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The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  22 reviews
'Your brother takes me for a barbarian, Mr Bowen. But I assure you, I’m quite well trained.'

When Benjamin and Edgar Bowen embark on a Grand Tour of Europe, they are ready to meet People of Quality. They have trunks full of powdered silver wigs and matching suits, a hunger to experience the architectural wonders of Ancient Rome and an ability to quote Voltaire (at
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: June 11th 2020 by Hutchinson (first published April 30th 2020)
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Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“other people’s dreams are no basis for a life. We must seek as hard as we can, as a matter of emergency, to find our own dreams, our own lives.”

This book was amazing! I read it in one sitting. There were so many passages throughout the book I wanted to quote. It was glorious as a work of historical fiction, as a judgement of society’s mores, in the 18th Century, and still currently- how we can be hurt and punished for our faith or our sexuality or both and more. How we can be ashamed of who we
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Weirdly, this is the second book I’ve read within a couple of weeks with a character called Mr Lavelle. What are the chances?

London 1763, and brothers Edgar and Benjamin Bowen, sons of a Welsh-born shipping merchant, are setting out on a “Grand Tour” of Europe. Their ambitious and well read mother, Rachel, who has drilled them in philosophy and history, wants them to experience Culture and associate with People of Quality. Edgar hopes to meet pretty girls, but Benjamin already knows he prefers
Gianna Lorandi
Edgar and Benjamin had their lives planned by their Mother. Sheltered from the world they were thought philosophy and the work of the great thinkers. Then going on a Grand Tour they would meet Quality people and be "known" amongst the gentry.
But then it came Mr Lavelle and everything was turned upside down. Mr Lavelle - sarcastic, subversive and carefree.
I like a lot of elements of this book and the plot, Mr Lavelle is a such character and without him the book would have been fairly boring.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brothers Benjamin and Edgar Bowen embark upon a grand tour of Europe - planned by an ambitious mother - to enjoy the books, art and philosophy but most of all to make friends with the quality. But Benjamin isn't as confident as Edgar when it comes to introducing himself, that is until he meets Horace Lavelle, who's beautiful, charismatic and seductive.
This book wasn't what I thought it was but I really enjoyed it.
Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.
Alyssia Cooke
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Whilst I quite enjoyed this, it is one of those books that has several strong factors that are negatively impacted throughout by unavoidable irritations. When two brothers go on a Grand Tour across Europe in the 1700's, you would expect to be given a lot of historical detail about architecture and socialising, after all that is what they are supposedly travelling for. In reality you get very little of this and instead much of the waffle is dedicated to philosophy of one degree of another, some ...more
The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle is a historical novel about two brothers, brought up sheltered from the world, who go on their Grand Tour. Benjamin and Edgar have been taught culture and classics and their mother has planned out how they'll meet the proper people and fully establish themselves in high society. Once in Europe, Edgar is desperate for them to find this place, but Benjamin is less sure. When Benjamin meets the beautiful and unconventional Horace Lavelle, he realises there are other ways ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I just finished a proof of The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle - fans of Frannie Langton, Oxygen and a Place Called Winter will love it. Starts off seeming to be an Englightenment Grand Tour romp and turns into a deep, dark exploration of family secrets and hidden identity. I can't say any more for spoilers. I will say: it is STEAMY and does not shy away the complexities and hotnesses and shame sometimes attached to sex. Many folk will doubtless be angry with it for this. In the words of Mr Lavelle: ...more
Menna van Praag
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. It was quirky and interesting and I engaged with the characters whose journey I followed closely. A great holiday read. I'll certainly be buying it when it comes out, and that beautiful cover is a lovely bonus!
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Brothers Benjamin and Edgar embark on a Grand Tour, but soon find their station in life – as sons of a shipping merchant – a barrier to progress. In Paris, they discover their ambitious mother’s secret past and Benjamin falls under the spell of the louche Henry Lavell.

