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The Gentlemen Quartet #1

Prelude for a Lord

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An awkward young woman. A haunted young man. A forbidden instrument. Can the love of music bring them together . . . or will it tear them apart?

Bath, England—1810

At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician.

In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal.

But when a thief’s interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument . . . with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick.

Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul.

Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief’s desperation builds to a tragic crescendo . . .

352 pages, Paperback

First published August 5, 2014

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About the author

Camille Elliot

14 books194 followers
Regency romance with Zondervan under her pen name, Camille Elliot, Camy writes Christian romantic suspense with Love Inspired Suspense as Camy Tang.

IF YOU WANT TO LEAVE ME A MESSAGE, please go to my other Goodreads author profile, since I don't log into this one very often:

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 248 reviews
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,446 reviews1,337 followers
June 19, 2016
At first it took me a number of chapters to really get lost in this. There were a lot of details to sort through, and even though I was quite interested, it didn't make it to the top of my priority list for a bit.
And then things really started happening. I fell right into the tale at about 25% in and didn't resurface for hours. I loved Alethea (she was quite the brave lady for her time, daring not only to play violin, but especially to make a friendship with her half sister...and still she was feminine and winning.) And then there was Dommick, who struggles to readjust to society after the war, but is drawn to Alethea anyhow and gets actually forced to spend time in her company, even when he doesn't think there's any real danger.
I want more of this. I'm excited to see what happens next with the friends, and I hope very much that Dommick and Alethea play a large part in the subsequent stories! :)
As a violinist, I very much appreciated the deep musical detail in the book. It's always a pleasure to read a story where the author actually knows the emotions of the main characters' occupations, rather than simply giving them something to do.
Profile Image for Beth.
783 reviews318 followers
January 2, 2015
Happy sigh! :) LOVED this! Full review to come.

In Regency England, Lady Alethea is considered an oddity. Twenty-eight and unwed, she also plays the violin, an instrument that is considered most unladylike. She longs for the day that she can claim her inheritance and leave for Italy, where female violin players are accepted and celebrated. When it comes to light that her violin is unique and possibly coveted, she requests the help of Lord Dommick, a musical expert and talented musician himself. In a time when appearance is everything and reputations can make or break the course of a person’s life, Lady Alethea and Lord Dommick must not only deal with the pressures of society, but also of a mysterious thief, who doesn’t mind stooping to dangerous dealings to get the violin. Add into this their own puzzling feelings about the other, and you’ve got a delicious blend of intrigue, mystery, danger and, romance.

I simply adored this story. The setting and the historical context are so well done. The town of Bath, England and the society therein really comes to life in these pages. So much stock is placed on reputation and gossip, not the truth, holds sway. Everyone minds their manners and does their best to avoid scandal, but some don’t mind indulging in rumors about their peers, nor being underhandedly cruel. Even so, once gained, loyalty from true friends is hard to lose. The customs and historical details of such a society are woven seamlessly throughout the story.

The characters are wonderful. Lord Dommick has his own reasons for being reluctant to get involved with Alethea, musically or romantically. He suffers from what today would be Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and as someone who has witnessed the effects first-hand, I found this to add such a great depth to the story. During this time, emotional trauma was not something that was spoken of or understood by “polite society.” Dommick has good reason to be reluctant to get involved with Alethea, musically or romantically, when his reputation has only recently recovered from the rumors of his madness. I applaud the author for tackling this tricky subject and in such a sensitive, well-thought way. A lot of fears are touched on in this story, specifically fear of what others think, fear of letting others close and fear of not being accepted by those you love.

Alethea has past trauma to overcome as well, but finds a welcome safety with Dommick and his friends and family. Though her aunt is a gruff lady, and her distant 12-year-old relative a handful, she finds contentment and happiness with them, all the while realizing that freedom in Italy may not be what she wants after all. Her spiritual journey was quite beautiful and thought-provoking. The faith aspect of the story is woven nicely; I found it to be suited to the time period and realistic for Alethea’s character.

The secondary characters are lovely as well – from Alethea’s gruff Aunt Ebena, her precocious cousin Margaret, to Dommick’s family and his two bitingly witty friends. And the romance, oh, the romance! It so gently grows throughout the story and is reflective of the time period, yet so endearingly done. It truly was beautifully written. I also have to mention the beauty of the writing itself. I found the writing style to be expressive and utterly compelling. The descriptions of the music are almost poetic, and though there was no sound, I was able to hear it through the very words the author used.

I hope that there will be more stories to come from Camille Elliot. It is obvious that she knows the period well and every nuance of the time truly enhances the story. I highly recommend Prelude for a Lord to fans of the Regency era, as well as fans of great historical fiction, and I cannot wait to see what this author pens next.
Profile Image for Tandie.
1,481 reviews227 followers
March 28, 2017
This was a well written CHRISTIAN regency romance. Very light on religious themes, not at all preachy. I have a hard time finding quality writing in this genre. I've also discovered most Christian romances have undeserved high ratings. My guess is that readers feel like a book deserves stars for having a good message or moral teaching, even if the story itself was a plunker. Also, I think a lot of female, low-volume readers who don't review often tend to rate these books. This isn't a jab, before I started writing reviews -or mini book reports - I was a much less discriminating reader.

