The Gentleman and The Rogue

gentleTitle:  The Gentleman and The Rogue
Author:  Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon
Publisher:  Loose I-D
Genre:  Historical M/M romance (Regency)
Length: 158  Pages
Rating:  5+ stars out of 5

A guest review by Erastes


A lad from the streets meets a lord of the manor…

When war veteran Sir Alan Watleigh goes searching for sex, he never imagines the street rat he brings home for one last bit of pleasure in his darkest hour will be the man who hauls him back from the edge of the grave.

A night of meaningless sex turns into an offer of permanent employment. As Sir Alan Watleigh’s valet, Jem offers much more than polished boots and starched cravats. He makes Sir Alan Watleigh’s smile and warms his bed. Just as the men are adjusting to their new living arrangement, news about a former soldier under his command sends Sir Alan Watleigh and Jem on the road to save a child in danger.

The journey brings them closer together as they travel from lust toward love. But is Sir Alan Watleigh’s love strong enough to risk society discovering the truth about him?


There’s not many times that I finish a book with a huge smile on my face, but this achieved that. I guess you can tell up front you are in for a good review then!

It’s a delight.

What? You want more? Bah!

When I read this writing duo’s last book “Seducing Stephen” I knew that anything else they wrote would be an auto buy for me.  My faith in that was backed up with “The Gentleman and the Rogue” because it delivers on just about every count.

In a way it’s a bit of a re-telling of Scheherazade. Alan Watleigh has lost everything, friends, family, most of his regiment at Badajoz, his faith in humanity and he’s been badly injured in the war.  Life is black, bleak and painful.  Added to that, he’s homosexual and although he’s been celibate throughout the war he knows there’s no happy ending for him.  So he decides to have one last whore to satisfy his shameful and revolting lust (his opinion) and then he’s going to blow his brains out.

But don’t be put off. This is no Angsting Annie. In fact we don’t get into the darkness that is Alan’s mind for quite a while, and that’s probably just as well.

We are introduced into the story by Jem Brown, the “rogue” of the piece, a whore from Southwark who has been plying his trade on the streets for quite a while.  He’s street-smart, intelligent (for his class and profession despite hardly able to read or write), but despite the most appalling upbringing, he has a natural joie-de-vivre which is entirely irrepressible.  This bubbling champagne quality gradually seeps into Alan’s muffled world and begins to drag him to the light again.

As the blurb says, at first it’s a sexual arrangement, and there’s a touch of Pretty Woman about it in that respect, too, so there’s no surprises there, but it’s the way that Jem is portrayed that makes him such a star character and one I predict will gain him more than me as a fan. His voice is entirely note-perfect; at times he speaks in cant (thieves slang) and the authors do this most skilfully, sometimes making it clear what he’s saying and other times leaving us to ponder what he means, and sometimes making us burst with frustration (along with Alan, who says “English please, Jem!”)  His inner voice is also entirely different from Alan’s and that’s not something you often see done well in books. People might talk entirely differently, but when it comes to their POV, it often becomes very samey.  It’s not that way here–Jem doesn’t think in cant, thank goodness–but he has the same lightness and irreverence in his thoughts as he does in dialogue.  I loved, for example, the nicknames he called Alan (in his head) before he knew his name: Lord Gloomy, Lord Fancy, Lord Bumbuggerer and the stories he tells Alan along the way made me laugh out loud so much that it surprised even me.  Most of them are old tales, I’m sure, and I’d heard one or two of them before, but they still made me guffaw.

So often, too, the “tart with the heart” or the “urchin” character in these books turns out to be a real Gary Stu, knowing everything, winning everyone over, being able to tackle complicated tasks out of his class with ease, but the writers deliberately avoided this. Jem is able (just about!) to manage the daily tasks of being a valet, although they bore him horribly, but he can’t ride, can’t drive a carriage and there’s no chance that he’s going to ever pass himself off as a gentleman.

