to get through. However, once the two of them started going to the gaming hells and getting emotionally closer to one another, I was sucked in and didn't want it to end!

Okay, is there a legit reason why Cecelia Grant has stopped publishing romance novels? Because I read a lot of them, and both of the books I've read by her so far stand apart. It's a little hard to explain, but her voice is so unique. 2013 is now five years ago (gross), and that is when she published her last book, so it is high time*.

*Some Google-fu has revealed that her once-dormant blog is now semi-active, and she is apparently writing again! No idea what she is writing, though. Apparently it
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's darker than the first book but I loved it even more for it! So powerful, so raw and beautifully written!
On the next in the series - A Lady Entangled!

Full review:

This second book in the series is my favourite. It's much darker and more intense than the first one and I loved every minute of it.

We have two broken characters fighting their demons who come together despite all the odds and this is just my favourite kind of romance story.

Broken war hero and courtesan may be a familiar trope in hi
This story wasn't exactly in my comfort zone.

In the previous book we had a heroine who was emotionally detached. She didn't like sex but for the sake of greater good she engaged in carnal relations with hero from the beginning of the story.
Here we have another emotionally detached woman who actually LIKES sex but she won't have it with hero. For a better part of the book she sleeps with her "protector" and our hero actually witnesses these acts twice.
This is something that puts me off. I don'
Carrie Olguin
Apr 19, 2013 rated it did not like it

I had trouble getting into this story. The hero is a gambler and the heroine a whore.

The first chapter, about the hero (an officer) carrying one of his dritically injured men to the battle field hospital, didn't ring true to me.

As an officer, he would have had had the authority to organize the chaos around him, such as comandeering transportation and ordering uninjured men to move the injured men. He behaved like a foot soldiar, not like an officer.

And then he's in a gambling establishment
Carol Cork *Young at Heart Oldie*
After reading A LADY AWAKENED, I knew I had found an author who wasn’t afraid to push the recognised boundaries of Historical Romance with her daring, unique stories and unconventional, flawed characters. I found A GENTLEMAN UNDONE just as original and engrossing.

I admire Ms. Grant for her unflinching and gritty characterisation of Lydia, whose very flaws make her such a complex, unconventional and fascinating heroine. I admit that it is difficult to like the bold, ruthless, cold-hearted, sexual
Stacey Kade
Jul 06, 2020 added it
Shelves: read-2020
Oh my goodness, I’m loving this series of books! This one made me cry a bit! ❤️ Buying the third one right now.
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in basically one sitting, and I think Cecilia Grant might be one of my new favourite authors, an auto-buy despite the fact that $10 for an ebook (when it's a paperback DTB) makes me want to grind my teeth. Anyway, that's clearly a tangent, and a cliche that I should probably delete; what matters is that Grant's writing is very fine - the language use is sensitive and intelligent, not florid for the sake of trying to be impressive, and not sentimental. Characterizations are complex an ...more
This was trying to retcon the Regency era, and not in any way more palatable than A Lady Awakened.

Once again I had very basic problems with digesting the prose. Apparently I am not the target audience, I do like sparse, but I want elegant instead of dry.

The other problem is how the author tried to milk Regency stereotypes to come up with a halfway "modern" narrative, with characters she apparently believes are more comprehensible to modern readers and sensitivities. Unfortunately that's not at
May 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Yeah...NOT GOOD! First off, the only thing I can say I learned from this book was how to "card count" that's about it. This is not a love story in my opinion. It was a lot and I mean A LOT of "card counting" talk and it didn't bother me so much that the heroine was a courtesan, it did bother me that she was a trashy courtesan. I didn't like how aggressive she was towards Will during their first intimate contact...gee wiz, she scared that man half to death that he cried off lol. And I didn't like ...more
Alex Morrison
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Alex by: Ashley

Cecilia Grant is such a fresh voice in this genre. Will and Lydia are interesting, well-drawn, clever characters, and every seemingly predictable plot twist is subverted. This is beautiful and touching writing.

Perhaps a longer review to come when I've caught my breath.
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this! A heroine in this era who enjoyed sex. It was done realistically well. Just enough back story to explain the why but not bore you by taking away from the growing romance between the main MC's.

Will too had his back story and I loved his attraction to Lydia he was a helpless puddle around her.

Really enjoyed the sexual chemistry and how the Heroine was the brains behind the operation but not dampening the hero's own light.

Great story. Love Cecilia Grant's writing.

I didn't see
Cecilia Grant was one of my favorite debut authors last year. The first book in her Blackshear Family series, A Lady Awakened, was well-written and showed definite promise. Due to my enjoyment of that book, I was overjoyed to receive an ARC of the next book in the series, A Gentleman Undone. And I am happy to report that this book exceeded my expectations and really makes Cecilia Grant one to watch over the next few years.

One thing that I noticed in this book, and her earlier one, was that Ms. G
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romanticals

This might be the biggest discrepancy yet between the book and its cover. It’s not about abs! Cecilia Grant has done it again and written a book about brains. Specifically, how one brain meets another brain, and how that connection can be just as profound as bodies or hearts. This got me, I admit it, the part where Lydia, untoward card sharp, has stacked a deck of cards for Will:

By the time he set down the king of spades he was sitting up straight, his whole face alight with such a look as Pa
Yum. Shivers and goosebumps, at the end there, and maybe a near eye watering. Loved it. Lydia was one spiky dame, all prickly and sharp, but very very hot. Great take on a courtesan. Will was worthy, of course, but she stole the show.

And this was one case where the cameo from the previous couple in the series practically made me cry. I hate cameos! I hate spawn of cameos! What is happening to me? Why am I grinning?


And it appears her next in the series stars a Kelly LeBrock?! One of my fav
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I write Regency-set historical romance with a high angst-to-plot ratio. I specialize in hard-headed heroines and good-hearted heroes. So far.

A word about the "reviews" I post here: Please think of them as recommendations rather than reviews. If I like a book, I'll list it here and scrawl a few sentences about why I liked it. I've gone back and forth about whether to use stars (it feels like a sled

Other books in the series

Blackshear Family (3 books)
  • A Lady Awakened (Blackshear Family, #1)
  • A Woman Entangled (Blackshear Family, #3)

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