The characters were alive, I cared about them. Alethea was practical, intelligent, and not overly prone to self pity. I was surprised by how much I came to like her cranky Aunt, much like the Dowager Dutchess on Downton Abby (I love Maggie Smith!) Lord Dommick and his two BFFs were funny and loyal, I just know Ian and Raven(claw) are going to need their own books! War is mentioned and hero has PTSD, but it wasn't delved into heavily. The violin mystery didn't feel forced, it wasn't very intense, but worked well in the story. I totally guessed the villain (because I AM GENIUS) but it didn't matter because I was emotionally invested in the characters.

5 stars for this particular genre, a nice, feel-good love story. A clean read.
Profile Image for Chantel.
137 reviews54 followers
February 15, 2017
If the stories of Sherlock Holmes and Pride and Prejudice had a baby it would look like "Prelude For a Lord". This was such a well done tale of music, love, and mystery, I just loved it!

This story is set in Bath, England in the year of 1810. Lady Althea is twenty-eight and past her prime for courtship. She's never fit into the high society she was born in, so she finds refuge in the music she plays. Her favorite instrument is the violin, however in Recency England the violin is considered to be inappropriate for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Althea practices in secret waiting for the opportunity to flee the continent where she can play without scandal.

But things take a turn for the worst when a theif's interest in her violin endangers her and her family. Althea is determined to find out the origins of her beloved instrument. She enlists the help of dark and brooding Lord Dommick. Scared by war, Dommick dinds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Althea, and finds an entirely new yearning in his soul.

Althea finds her heart drawn toward Dommick because of their shared passion for music... but the theif's desperation to have the mysterious violin may destroy everything.

This book had so much emotion! Camille Elliot did a excellent job of drawing out the characters and their feelings when they played the music they loved. I liked Althea so much! Even thouh she faced so many hardhips and gossip, she didn't let that detour from going after her dreams of playing music. I also liked the mystery surrounding the violin. It was great seeing Althea, Dommick, Ian and Raven work together to solve who was after it. I definitely give this book 4.5 stars!!

I'm so glad that this was my September Hidden Gem. Thanks Beth!
Profile Image for WhiskeyintheJar.
1,319 reviews543 followers
November 11, 2014

Very gentle, calm, and clean regency read. The last 25% or so had too much of the Christian theme for me but quality writing. If looking for a clean regency and don't mind preaching this would probably be a 5star read for you.
Profile Image for Kathy.
2,073 reviews604 followers
August 6, 2020
Charming, mysterious romance

I love when you start a book and can tell right away that you're going to enjoy it. I was sucked into this one right from the start and it kept my attention throughout.

Alethea is older than the typical regency heroine, at twenty-eight she has been on the shelf for awhile now and is just counting down until she reaches thirty and can finally receive her inheritance. She is a talented violin player, something quite scandalous for a women of that time. One day she is approached on the street and asked to sale her violin. She refuses and that's when the mystery begins. The story revolves around her violin and who would want it. She has to turn to a very unlikely source to help her discover her violin's origins. Lord Dommick did not make a good first impression when they met years before and he is the last person she would want to ask for help.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Alethea and Dommick. They were both passionate about music and the violin. I liked how they came to respect one another and watch as a friendship and romance grew out of that respect. I also loved the side characters, I can't wait to read Ian and Raven's stories. I was trying to do some matchmaking for them, but it'll be fun to see who they end up with.

The mystery was interesting and kept me guessing. I did think that the religious elements and some of the Margaret scenes slowed the story down a bit, at least for me. I guess there were times I just wanted to get back to the story and while those side stories were fine and helped Alethea's character development, I thought they kind of took away from the suspense of what was going on.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I really liked the characters and thought it was well written, like I mentioned before I can't wait to read more from this series. I'll be keeping an eye out for more from Ms. Elliot. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys Regency romance!

Romance: Clean
Language: None
Violence: Mild
Religious: Mild-Moderate
Read Again: Yes!

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Artemisia a Regency novel in the tradition of Jane Austen by D.G. Rampton A Rogue About Town (London League #2) by Rebecca Connolly Not a Fine Gentleman (Rogue Hearts, #6) by Donna Hatch
Profile Image for mary liz.
213 reviews18 followers
April 16, 2017
*sighs happily* I loved this book so much.

First things first: I love regency stories. They inevitably draw my mind to Jane Austen, whose stories are some of my top favorites. Also, I play the violin, and anytime there's a story with one, I have to be in on it.

Well. Prelude for a Lord surely won me over. It was such a sweet, touching, and engaging story. Filled with wonderful characters (like Lord Dommick!!), moments of hilarity, thrilling action and mystery, sweet romance, and powerful themes, it completely stole my heart.

SO...bring on the list. *rubs hands together excitedly*

Lovely Things:

- The writing. Ohhhh, yes. The writing was lovely. Not only did the author use proper British spelling (THANK YOU), but she also used evocative and unique descriptions. Simply lovely.

- THE CHARACTERS. Oh my goodness, the characters deserve ALL THE CAPS. You have thoughtful, protective, brooding Lord Dommick (think Mr. Thornton or Mr. Darcy); strong yet tender Lady Alethea; and teasing and witty Lord Ian, to name just a few of my favorites. The characters were well-developed and felt very realistic without being boring.

- The mystery. It was handled really well! I tend to have rather low expectations for mystery elements in romance novels--specifically if they deal with regency time periods. Don't ask me why. *shrugs* Fortunately, I was surprised with how well Camille Elliot wove in the mystery threads. It was engaging and exciting, without being the only focus of the story.

