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Almost a Gentleman, by Pam Rosenthal

Set in the early 1800s in England, Almost a Gentleman is Ms Rosenthal debut novel and another sleepless night for yours truly (and this was a long night, since it is 380 pages long). Published originally in May 2003, it was reissued in December 2007 after her second novel, The Bookseller’s Daughter, had come out.

For whatever reason, I had endeavored to forget everything and anything I had heard about this novel—other than the title and author—when it was first released, and I am incredibly grateful I did. Because if I had known the central gimmick—the McGuffin, if you will—it’s quite likely I would not have wanted to read it, and that would have been an utter shame.

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Blurb taken from the back of the book:

Ahhhhh, doesn’t that sound just wunnerful…? Hmmmm…

My Verdict

Jesus. Effing. Christ.

I can’t tell you how much it irritates me to read historical books set in England, when the language is more or less incomprehensible.

That was my biggest problem with Pam Rosenthal’s, The Slightest Provocation. OK, that, and total boredom. I admit it, I got to page 56, and gave up. I just couldn’t carry on reading.

The writing was cumbersome, sluggish, and painful. The plot promised much, but delivered very little.

At first I thought the premise seemed really exciting, and I was looking forward to the redemption of Kit and Mary as a couple. Unfortunately for me, by the time I got to the last page( AKA page 56) I couldn’t give a monkeys what happened to them. I didn’t particularly warm to Kit, and I certainly didn’t think much of Mary. A death knell in any book, if you ask me.

If I hadn’t spent the majority of the time trying to figure out what the hell was going on, and what the fuck the characters were saying, I might have enjoyed the book better, but unfortunately, the book was trying to be too clever by half.

I know that as readers, we constantly crave for the writer who dare take a risk, writers who dare to be different, but you know, sometimes, less is considerably more.
The premise of the two lead characters in a book being involved in adulterous relationships is fairly ground-breaking I think, well certainly one that I haven’t come across before, and had it been executed better, it may have worked, unfortunately I just couldn’t get past the language thing, the non-existent pace of the book, and the incoherent and (sometimes) clumsy prose. Even the sex scenes were dry as a nun’s c*nt.

Who knows, maybe the book improves later on, but seeing as I’d virtually lost the will to live by page 20, and was wiping the blood from my eyes by page 40, I knew that this was one book that I wouldn’t be finishing anytime soon.

I wish there was a way I could get my £6.99 ($14) back. God I hate feeling cheated. Now, where did I put my beloved Anne of Green Gables…?