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The Gentleman

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,658 ratings  ·  395 reviews
A funny, fantastically entertaining debut novel, in the spirit of Wodehouse and Monty Python, about a famous poet who inadvertently sells his wife to the devil--then recruits a band of adventurers to rescue her.

When Lionel Savage, a popular poet in Victorian London, learns from his butler that they're broke, he marries the beautiful Vivien Lancaster for her money, only to
Hardcover, 287 pages
Published August 16th 2016 by Penguin Press
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Taylor Yes, the two Viviens are the same:) There is only one Vivien in the book! And I highly recommend this book, it's hilarious!…moreYes, the two Viviens are the same:) There is only one Vivien in the book! And I highly recommend this book, it's hilarious!(less)

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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,658 ratings  ·  395 reviews

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Heidi The Reader
Imagine, for a moment, that you're unhappily married and you meet the Devil, who isn't a hoofed, fiery horror but a "gentleman". You strike up a conversation with him in which you mention that you're absolutely depressed and unable to continue on because of your martial situation. The Devil sympathizes with you for a time, then when he's gone, you discover that your wife has disappeared as well. Time to freak out... or celebrate? This happens to Lionel at the beginning of this tale and it just g ...more
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melki by: Cian O hAnnrachainn
'Do you mean to tell me, Simmons, that we haven't any money left?'

'I'm afraid not, sir.'

'Where on earth has it gone?'

'I don't mean to be critical, sir, but you tend toward profilgacy.'

'Nonsense, Simmons. I don't buy anything except books. You cannot possibly tell me I've squandered my fortune upon books.'

'Squander is not the word I would have used, sir. But it was the books that did it, I believe.'

Well, at least Lionel Savage has his priorities straight. I certainly can't think of a better t
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
This book is witty as fish and hilarious as shrimp. Forrest Leo, I think I maybe perhaps possibly be in nefarious lurve with you a little.

Oh, and by the way, P.G. Wodehouse is quite enchanted with this story. Yes he is. How do I know? Why he just came back from the dead to tell me so and stuff. Obviously.

And now I think it's time for a Celebratory Broccoli Dance (CBD™).

Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is exactly what I needed. Something light, doesnt take itself seriously and very very funny. In a nutshell, a poet who doesnt like his wife, accidentally sells her to the devil, then the fun continues. The writing is great, the authors wit is amazing, the characters superb ( especially Simmons), the dialogue snappy/funny and the use of footnotes works in this case. I sometimes find footnotes a little distracting, but in this comedy fantasy Victorian steampunk setting it works well. The pace ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves Pythonesque or absurd humour

Would that one might combine the fantastical flights of fancy of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, P.G. Wodehouse, Terry Pratchett, Flann O'Brien – never mind. Forrest Leo has it all under (loose) control. It is far-fetched and funny. In a word (or two) A HOOT! Love it!

The introduction explains that this is

“Set Down by Mr Lionel Lupus Savage & Edited with Objections by Mr Hubert Lancaster, Esq, Containing Nothing Either Allegorical or Metaphorical in Nature & Never Deviating from the Tr
Cian O hAnnrachainn
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Some books are read for the plot. THE GENTLEMAN is a book you read to enjoy the voice.

There is a plot, of course. It centers on young Lionel Savage, a proper gentleman who runs out of money and so must marry it. While hiding from one of his wife's society parties (he does not love his wife, as he makes plain. He is the narrator, by the way) his solitude is broken by a visit from THE GENTLEMAN, none other than the devil himself.

The next thing Mr. Savage knows, his wife is gone and he's quite sure
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVE LOVE LOVE! What a weird, hilarious, wonderful novel. A frustrated poet inadvertently sells his wife's soul to the devil, and mayhem ensues.

A little P. G. Wodehouse, a little Oscar Wilde, entirely madcap. I highly recommend reading in paper rather than ebook form, because the design is so charming, with bizarre illustrations and quarrelsome footnote from the (fictional) editor.

I'll be pushing this book on everyone I know this year, including you! Go read it!
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious! You know Murphy's Law (Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong)? That's exactly what happens to poor Lionel Savage after an encounter with the Devil occurs at the same time his wife goes missing. At the same time, his younger sister gets kicked out of school for performing indecent activities.
The story takes off from there with an introduction to a quirky cast of characters that join Lionel on his adventure to save his wife from the Devil he thinks he sold her to by accident. You'l
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
4.5 stars

This book had me laughing out loud from the start.
Lionel Savage is a ridiculous character, and the combination of his narrative and the footnotes added by his "editor" is delightful.
I guess this was a play originally. I would love to see it performed. I wonder if the footnote gag was added once he decided to adapt it into a novel. The footnotes, and Savage's obsession with following iambic pentameter, were my favorite things about the book.
Great fun. I hope to see more by this author
Coleen (The Book Ramblings)
The Gentleman is Forrest Leo’s debut novel, about a husband who conjures the Devil, and accidentally sells his wife, which results in planning a rescue mission to Hell. A variety of personas come along for the quest, and a whole lot of over-the-top encounters happen along the way that will have you laughing out loud. I have been talking about this novel to anyone willing to listen, and I think I will for a while even now that I finished reading it.

