I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Lady Monique is in her third season and feeling the pressure to find a match, her mother wants her to find a titled man and her brother wants one with deep pockets. When she meets the brash James Stanton, she tries to dismiss him because of his lack of title. James has been working behind the scenes to manipulate Monique into a betrothal, only to abandon her at the altar. He is out for revenge because of how Monique's mother destroyed his family. Even as everything falls into place, the plan starts to go awry as James finds himself truly falling in love with Monique. Love and revenge battle it out, and only one can win.
Second in the Surrender series, this can easily be read as a standalone as James and Monique's relationship starts here but others continuing with the series will enjoy the many appearances of Lucy and Philip, the couple from book one. The beginning of the story starts with James working to set-up his revenge against Monique's family. His plan is to buy up all of the family's debt, then call it all in and then become betrothed to Monique only to leave her at the altar. It wasn't until around the 40% mark that Monique and James start to spend any significant time together, so while James was well known to me, Monique was more of a background character. The beginning felt drawn out with Monique's constant refusal to consider James as a potential mate only to feel extremely rushed with their eventual declarations of "true" love. They just didn't have the interactions or conversations needed to provide believability for their feelings.
It was obvious that the author wanted to convey a feeling for the time period, world events and historical characters were mentioned but interjected in a way that felt like awkward reciting in paragraphs. All the regency boxes were checked with visits to Almack's, Vauxhall, White's, and Hyde Park. The characters would drop lingo from the time period too, but their overall discourse had a more modern feel. All the regency components were there but the story never quite felt rooted in the time period.
James' reason for revenge felt believable in the beginning, he felt Monique's mother caused his mother to die of a broken heart by having an affair with his father but as the story went on, it started to become thinner. It was, oddly, as more was explained that James' motivation seemed more and more childish and with this part of the story being the center piece, it caused me to like James less. Monique was never flushed out enough, she wanted to marry nobility because her mother told her to, and then she was suddenly in love with James; her heart, desires, and comprehensive personality were never quite clear. Their conversations were also somewhat stilted, causing the flow of the story to have a bit of a glitch-y feel.
A Gentleman's Surrender was a clean read that hit all the regency hallmarks and the author's writing was technically sound. I didn't entirely jive with the author's writing style but regency clean reads aren't always prevalent in this day and age, so if looking for that aspect, maybe give this one a try.