A Gentleman Ought to Know by Jane Ashford

A Gentleman Ought to Know (The Duke's Estates #4)

Barbara’s rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Series: The Duke’s Estates #4
Publication Date: 3/7/23
Period: Regency
Number of Pages: 336

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book when I first finished reading it. Well, I KNEW, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself, I think. 😊 So, I decided to let it stew for a few days before writing my review so I could then look back and see what really stood out for me. My impression is still basically the same. I generally liked the story and I thought the mystery was a good one. What I didn’t like was Charlotte! She was often described as ‘prickly’ – I would amend that to ‘bit***’ as that is how she acted most of the time. I loved Charlotte’s brothers and I can certainly see them with books in the future, and I loved Laurence and was so happy to have met him.

Charlotte Deeping met her best friends when they went away to school and they’ve been the closest of friends since. They solved mysteries and enjoyed each other, but now, Charlotte is the only one who remains unmarried. She didn’t do well on the marriage mart because of her ‘prickly’ personality. Now, at home in the country, with none of her friends nearby, she’s a tad on the bored side. If she just had a mystery to solve or something to keep her occupied, she’d get through it all. It is hunting season, and her family is a renowned breeder of hunting horses, so maybe someone or something of interest will show up at the annual hunt.

Laurence Lindley, the Marquess of Glendarvon, is good friends with Charlotte’s brother, Stanley, who invited him to be a house guest for the annual hunt. Laurence hasn’t had a very happy life, but although he constantly thinks of what happened in terms of scandal, it really wasn’t. He was only four when his parents were gruesomely murdered. He never, ever, talks about it. It isn’t a secret, exactly, he just doesn’t wish to discuss it and doesn’t tell people about it. He is excited about the hunt since it is one of his favorite ways to pass the time – and he loves being able to gallop across the countryside on his excellent mount, Ranger. He even finds himself enjoying the ‘prickly, Miss Charlotte Deeping.

Charlotte learned about Laurence’s parents and she also learned from both him and her brother that it was a very private matter for him and he didn’t want to talk about it. However, Charlotte just couldn’t leave a good mystery alone no matter anyone else’s feelings about it. Then, to add another mystery, there was an odd finding at the estate of her good friend Cecelia and her husband the Duke of Tereford. When Laurence seems to recognize the find, Charlotte is off and running – and dragging all of them along with her – whether they wanted to come along or not.

I enjoyed the basic story and most of the characters. I didn’t care for Charlotte at all – I found her to be bit*** rather than prickly. She could have been a great character with a great romance, but she just didn’t cut it for me. I found her to not only be bit***, but she seemed to have no respect for, nor kind thoughts about any male. The book was filled with male-bashing and that just makes me want to put the book down. Yes, I know feminism is the theme of the day right now, but – does being for females actually mean being against males? Every female in this book had nothing but negative things to say about the males. It just made me really sad.

Can I recommend this book? Well – yes and no. If you don’t mind a prickly, male-bashing female lead who steps on everyone’s wishes and then acts as if she is the injured party, then yes, I do recommend it because the mystery and bones of the story are good. Otherwise, I can tell you that I enjoyed the bones of the story, I disliked Charlotte, and I would not read it a second time.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

3 thoughts on “A Gentleman Ought to Know by Jane Ashford

  1. I can only agree, why do all the single women in this book are so mean to the men.
    I am curious about Charlotte’s brother upcoming romance but I fear this will be a repeat of this book with a heroine so set against every men.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am curious as well – but probably not curious enough to read the book to see. I have been removing these rabid author’s from my read list and I’m afraid this is one who will have to go. I am all for females – I am one! However, that doesn’t also mean I am against males. I love it when there is respect on both sides and the male and female team up and work together.


      1. Yes, so far it has become a sort of norm.
        And while I cheers women’s winnings and victories, I have nothing against men as long they are respectful. We are part of the same world. If we demand one thing, it is normal to return it.


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