The pages bristle with rage at social inequality, bigotry and homophobia. There are also some poignant moments, such as Benjamin shunning his fellow-passengers on his return to England, and his recognition of the way the dead
Colin Hardy
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Give this book a chance. The story is written in the past tense and largely from a single perspective. Beware, that the behaviours are frustrating in their stagnation and foolishness for so many pages at the start. The central characters are initially unlikable, but there is a progressive drift towards personal growth for the narrator. It is not a perfect story as it is not filled with perfect people. These are memories and so there are holes in the timeline. It is easy to forget this and be ...more
Dan Bassett
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When Edgar and Benjamin embark on a Tour around Europe, they are out to meet people of quality.
They will make connections and climb the ladder of high society, just as their mother has planned.
However, it is soon realised that their smiles are too keen, the appreciation for the arts outlandish. Class is not something than can be studied.
Enter one Horace Lavelle; a true god-like man who will transform Benjamin’s life into one he could never have dreamed of.
Mr Lavelle has a simple ethos; reject,
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, arcs
This is a really difficult book to review and even rate. It’s beguiling in some ways and utterly too much in others. I found it very uncomfortable reading in these modern times - despite being set in the 1700s there are still some parallels with modern society. Fear of being different and desire for acceptance run through this book, no matter which characters you are thinking of.

There’s some dreadful caricatures - and quite rightly so - with the minor aristocracy being portrayed quite brutally!
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle was an unusual book for me, but one that I am very glad I chose to read and review. Thank you to #NetGalley, the publishers and the author, Neil Blackmore. for the opportunity.
the book is written in a very modern way although it was set in the eighteenth century, which I think really worked. (It was clear at the start that some of the language would not have been used at the time, such as the term Enlightenment as a description of the period - which I felt excused
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have to say that I have only read one book about the Great Tour and it was The Gentelman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and I really loved it, so I was really looking forward to read this one.

First things first.
This book broke my heart. When I read about Benjamin's home life, when I could see things he couldn't - that hurt so much. That's why I was cheering for him. That's why I wanted him to rebel, to reject, reject, reject!

And he did. He paid a great price, but he got a life that was his.

Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Secrets, lies, half-truths, danger, love, lust…and a life of longing and regret. Does this epitomise the experiences of many gay men, not just in the eighteenth century in which this novel is rather lightly set? Every gay man has had, or should have had, a Mr Lavelle in his life. Preferably early on, and preferably, in my view, not for keeps:Benjamin, the hero of the tale, most emphatically, would not agree with the latter part of the statement.

This interesting story will, at turns, infuriate
Helen White
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Benjamin and his brother Edgar are to take part in the Grand Tour seeking out culture and the best kind of people in order to further their parent's ambitions for them. Benjamin is the rebel he has no interest in polite society and instead becomes infatuated with Mr Lavelle - a man who appears to know everything and everyone and treat if all with humourous disdain. Edgar fears for his brother but it is too late : Benjamin is completely in love. Yet how honest is Mr Lavelle? His scandal seeking ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle harks back to classic topics of social mobility and ambition, keeping up appearances and impressing people you resent and idolise in equal measure.
It's the story of 2 brothers on tour to secure their place in society and how in trying to impress the 'right' people their relationship starts to fracture as they explore the version of the world they've been encouraged into.
The infuriating, charismatic and chaotic Mr Lavelle only deepens this fracture as one brother does
Stephen Gourlay
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm finding it difficult to figure out whether I enjoyed this or not.
Really interesting premise and important them to cover.
Both main characters were damaged and broke my heart in different ways. I absolutely found myself rooting for a seemingly doomed relationship.
Not sure I got a sense of time and place and the non stop references to philosophy/philosophers seemed there just to prove how clever someone was. On and on and on.
Sex scenes didn't bother me - but will some. Description of this part
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's the 1790s and Benjamin and his brother Edgar find themselves on the Grand Tour of Europe, a journey into society pushed upon them by their parents. It's also a journey into their family history, societal acceptance, and for Benjamin, the discovery of sex.

Light and entertaining.
Danni Linton
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good read. Easy to read different from other stories I have read overall I enjoyed this
Lucy H
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting idea, with similarities to The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock, especially towards the end.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing

“Social conformity is a fever that men are only too eager to catch, no matter if it kills them.”

Blimey! Where do I begin? What a beautifully written book, Blackmore’s use of language is exquisite and very fitting for the era in which this novel is set. It is not florid (I dislike florid), but effortlessly crafted.

About a third of the way in, I had to put this book aside for a few weeks; not because I disliked it or struggled with it but life intervened. Yet I have to confess I thought
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Jan 27, 2020
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Jan 11, 2020
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