- The romance. YES. We come to this point at last! I loooooooved Alethea and Dommick together. <333 They were so adorable and very much reminded me of Darcy and Elizabeth. Which is always welcome. ;)

- The themes. I really appreciated how the author demonstrated powerful themes of love, salvation, and trust. When handled correctly, these themes are always worth reading about. It's especially nice that the faith elements weren't preachy (in my opinion), as a lot of Christian fiction gets a bad rap for that.

- The music. I adored all the musical undercurrents of the story. Since I play the violin, I deeply appreciate authors who take the time to really delve into the emotion and complexity involved with music. Gahhh, it was wonderful. <3

Not So Lovely Things:

- Not much. The ending felt a bit rushed/unsatisfying, and I wasn't completeeeely sold on how the mystery resolved...but overall, not much to mention.

If you're worried about content, there are some kisses exchanged (not too detailed for me, especially in comparison to other books), as well as mention of people selling women into marriages. It's all tactfully handled, and the characters thankfully weren't spending the entire book thinking about how beautiful the other person was/how badly they wanted to kiss them. Which was refreshing. XP

SO YES! I highly recommend this book. GO FORTH AND READ IT.

4.5 stars!
Profile Image for Loraine.
3,024 reviews
July 21, 2016
SUMMARY: Bath, England 1810

At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician. In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal. But when a thief 's interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument ... with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick.

Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul. Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief's desperation builds to a tragic crescendo . . .

REVIEW: Filled with regency Romance, suspense and action, Camille Elliott (aka Camy Tang) has written a fast paced, page-turning read that definitely kept me entranced from beginning to end.

Alethea is a wonderful protagonist in that she is so steadfast in her dedication to music and the violin. Spinsterhood, evil family, lack of suitors, gossip, ridicule etc. - nothing will stop her love affair with her violin. I found the author's depth of research regarding the music of the time period as well as the history of violins was evident throughout the story. It definitely enriched the story line.

The three members of the quartet each were unique and played a specific role in the development of the plot. Ian always seemed to be there for Alethea with support and friendship. Raven served as friend and protector. While Dommick was there as protector, friend, confidante, detective, and partner. Even though Dommick was fighting his own demons brought on by his war service, Alethea was able to understand his pain from her own experience and help him through it.

It was interesting to see the historical context of the period regarding many social conventions that would seem ridiculous to us today. I enjoyed seeing both Dommick and Alethea grow in their faith as they encountered the many complications brought on by Alethea's violin. A good historical read that included romance, suspense and action. I look forward to reading more of this author's regency fiction.

FAVORITE QUOTES: "We should never allow someone to bully us into doing something against what we know is right, simply because it is easier to give in."

"Fight! Fight for what is important to you. When you give in to evil, you give up a piece of yourself to them."
Profile Image for Joleen.
2,123 reviews1,211 followers
July 24, 2018
Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot
Genre: Historic Fiction, Christian Fiction
Format: Kindle
Timeframe: 1810
Location: Bath, England
Main Characters:
Lady Alethea Sutherton: Musically talented single 28 year old
Lord Dommick: AKA Bayard Terralton AKA “Bay”
Aunt Ebena: Alethea’s aunt who had to take her in
Lucy Purcell: Alethea’s illegitimate sister
Clare Terralton: Bayard’s sister
Lord Ravenhurst, Lord Ian Wynnman: Bay’s best friends and musicians
Margaret Garen: Aunt Ebena’s new 12-year old ward

A Regency Romance I savored. There is so very much to this book that a synopsis is hard. For my own records I tend to write one, though.

I enjoyed the characters so much. The trio of friends and musicians would do anything for each other and their families. The love and protection Bayard had for his sister and mother was touching. Alethea’s love for her sister was inspiring. Little Margaret (distant cousin recently orphaned) was such a cutie. Even the bad guys trying to steal the violin were well written in the story.

There was a faith element in the book, although not overwhelming. It flowed very well with the storyline.

I can recommend this to anyone who might enjoy a bit of a romance and a mystery to boot.

Addendum an hour later...
I’m always interested in the reasoning behind a books name. What goes into naming it? Sometimes symbolic, sometimes its a word or phrase in the book. This book's name is hard for me to figure out. If anyone reads this book, or has read it...let me know your thoughts.
Profile Image for Sarah.
106 reviews
January 3, 2016
I absolutely loved this book! I love the regency era & mystery stories. Having both in one wonderfully written book was a win win.

Alethea plays a violin, not any violin, but a special one that was given to her by her mentor/friend. Though it has sentimental value for her, she can't imagine why someone else would want it. Not made with a typical wood, not very beautiful, & not seemingly to be extremely valuable, why then is someone so set on taking it from her?

The last person she wants help from is Lord Dommick. He is also a violin playing & extremely knowledgeable though & has a lot of contacts. When he is railroaded into helping her they discover they have a lot in common.

I loved how the music was described, through Alethea eyes. For example on page 189: the music softened like the stillness of early morning in the downs... The music built like a storm, first with the pitter of raindrops, then the blustering winds, then the crashing thunder and blistering sheets of water flattening the grass....

Alethea & Bayard were great characters & I liked the supporting characters as well. I hope that we will see books about the rest of the quartet, & that they will feature the rest of the characters more also. Except Mr. Morrish, I could do without him. I already have an idea who Clare might end up with :-D, I hope.

If you love mysteries & the Regency Era I would highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Carissa (Regency Woman).
261 reviews50 followers
August 17, 2015
To read the entirety of this review, visit my blog Bookshelves and Daydreams.