There was so much about this novel that I enjoy
Karen R
This is a decent debut and quick read about a young poet named Lionel Savage who unwittingly sells his wife to the Devil, soon has feelings of regret and so he puts together a rescue mission to Hell that includes a quirky cast of characters. The author does a good job with the characters, some of whom I loved, some I hated. Madcap and farcical, I enjoyed the book but found myself skimming a few times when the story got repetitious. In the version of the book I had (kindle), it was not easy to co ...more
Julie Daniels
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
The Gentleman was everything I'd hoped it would be and so much more! I haven't read many comic novels but I definitely will be reading more after this one! I enjoyed every last page of The Gentleman. I have never laughed so much, so loud, or so hard while reading a book! It really is a hard thing for an author to make the reader laugh just using written words on a page- there is so much to it- they have to set the scene, bring the characters to life, and work humor into the story in a way that f ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it

Characters: 4/5
This book has such an interesting, lively cast of characters, who are each unique and quirky in their own way. The protagonist, Lionel, is hard to love but his arrogant nature seems essential to the story. Lionel's inner monologue and the dialogues between characters were some of the highlights for me.

Plot: 3.5/5
The plot was actually quite simple. With the exception of an ironic little plot twist at the end, everything that happens in the story is alrea
Aug 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNF@ 41%

This was not my type of humor. There were some things I found funny, but other times I would find things trying too much and being too extra.
Sid Nuncius
Aug 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
I don't like writing wholly critical reviews, but I'm afraid I hated The Gentleman. I had expected to enjoy it as a clever comic romp, but – very unusually for me – I abandoned it in sheer annoyance after a few chapters.

The premise is good: it purports to be a first person account (edited by a friend) of the unwilling adventures of a Victorian Gentleman who is idle, profligate and vain, but entirely self-deluded as to his own prowess as a writer (and most other things). I was hoping for wit and
Dorene McLaughlin
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fun is an odd word for this book, but amid mystery, hijinx, the devil as a gentleman, and a bumbling adventure, I found myself chuckling a great deal at a self-involved poet who discovers love in the most unusual way, while trying to find hell with his outrageous sister, her bigger than life brother, and their unassuming butler. It puts me in the middle of that old Stallone movie "Oscar" or the Julianne Moore movie "An Ideal Husband" in its style.

Truly classic in the most unexpected way.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I hate to call this simply historical fiction... it's so amusing and fresh and funny. Personal context: I was reading this long involved terrible novel (okay, it was Outlander and I hated it) and I returned it unfinished to the library because I just couldn't take it anymore. I really wanted to cleanse my mental palate with something totally different so I pulled this one off my shelf. And I am so glad I did. This author has an aptitude for turn of phrase to rival P.G. Wodehouse, and I don't say ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it
DNFed at 38%

Rating: 3.6

Lionel Savage, a renowned poet of his time is faced with an ultimatum. At twenty two he has gone bankrupt and has come to the conclusion that he needs to marry into a wealthy family lest he end up in the streets. So he marries the beautiful Vivian Lancaster only to realize early on that he does not love her. Thus his marriage leads to the downfall of his poetic career. Until one night during a masquerade ball hosted by his wife, he has a rather odd encounter with an e
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Actual rating: 4.5
I didn't expect much from this little novel at the start. I was on vacation, wherein I of course found myself wandering the aisles of a book store. I was dead-set on getting a different book, a well-known/popular one I had wanted for some time, but this one caught my eye instead. And so I purchased The Gentleman completely on a whim.

This was such a wonderfully charming book, and altogether just FUN! I truly can't recall a time a book made me chuckle and grin so much as this. I
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
This book is quite funny and clever but a bit too slapstick for my taste. However I can see why many reviewers would rate it much higher. There are some wonderful moments or hilarity, and some of the dialogue is wonderful.

My favorite passage is this one:

'I don't mean to be critical, sir, but you tend toward profilgacy.'

'Nonsense, Simmons. I don't buy anything except books. You cannot possibly tell me I've squandered my fortune upon books.'

'Squander is not the word I would have used, sir. But it
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I got this as an ARC. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and found myself giggling in quite a few places. Much of the book is spent by Lionel Savage trying to get his wife (Vivien) back after unwittingly selling/giving her to the Devil (aka: the gentleman). Actually a pretty charming and very enjoyable read.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
It was just OK for me because the guy was SUCH an idiot. I got really sucked in at about the halfway point, though I was (view spoiler) Maybe the author is saving that for the next book, which I probably will not read. ...more
Lynne Bissell
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Completely and perfectly enjoyable from start to finish. Amusing - like a Wilde play, but innocent. Highly recommend!
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is pretty entertaining I just love the cast and characters really enjoyed this one
Pat Harris
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
I just did not care for the book that much and did not find it hilarious but rather tiresome. Only one character was developed and he was an ass.
Norma Spangler
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great read! Quirky, funny, very likeable characters!
Jim Harville
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not quite Jeeves and Wooster (what is?) but that's the tone of this light and breezy comedy about a dim Victorian poet who marries a rich woman and then seems to have sold her to the Devil. He gathers together a group of Pythonesque characters to trek down to Hell and bring her back, and in the process he becomes a little less dim. Clever dialogue, fast-paced. An easy, fun read. ...more
Lulu // the Book Rookery
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it

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It’s not every day you find a book where the Devil is accidentally conjured and a wife accidentally sold. It’s even rarer to find one where it’s actually funny, which is why The Gentleman by Forrest Leo was such a fantastic treat to read! The writing is so well done that you find yourself swept away with Savage in his quest to save his wife and stop trying to think rationally about anything. For such a bumbling fool, the author does a tremendous job
Jul 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group The Penguin Press for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"We have the world before us, but have not yet outrun our past. It is a good time to be alive."

I have to admit my late-night Olympics viewing has been getting in the way of my dedicated reading time so the length of time it took to read this book should in no way reflect the amount of enjoyment I got out of it! This book is clever, it's humorous and atmosphericall
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Forrest Leo was born in a log cabin in 1990. He grew up in Alaska, and holds a BFA in drama from NYU/Tisch. While living in New York, he worked as a carpenter, a photographer, and in a cubicle. He now lives in LA, where he worked at Walgreens for one day. He writes plays and novels and things.

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