Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
“‘The differences are what make us truly special.’ Her thumb strokes my thigh. ‘I like your differences, Wes, even if you find some of them to be embarrassing. They show your character, and I truly like the character I’m seeing.’”
As a reviewer/blogger of romance AND a holder of a master’s in literature, I read romance looking for greater meaning, scouring the writer’s style for eloquence and intentionality to offer their message. Yet, that isn’t really the purpose of blogging/reviewing stories. Sometimes, the goal is simply to offer up a fairly unbiased opinion about a book so that readers will want to read it (or avoid it). Sometimes, reading should just be a pleasurable experience meant to gift you with some time away from the stresses of life. Sometimes, reading is strictly entertainment and you laugh or cry or throw your Kindle across the room. When it comes to Meghan Quinn’s newest book, The Modern Gentleman, you are meant to double-over laughing at the revelation of a burgeoning relationship. And you do…over and over again.
In the world of dating apps and technology that influences relationships, Meghan Quinn’s The Modern Gentleman to a certain degree imagines a modern world with old-fashioned courting tactics. That right there is my first favorite part of this book. Quinn is taking something new and adding something old to it. In doing so, she offers up a plate of good old fashioned wooing, created at the whim of her heroine.
June July Lacy is everything you love about a rom-com heroine: insightful, reflective, quirky, and a challenge for the hero. Thankfully, June’s reticence towards relationships provides the comedic fodder for her burgeoning love connection with Quinn’s hero, Wesley Waldorf Williams. It is June who pushes Wes to embrace a slower-paced dating experience. It is June who “sees” Wes’s strengths in the midst of his weaknesses, and it is June who pushes Wes to be better. She is the true powerhouse of this story.
In contrast, Wes is the conundrum of the story. As the writer of The Modern Gentleman column, he has created a persona who seeks to be debonair, respectful, and always in control. Except that Quinn unravels him so quickly under June’s machinations. In doing this, Quinn points to the idea of “masks,” meaning the personas we create for different situations. Wes tries his column-created dating mask with June but finds out quickly that dating June requires more authenticity. And the true Wes is pretty doofy (June’s word). It is here in this space between authenticity and spuriousness that the magic of The Modern Gentleman happens.
The magic of this book is in the moments where Wes’s intent is undermined by unfortunate circumstances. It is there where I was doubled-over in laughter at the ridiculousness of each situation. Yet, in those moments, there is a sweetness to the romance. It’s where June and Wes find themselves as a couple; it’s where they fall in love. Quinn uses this to assert that love is messy and we must simply laugh in those moments. And so…the reader does. There are many hilariously wonderful moments between June and Wes, and it breathes some fun into a day rife with COVID-19 updates, working from home, homeschooling kids, and searching for hard-to-find groceries.
Ultimately, that is what The Modern Gentleman is. It’s a break from the seriousness of our world. If we can laugh at the ridiculous situations in Wes and June’s relationship, then we can find the funny in our own. If you want to laugh and gobble up a book in one sitting, then you MUST read Meghan Quinn’s The Modern Gentleman.
In love and romance,