My Take in 3 Parts

The Theme
This tale really is about two people with different griefs and sufferings finding one another. Alethea and Dommick discover they can help one another heal, because each of their sufferings is a private embarrassment to themselves, Dommick especially. How did you treat a man with PTSD in 1810? When the nightmares began after he returned from fighting Bonaparte, what did his family do? They didn't know what else to do with him and so he was labeled the Mad Baron because he did not know how to face the horror he saw in battle. He is a strong man with a fierce countenance and a determined loyalty to his family, but he only views himself as weak because of the nightmares that attack him at any given time. He does not live up to societal expectations and so his entire family's reputation is at risk because of that "weakness."

It's hard living up to the expectations of others, but even harder when those expectations go contrary to our own nature. Alethea loves to play the violin. It is the height of her pleasure, her purest moment of joy, the time when she feels the most liberated. Yet it isn't proper for a young woman in 1810 to play the violin because it requires so much physical movement that draws improper attention to the body.

Alethea must stand firm against the tide of judgement that threatens to wash her away. There is nothing improper in her behavior. She is absolutely proper, just a trifle odd according to societal standards.

It is an exquisite theme of healing and understanding the pain of others.

The Characters
Every single lead character has become family to me. I grieved with Dommick on the most intimate levels, feared for Alethea and Clare's (Dommick's sister) safety, laughed at Lord Ian's antics, and experienced a yearning in my secret soul to know a man like Lord Ravenhurst. Dommick's mother, Alethea's aunt, little obnoxious Margaret who is Alethea's cousin, everyone spoke to me in some way. There isn't a single lead character that I disliked, and that for me is absolutely rare.

But let's start with Alethea. She is like a sister to me because we are like one another. I have felt the same uncertainty she feels because she is just different enough to be socially unacceptable. I love who I am, the interests I have, the views I hold most dear, and the habits I maintain. But I am different from other women in their early 30s and there are times when I quail with fear because I know that I am different and wonder if I should change. The answer, of course, is no. I am who I am, with my strengths and talents, and the Lord loves me for them. Why should I change them? Alethea is the same, with her love of the violin and long energetic walks, and her determination to cling to the things she loves most. Her vision for her future alters after she meets Dommick, of course, but he does not change her. And I love that.

As for Dommick, I adored him. His relationship with Alethea took the entire book to mature. It did not suddenly leap from mild irritation to passionate adoration. It was slow and gentle, just as one would expect to happen with love. He is strong in his protection of his mother and sister, values Lord Ian and Lord Raven as his dearest friends, and finds his way back out of the darkness that threatens to engulf him in this novel. He felt real, authentic, more real than any other male lead I've encountered in this past year. I feel like I know him, the innermost part of his heart and mind, the strengths and the weaknesses. It is a marvelous feeling.

Now on to Lord Ian and Lord Raven. Aww, Lord Ian. Such a foolhardy madcap of the first order, and yet endearing all the same. He is the daredevil, the one who flirts with anything in skirts, and the one who leaps into action. He is charming and fun and crazy, and I like him, but it is already Lord Raven that has captured my heart. It is Lord Raven who supported Dommick during his hardest times. It is Lord Raven who observes and supports quietly, all while fully prepared to unleash his dry wit upon friends and family. He is calm and cool, and yet at the same, full of yearning for something. I even anticipate a conflict between Lord Ian and Lord Raven in regards to Dommick's sister Clare in a future book. Lord Raven keeps his feelings close, unwilling to share them with just anyone, but I sense his attraction to Clare. He may just be too late. He is the ideal Regency hero, somewhat like Mr. Darcy and yet not, if that makes any sense at all.

The Writing
Camille Elliot is masterful at her craft. I would not change a single thing in all of Prelude for a Lord unless it were to draw it out even longer. I wanted to never emerge from her powerful prose. Every time I picked up this book, after 2 or 3 pages, it was like I sank between the covers and was there, in Bath in 1810, knowing and loving these people. Now that is the epitome of powerful writing!
3,027 reviews1,732 followers
September 1, 2020
I am in Regency Heaven! From the clever title to the gorgeous cover right through to the final word...sheer bliss. The kind of read that makes you giddy with anticipation and has you skipping over pages with glee as the real world fades into oblivion. You're so convinced that you are in Regency England that you ring for the maid to bring you tea and cakes only when she doesn't show you come crashing back to reality with such velocity it hurts. It's that kind of absorbing read.

Alethea is a captivating heroine. Enough of a maverick to make her interesting without losing those oh-so-proper ladylike qualities a woman of genteel breeding must possess. :-) Dommick is her brooding hero. He's surrounded by a darkness that keeps him alluringly aloof. And then there's the mystery. The danger. A host of amazing secondary characters including a slimeball villain. And the romance...a fainting couch is a necessity for this read -- you'll be swooning that much!

Stunning and brilliant and too good to miss.
Profile Image for Staci.
1,789 reviews541 followers
March 27, 2015
Well done Regency! I very much enjoyed the story of Alethea and Bay. The mystery of the violin and Margaret were both delightful pieces of the story.

I look forward to the second Regency romance...please tell me there is one. Clare and Ian's story is begging to be told.
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,644 reviews3,638 followers
November 15, 2019
About this book:

“An awkward young woman. A haunted young man. A forbidden instrument. Can the love of music bring them together . . . or will it tear them apart?
Bath, England—1810
At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician.
In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal.
But when a thief’s interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument . . . with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick.
Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul.
Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief’s desperation builds to a tragic crescendo . . .”