Alan is wonderfully presented, too. Like Jem, we get to learn him by small increments, even when we are in Alan’s POV. Like a reverse Scheherazade it takes Jem’s buoyancy and Alan’s growing feelings for him to get Alan to trust him with any information about himself at all.  I loved the way that he reverted to a dark, dangerous commander of men when angry, it was truly frightening, both for Jem and me!

The sex scenes are not overdone, and they fit in perfectly. After all, Jem is hired at first as a whore, so we know there’s going to be a fair amount of sex, and after the first night, neither Alan nor Jem are really convinced that Alan wants him to be “just a valet” so there are a few partially gratuitous sex scenes, but they do build up to the complete consummation of the relationship.

What really impressed me, though, is that the writers pack so much in just 158 pages.  It’s a really compact, solid story with a lot going on: good servants, bad servants, loyalty to dead troops, riding lessons, a road trip… it’s amazing how much it contains.

The cover is lovely. The figures are very pretty and the costumes are well painted.  I am obliged to be picky as the bottom of it, though – why is there a picture of the Houses of Parliament? It wasn’t built until 20 years after this book. Historical details should be right on covers, as much as possible and this was a big gaffe.

Regarding the text, there were a couple of niggles, mainly regarding distance and horse-power and one or two tiny things but nothing that will spoil anyone’s enjoyment in a damned good story, a great road-trip, a good adventure and a obstacle-filled romance. Oh and something that will make you laugh.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if these ladies keep up this kind of quality, then they are set to be stars of the gay historical genre.

, Bonnie Dee, , Summer Devon
5 years 10 months ago

Thanks so much for reviewing. I’m glad you enjoyed Jem as much as we did. You know how sometimes a character takes on a life of its own? That’s Jem. I think both Summer and I have a bit of a wise-ass streak in us that made him a character we could readily identify with. As for the stories, I went to a joke web site and picked ones that seemed to fit the scene. I used them as Jem’s way to distract Alan or distance himself emotionally–when things get too heavy his fall back is always to make a… Read more »

Aunt Lynn
5 years 10 months ago

Oooooh, I can’t wait! I must get this. I’m totally up for a fab Regency. Thanks Erastes, and great review.

5 years 10 months ago

I read this last week and also really enjoyed it. Jem is wonderful, and I think what I liked the most was how distinct the two characters are, how vivid their voices are.

5 years 10 months ago

….adding to my wish list.

5 years 10 months ago

Thanks to your review, Erastes, this went straight on my TBB list although I thought I kind of have outgrown Regency and the like. :)

Historical romance/fiction has always been one of my favourite genres but lately I tend to favour antique settings more. Those are relatively hard to find, though, that’s at least my impression.

However, I’m looking forward to reading this one. (I already like Jem very much just from the way you portrayed him in your review. ;))

5 years 10 months ago

This sounds wonderful. I’m moving it up my list. Thanks :)

5 years 10 months ago

I just finished reading this a few days ago and LOVED it. It was my first book from this duo and I’ve also put them on my ‘must read’ list! Seducing Stephen is in my next batch of purchases.

I adored Jem and his wonderful attitude in spite of his upbringing. Then, when he became serious, it was that much stronger. I especially enjoyed his little nicknames for Alan LOL.

5 years 10 months ago

I loved this story too!

5 years 10 months ago


This sounds like a wonderful story which I have now put on the top of my growing TBR pile. Not only do you love the characterizations but the story made you laugh which is quite a departure in historicals which tend to be gloomy (sorry) :)

I think this will be the book I will curl up with on the Easter weekend.

Thank you Erastes for such a wonderful review. I can see the story through your eyes which is your great advantage of being a writer.

Wren Boudreau
5 years 10 months ago

I loved this book! I agree with everything you said about it. Jem is definitely on my list of Most Wonderful Characters.

Is it strange that whenever I read a m/m historical I always wonder: What would Erastes think of this?

5 years 10 months ago

I am so relieved to see your review. I’d seen this one floating about and thought, it looks perfect, Regency historical – my fave! Beautiful cover. There has to be a catch, it’s probably terrible! But clearly I’m too cynical! ::goes to add it to TBR list and only wishes it was longer::

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