A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan
M/M Historical Romance
April 17, 2018
Oh my goodness, I love Heidi’s ability to write characters with disabilities! I also love how she has chosen to write about speech impairment and partial blindness. I am jumping right in to this review, because I thought there were aspects of A Private Gentleman that were so exciting, and this is one of them. Wes, in this book, has a severe stutter and Michael is severely nearsighted. This isn’t a comical book, it’s a serious one, and their impairments weren’t included to be used lightly. Wes isn’t private by choice. His stutter has caused him to have extreme anxiety, and crowds are too much for him. Michael’s eyesight is important because as a courtesan his livelihood relies on his looks, and thick glasses are not considered attractive. Focusing on their impairments added a level to the story that, while not completely needed, really enhanced my enjoyment.
It was a good thing too, because while I loved the character profiles, I wasn’t initially interested in the plot. I think maybe I’m more prudish than I believed, because there was something about Wes paying Michael for his time that didn’t sit right with me in the beginning. Obviously the story develops beyond , so it’s not a reason to put the book down, but it was hard for me at first. I guess I’m too much of a romantic. I don’t expect anyone to be a virgin, or shame characters for multiple partners, but for some reason I struggled with a prostitution storyline between Wes and Michael.
It wasn’t just Michael. I also had a hard time with Wes being addicted to opium. Again, I don’t have an issue with this in the grand scheme of things, but it just made me sad to read. I guess in both situations, it shows how brilliant of an author Heidi Cullinan is. She made me accept Michael and Wes’s situation, and she made me feel Wes’s pain and ache for him to beat back his addictions.
A Private Gentleman made me feel everything completely, which is probably why (despite early qualms) I ended up liking it so much. As sordid as their situation was, without giving away spoilers, it was also really sweet. Michael and Wes loved each other early on, yet it didn’t feel like instalove. They both had mountains to overcome before they could be together, and Heidi Cullinan insisted that I go on the ride with them, but I’m a happy captive. I’m always a happy captive when I’m holding her books in my hands.
Thank you to Heidi Cullinan for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.