Series: Book #1 in “The Gentlemen Quartet” series.

Spiritual Content- Scriptures are read, thought over, & mentioned; Prayers; Many talks about God, listening to Him, having a divine relationship, & God loving us; Church/Chapel going; Dommick prays and has a faith, but Alethea has not had good experiences in church and believes God abandoned her in her time of need; *Spoiler* *End of Spoiler*; Mentions of God & faiths; Mentions of prayers & praying; Mentions of Bibles & Bible reading; Mentions of churches, chapels, church going, services, & rectors; A few mentions of Christians & sinners; A couple mentions of thanking God;
*Note: “who the devil are you?” is said once and “Good Lord” is said twice; Hell is mentioned three times: “where he had seen the gates of hell”, Bayard says he returned from fighting Napoleon, he had a “hellish hole in his sanity” and a person says another person made their “life a living hell”; Different gods are mentioned (Roman god, Apollo, god of the sea, Poseidon, and a man comments “the gods have cursed me”); A man believes that an instrument has the power of the emotions from its previous owner.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘blast it’, four ‘idiot’s, and four ‘stupid’s; A few mentions of curses (said, not written); Dommick has PTSD nightmares of fighting in a war (up to semi-detailed); Alethea has flashbacks of her brother breaking her fingers & the pain (up to semi-detailed); Fighting, pain, blood/bleeding (semi-detailed); Kidnappings, being held at gunpoint, gunshots, being shot/being shot at, injuries, blood/bleeding, & pain (up to semi-detailed): Being grabbed, pain, & bruises (up to semi-detailed); Many mentions of thieves/intruders & threats; Many mentions of gossip & rumors; Mentions of wars, fighting, seeing deaths of people and animals, blood, & nightmares of it all (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of a man who abused & killed his wife (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a twelve-year-old wanting to stab someone & enjoying the bloodthirsty parts of a play; Mentions of kidnappings & being tied-up; Mentions of bullies & fighting; Mentions of gambling halls & debts; Mentions of lies, lying, & liars; Mentions of hunting & guns; A few mentions of being ordered to kill horses in a war & Dommick not being able to do it (barely-above-not-detailed); A couple mentions of an accident & death; A couple mentions of eye rolling; A couple mentions of a drunk; A mention of a corpse; A mention of pulling the legs off of frogs for fun; A mention of an alcoholic drink; A mention of vomiting;
*Note: Mentions of Alethea’s brother and cousin trying to sell her into marriages; A couple mentions of women marrying men twenty and thirty years their senior.

Sexual Content- hand kisses (up to semi-detailed), two not-detailed kisses, two semi-detailed kisses, and three detailed kisses (one is called “sizzling” in the discussion questions); Touches & Warmth (semi-detailed); Noticing, Nearness, & Smelling (up to semi-detailed); Lying in bed with a spouse (barely-above-not-detailed); Alethea father had an illegitimate daughter & Alethea is very close with her half-sister; Mentions of marital intimacy & a marriage of convenience not being intimate (nothing is detailed, only questionable part is when bed sheets are ruffled and a bit of blood in put on the sheets to prevent servants from gossiping); Mentions of a man who tried to force himself upon a lady and confessed that he wanted to ruin her, so she’d be forced to many him (she punched him and ran out before anything happened); Mentions of another man trying to force himself on her, but she is saved before anything happens; Mentions of a man trying to kiss a lady and getting slapped for attempting; Mentions of those who believe that it’s unfeminine for a woman to play a violin and that it draws eyes to their bodies; Mentions of men leering at women and lingering at different areas (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of scandals & reputations; Mentions of flirting; A few mentions of a marriage of convenience; A couple mentions of wanting to have a man’s children; A couple mentions of kisses & kissing; A couple mentions of rumors of a maid being a prostitute; A mention of a rumor of a woman returning home in the wee hours of the morning with her gown mussed; A mention of a man possessing his wife; A mention of a young girl believing kissing is disgusting; Love, falling in love, & the emotions;
*Note: A mention of a woman’s “magnificent bosom” threatening to fall out of her dress; A mention of kicking a man in a well-aimed place.

-Alethea Sutherton, age 28
-Bayard Terralton, Baron Dommick
P.O.V. switches between them.
Set in 1810 {Prologue 1809}
340 pages

Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- One Star
Early High School Teens- One Star (and a half)
Older High School Teens- Two Stars (and a half)
My personal Rating- Two Stars (and a half)
This book had me intrigued by the back cover with the mentions of mysteries and violins. The music portions of this novel were so interesting and I would find the piece to listen to while reading. It was helpful at times that there was a cast of characters at the front of the book as there’s quite a few names (and titles) to remember.
I enjoyed many different aspects of this book, so I’m disappointed to give this book only a 2.5 rating. Because of all the kisses and mentions towards the end, though, my enjoyment wavered and that affected my rating. If this series is continued, I will most likely try the next book, but I do hope there won’t be as much detailed kissing.

Link to review:

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
*I received this e-book for free from the Publisher for this review.
Profile Image for Cheryl Olson.
225 reviews100 followers
September 3, 2014
Admittedly, I am a fan of “all things Jane”- Jane Austen, Jane Eyre and yes ,even Jane Erstwhile from Austenland. And so to see another wonderful “Regency era” novel called Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot, arrive on the scene , well let’s just say it very much pleases my Austen-like sensibilities.

