Miss Emily Price is in desperate need of funds. With her family estate mortgaged and her young brother not yet of age, it falls to her to save her family from financial ruin. What is a lady with no title or connections to do? Auction her virginity at one of London’s most notorious brothels.
Heir to a baronetcy, James Hughes has always been caught between two worlds. His fortune and education help him pass for a member of the ton but his career as an engineer and his family ties stop him from actually becoming one. Quiet and serious-minded, he knows he needs to marry into the peerage for his sake, as well as, his family’s. But when he finds himself by chance at an auction in London’s infamous Scarlet Salon he throws his ambitions to the wind to bed the lovely Miss Price.
It doesn’t take long for Emily to lose her heart to her dry-humored, generous benefactor. But when their affair goes public in one of the most scandalous newspapers in town, Emily must decide if she must cast her feelings aside and leave James to pursue his societal ambitions, and James must decide if family and duty are worth giving up the chance of love.
Scandal, manipulation and ambition hinder the lovers’ path to happiness. Only they can decide if love is worth fighting for.
RA Winter’s Review: 4-Stars
The Gentleman’s Bidding, Scarlet Salon Book 1 by Jean Wilde
A Regency romance. Emily is in dire trouble. Her stepfather’s estate is in deep financial ruin because of a beau she once had. To make amends, she sells the only thing she has of value.
At an auction–in a brothel.
As the story continues, a loan shark holds her secrets, ones that he’ll divulge to the public if she doesn’t help him.
James, the man she locked eyes on as she descended the stairs ‘buys’ her. Thus, the sexy first encounter and their journey to be together. But, can they? Seriously? After a public event, held at a brothel, to auction her virginity? Momma won’t like that.
This book is steamy, there is a fair bit of sex inside that is missing from other historical romances. There’s romantic tension, and of course, everyone who is anyone saw the newspaper article about the auction, so how can Emily and James ever be together?
The writing was a little heavy but that is to be expected in the genre. The plot throughout the story winds around two couples in a nice way. It followed a natural set of events. There were some things that were a bit far-fetched, but that would require you to know the time period inside and out. For those of you who are just getting your feet wet, this one’s for you. If you are bothered by 50-pound notes given for a couple of minutes work, and an exorbitant amount of money being paid for her virginity, this one isn’t for you. I also found it odd that the heroine curtsied to a prostitute.
That aside, the story engrossed me. I felt for the heroine. Emily was before her time, allowed to manage an estate and its lack of funds. She carried her stepfather’s suicide in her heart and tried to make amends for her beau’s part in his ruin.
I liked James too. And to the writer’s credit, I even liked Mr. Turner at the end. She did a wonderful job with his character development. Yes, I’d recommend it to those who want to start a series and who are not so interested in the implausible but in the story.
Sherry Terry’s Review: 4.8-Stars for Historical Romance and 4.5-Stars for Regency
I love historical romance, and A Gentleman’s Bidding by Jean Wilde took me back to my passion for some wonderful storytelling. The cover is great for the genre, and while scrolling for a new book, I would stop to take a closer look and not be disappointed.
The characters are well done and believable for a historical. I think Jean did a good job with the setting and world building. I could imagine it all. While this is a very good historical romance, I do not feel it is specifically a Regency. A few things jumped out at me that if I was editing it, I would have looked up.
However, A Gentleman’s Bidding is a great historical romance. The sex was good, and while it could use a little more of the 5 senses, it was hot. The plot is a trope that’s been done a lot in this genre, a young woman of good breeding loses everything because of a man, her family is about to be put on the streets until she auctions herself off at a gentleman’s club for the elite. Jean Wilde did a great job of making the trope hers and put a new spin on it worth the read.
As a historical romance, I give the book 4.8-stars. It’s a little backstory heavy, and some of the sentences could be stronger without the weaker and filtering words. Because this book does not read as a true Regency, I give it 4.5-stars.
I recommend A Gentleman’s Bidding to anyone who enjoys historical romance.