Review: A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan

To seal their bond, they must break the ties that bind.

Painfully introverted and rendered nearly mute by a heavy stammer, Lord George Albert Westin rarely ventures any farther than the club or his beloved gardens. When he hears rumors of an exotic new orchid sighted at a local hobbyist’s house, though, he girds himself with opiates and determination to attend a house party, hoping to sneak a peek. He finds the orchid, yes…but he finds something else even more rare and exquisite: Michael Vallant. Professional sodomite.

Michael climbed out of an adolescent hell as a courtesan’s bastard to become successful and independent-minded, seeing men on his own terms, protected by a powerful friend. He is master of his own world—until Wes. Not only because, for once, the sex is for pleasure and not for profit. They are joined by tendrils of a shameful, unspoken history. The closer his shy, poppy-addicted lover lures him to the light of love, the harder his past works to drag him back into the dark. There’s only one way out of this tangle. Help Wes face the fears that cripple him—right after Michael finds the courage to reveal the devastating truth that binds them.

Albert/Wes (same person) and Michael were surprisingly good together. Their meet-cute was pretty funny and definitely left me wanting to know more about these two men, Michael in particular. After a quick bout of mistaken identity an immediate connection is felt and these two quickly became drawn to each other. What I really liked was even though that connection was immediate, the progression of deeper emotions occured throughout the book, with love not being confessed until they had been through their own journeys.

I found the main focus of this book to be about their individual healing and how they had to overcome their vices/pasts alone before they would work together. That being said they both played a part in each other's healing.

There wasn't a heap of sex, but Cullinan does write great sex and this book is no different.

There are a couple of reasons this book rated lower for me, the first one being the major theme of child abuse with no trigger warnings. There are partial on-page abuse scenes, (as in detailed memories, recollections etc) of pre-pubescent boys getting sexually assaulted. Rather horrifying. Definitely needs some trigger warnings.

There was also a really weird happily ever after for the time period. Still very happy though!


Wes’ family all knew he was gay, basically hated him his whole life and then at the end of the book, they're all like, 'Whatever, it's all fine, come over for dinner and bring that fine man with you’, yea…. I don't buy it. I would have bought apologies and then indifference, not a happy family.


All in all I enjoyed the read, it definitely needs some trigger warnings but it went by quickly and was a very unique story.

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