We meet 28 year old Alethea Sutherton, our heroine and a virtual spinster in this time frame, as she is unmarried and absolutely not wishing to be, which of course makes her an unconventional character from the get-go. Instead Alethea’s dreams are to be a master at the violin and move to Italy where she might study under true masters without ridicule. The violin of course was not seen as an instrument fit for women to play as it was considered unladylike, because an elbow might be seen and that in Regency England is a bit scandalous. Enter in Lord Dommick and his quartet who is down one player due to the war, , also a violin player and of the opinion that women should not be playing the violin…until he actually hears Alethea play. And even, Lord Dommick or “Bay” as his friends call him can see the depth of her talent. One element that adds to her playing is the unique and beautiful sound of her violin. It turns out that there is a mystery surrounding this violin as someone wants to steal it and works very hard to do so. As this puts Alethea and her family in harms way, Bay steps in to help protect her and a relationship starts to form.

There are many aspects to this story that I really enjoyed, obviously the conflict of the two main characters and the things they have to do to overcome to even begin a relationship. Bay is a man that is working so hard to hide secrets as he struggles with some post traumatic stress from his time in the war and fights to keep control in all situations. Because of times where he couldn’t, a former fiancé dubbed him the “Mad Baron” and he has been fighting that stigma and trying to do everything he could to right his family’s standing in society especially for his sister’s sake so that she would have a chance to marry well. Alethea on the other hand has all but given up caring what those around her think of her and only wants to escape to Italy where she can pursue her musical dreams. And so Bay ,who thinks he will never marry because of his secrets and Alethea .who has no idea of ever marrying and is only biding her time until she can leave for Italy , somewhow make an unlikely couple.

I thought this story was very well executed and had all the elements that I love in a good Regency novel plus a little bit more. In the Regency novels that I have enjoyed, it usually centers around a strong female character who is making the best of her situation which is usually not an optimal one for her based on the time frame and the fact that she is a woman. But through her strength of character, she is able to pull through. We definitely see that in the character of Alethea . Besides Alethea, Camille Elliot manages to give us other really interesting characters with some good depth to them, witty dialogue, and a lot of excitement and mystery surrounding the violin thrown in for good measure. I really enjoyed how both characters seemed to really help and compliment each other just by being who they were. And so I would recommend this one to those “fans of all things Jane” like myself. It was a lovely read!

I was given a complimentary copy of this novel by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

5 stars
Profile Image for Heidi.
318 reviews65 followers
April 11, 2015
Clean Regency Romance

4.5 stars
I've been in the mood for a good Regency and Prelude to the Lord fit the bill just perfectly. I loved the sweet romance and beautiful story telling by Miss Elliot and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is just book one. I would LOVE to hear Raven, Ian, and Claire's stories!
Alethea, our heroine, has a tragic past and now her "present" is full of mystery and danger. Bayard, our Hero, is haunted by his past as well but is truly a knight in shining armor. He is surrounded by amazing friends and family and he wants to protect them above all else. They are both extremely talented musicians...and together with their friends, find themselves in a dangerous search for answers about Alethea's mysterious violin that "our villain" is willing to kill for.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I did feel like it was a little slow in a few places, but for the most part it was a 5 star read. The Love story was adorable. The only thing that really bothered me was that they NEVER had police involved throughout all the danger...attempted murder...kidnapping..etc! Maybe the "constables were all idiots...but surely they should have been involved. :) I was waiting for their assistance I guess. :) Again the only thing I would have liked is MORE. :) If it's the "end", and not a series, I will definitely be disappointed to not have the other characters receive their happily ever after.

Clean Romance
Christian fiction
Profile Image for Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...).
1,517 reviews449 followers
March 9, 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the flawed yet endearing characters that worked their way into my heart! Alethea and Dommick are both prejudiced against the other due to an unfortunate meeting in their younger days, but as they work together to solve the mystery they are alternately attracted and frustrated by their strong personalities which eventually learn to play in harmony. The mystery wasn't an easy one to solve since there weren't many clues to work from and I felt Dommick's helplessness as he came up against one dead end after another. I admired Alethea's independence and resolution to not give up her passion for the violin even in the face of harsh social criticism. The friendships she forges with Dommick's close-knit group of musical peers is enjoyable and I hope the author will continue writing novels for those characters :) This is a book I'll definitely be re-reading in the future.

(Thank you to Zondervan Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Profile Image for Shantelle.
Author 2 books358 followers
October 1, 2016
Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot was so, so good! I'm in love with Regency era novels! This book had amazing characters, tender romance, intrigue & suspense, deep emotions, authentic faith, and a generous musical theme. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Lord Dommick was certainly a "Mr. Darcy" type character, which I loved! ^_^ I also loved Alethea Sutherton, our other POV character. Such a stirring, poignant tale. The parts about violins and soulful music were captivating. The faith theme came more at the end, but it built up to it throughout the book, and reached a beautiful crescendo - so meaningful.

There were a couple kisses exchanged, a bit about a marriage of convenience, and some mentions of scandals. I would recommend to 18 and up.

Overall, this read was so worth it! I eagerly wait to read more by Camille Elliot! I dearly hope Prelude for a Lord is not the only book in this series, THE GENTLEMEN QUARTET. Write stories for Ian and Ravenhurst, please, Camille! *smiles*
Profile Image for Nicole.
Author 13 books127 followers
December 23, 2014
An exquisite romance with a delightful descant of wit and a marvelous crescendo of intrigue! I loved the quick resolution for every tense situation, and that there were plenty to keep me turning pages. I was thrilled to discover that this is planned as the first in a series about the beloved "Quartet" and I look forward to reading each of the coming novels!
Profile Image for Brittany .
2,298 reviews148 followers
December 9, 2014
Alethea and Dommick are two people who love creating music, particularly on their violins. But they are also two people with things from their past that haunt them and make them unable to truly trust in love. This engaging story is set in the Regency time period in England, full of strict social structure and rules. Add in a mysterious foe, who will do anything to procure Alethea’s precious violin, and you have a truly enjoyable story filled with love, deception, and danger.

When I first began reading Prelude for a Lord, it took me a little time to get all of the characters straight. There are quite a few of them. But once I reasoned out who the various characters were, I realized that each one was important to the telling of the story.

I really liked Alethea and Dommick, who each had things that hung over them. For Alethea, she has only truly been loved by two people, one is her half-sister and the other was a woman who was a music mentor to Alethea. She certainly never received any affection by the male members of her family. Learning to trust Lord Dommick is tricky when men have only treated her cruelly. This has also impacted Alethea spiritually. She has only ever witnessed hypocritical people who claim to love God and then treat others badly. She has much to learn in this book about God’s true love, and the process she goes through is beautiful.

Lord Dommick simply wants to shed the past horrors of the battlefield that have their hold over him, and he hopes to give his sister a successful society season. Both are easier said than done. Dommick is such a great character. He is strong, but feels weak in many ways due to things he witnessed in battle. The way he cares for his mother and sister, and truly loves them, speaks volumes to Alethea about the kind of man he is.

I really loved this book! It became so enthralling once Alethea and Dommick were thrown together to investigate the history of Alethea’s very old and precious violin. Dommick’s friends provide lightheartedness to the story and the attraction between Alethea and Dommick is wonderful. The romance that builds between these two is just perfect. There are so many sigh-worthy moments between them!

The mystery is intriguing throughout the story, culminating in an exciting conclusion. I loved every path this story took and I am excited to see that this is the first book in the Gentlemen Quartet series. Thoroughly enjoyable. (5 stars)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review.

You can read this review on my blog at:
Profile Image for Rachel.
353 reviews30 followers
June 26, 2015
Lady Alethea Sutherton is 28, past her prime in Regency England standards. She is considered unladylike because she plays the violin. She is kicked out of her house after the death of her brother and sent to live with her gruff Aunt Ebena. Some would say life has not treated her kindly. The only people in her life who have loved her and shown her kindness is her illegitimate half sister, Lucy and the kind neighbor lady who taught her to play the violin and then left it to her in her will.

Lord Dommick, Bayard, an expert violinist himself, has suffered what today would be known as PTSD after serving in the war. His ex-fiance had spread rumors that he had gone mad and he is still in some ways rebuilding his reputation as well as trying to maintain the reputations of his mother and sister so that his sister can have a good coming out season.

When a mysterious stranger accosts Lady Alethea and strongly urges her to sell her violin to his boss, she determines to find out why. Against her will, Lady Alethea ends up working with Lord Dommick to research the origin and value of the violin.

I really liked Alethea and Bayard's characters. Both of them, despite what life has thrown at them or maybe because of it, have strong characteristics and strive to make life better for their loved ones. As they get to know each other they can't help but fall in love! :)

I also enjoyed the secondary characters. I loved Lord Dommick's friends, the Quartet. Can't wait to see which one the next book is about! I also liked Lady Alethea's sister Lucy. She was very supportive of Alethea and I'm glad she got a better position and her own man. And even though Aunt Ebena was gruff she played an important role in Alethea's life and maybe even came to love her. And then there was the surprise addition of the distantly related 12 year old child to the household. Children are good for bringing comic relief and special warmth to a book.

I loved this gentle, sweet love story with a touch of mystery and danger running through it. Camille Elliot did an excellent job of building the romance and suspense. A wonderful read!
Profile Image for Judy.
3,049 reviews
January 4, 2021
Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot
Early 1800s England was not very accepting of women playing certain instruments. Specifically the violin. Alethea Sutherton was the type of female who when told not to do something...did it. She excelled at playing the violin, even if only within her own home. A violin that was from one of two people who ever had shown her love, she now finds her treasure the target of a thief.

Lord Dommick, Bayard, is scarred by war and now his family has been scarred as well. Nasty rumors from his former betrothed has put his sister’s coming out into a poor light and he will do what he can to restore his families reputation. The last thing he needs is to be tangled up with the prickly female violinist who is already shunned by the London ton.
As important as family is, honor and protecting is also a strong trait in Bayard. He cannot let Alethea battle the unknown enemy alone. He also is too honorable to allow any woman to be entangled with his scarred heart.

A romance with suspense tangled throughout the story. A young woman who goes against the norm to love her base-born sister and find solace in her own musical talent. The story keeps the reader unsure who the villain is. It also reminds the reader that both in fiction and real life how easy it is to try and get by on our own instead of turning to God. A wonderful read. I hope that we will see more books about the secondary characters who also came to life in this story.
**Received a copy through the publisher for an honest review
Profile Image for Cara Putman.
Author 64 books1,655 followers
October 2, 2014
I enjoy novels set in Regency England, so I decided this would be the perfect book to take with me on a recent trip to England. I loved this story about a young woman who was past her prime for marriage (at that time!), yet she was so secure in who she was...partly because she goes so counter to her times. An accomplished musician, she has to hide her best love (the violin) because it's unseemly for a woman to play the instrument. However, when someone takes an inordinate interest in her violin, she seeks help from a man who scorned her interest in the violin years ago during her season.

This book has a compelling romance filled with insurmountable roadblocks. The mystery is rich -- one I thoroughly enjoyed. And the setting is layered in such a way I felt like I was transported into the story world...and it's one I want to return to again. There was something very fitting about reading this book while in England.

I highly recommend it for those who love regency novels and for those who love historical romances with a strong mystery.
Profile Image for Maddux.
613 reviews7 followers
May 26, 2017
Expensive: $7.99 on Kindle

Update: I found this on Kindle a few days ago for $3.99. Bought it. Loved it.

I'm a fan of Regency Era stories. This book had a great deal happening at all times, and it centered around the heroine's unique violin.

I'm also a tight-wad, so I'm glad I got it at a reduced price.

Lovely heroine, very nice hero. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Becky.
379 reviews12 followers
January 24, 2016
The 5 stars should tell all that I looooovvved this book! I loved her writing style, humor, and her descriptions of things and how music plays such a great role in human expression and understanding. I play the violin, as does the heroine, and I had to keep stopping myself from going down stairs to play a bit just to experience what she describes.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,175 reviews79 followers
May 30, 2016
Thank you Sarita for a great read. I love regency and this one did not disappoint. I love this time period and the writing was very good. Can't wait to read another one.
Profile Image for Jessica.
242 reviews1 follower
December 13, 2015
Prelude For A Lord was a Regency, Christian, mystery book that delighted and engrossed me from the very first page. I absolutely loved it! The characters were great and it was just my kind of mystery too. No murders or crime scenes to look over, just an older single young women with a violin she inherited from a friend that turns out to be the cause of a recent break in.

Alethea's character was so beyond wonderful. I loved her personality, defying the norm in regency England. I love how her life is already upside down when we meet her and then goes beyond that, putting her far outside of her comfort zone and what she imagined her life would be like. The fact that she was both adhering to societies rules and yet, choosing to wisely veer from those traditions when her heart led her to made for fascinating reading. You could never tell if she was going to be polite to someone or stick them with a great comeback. Unpredictable but not over the top, she possessed both independence and maturity, causing her to be a character that could choose when and if she wanted to break the rules and having the insight to know when it was an acceptable time to do so. I loved watching her spiritual journey unfold as well. This was one book where the writer didn't lather on the Christianity but rather, waited for the right times to share. I really appreciated that the author allowed things to unfold naturally rather than just resorting to preachy monologues. Just like in real life, God was in the background just waiting for Alethea to finally be ready so He could draw her to Him. It was beautiful.

Baron Dommick was a wonderful leading man. He had all the charms of an Austen hero and yet, I felt he had a bit more depth because the book was written from his perspective also. So, unlike in Austen works, we were able to see glimpses of his thoughts, emotions, etc. rather than just having to rely on the heroine alone to direct the story. I like Dommick. Despite his first impressions with our heroine, I liked him a lot. And I only grew to like him more as I read past those first chapters. He was a stronghold for his family and his friends but he still had flaws and his own fears to overcome.

I liked the contrast between the two main characters. Alethea lived her life freely, not really caring what others thought of her. Dommick on the other hand was much more of a rule follower. They balanced each other nicely, I thought. When Dommick was at a loss, Alethea could usually come up with a way to fix or patch up situations quickly because of her easygoing, limitless personality while Dommick was more the foundation and support that Alethea could rely on when things became hard to cope with.

The one and only thing I didn't like was a subject that came up near the end of the book. Everything had been going swimmingly in my opinion. I loved this book and was highly considering adding it to my collection (I still am). Unfortunately something came up which never would have been added to an Austen book - the wedding night. Now granted, there are a lot of touchy subjects in Austen's work but she always handled them with poise and grace, saying only enough to imply her meaning. In “Prelude For A Lord” it wasn't really implied so much as it just hit me over the head with a cinder block. There I was reading how characters, due to unfortunate circumstances, were having to marry each other and wham! The awkwardness of the wedding night. I shook my head. Right, of course. Why hadn't I seen this coming? I just... wasn't expecting it. Not in a regency book. Not in a book that reminded me so much of Austen. It had been so clean all the way through that I just wasn't ready for it. Despite my initial shock, the whole thing was handled rather well. But still, as a single girl... so awkward to read about. What was more frustrating was that it wasn't even really necessary to add. She could have said even less in my opinion. And unfortunately, if you skipped over the few pages that contained this subject matter, you then missed the conversation Dommick and Alethea had which finally revealed why he was called the mad baron – a plot mystery that I was very keen to discover. It was a bit disappointing if I'm being perfectly honest. Married women probably wouldn't care but as a single girl, I was uncomfortable reading/skimming through it.

I have to say, despite that little hiccup, the book as a whole was pretty excellent. The historical aspects were woven in perfectly with the violin mystery, the romance and Christian message. It was one of the best regency books I've read in years.
Profile Image for Michelle Sedeño.
262 reviews80 followers
October 8, 2014
Originally reviewed on The Escapist.


This is my first time to read a Christian fiction so I'm not sure how would I think about this book as a whole and how would I rate it since I don't have experience on this genre before. Despite of this, I know I liked this book based on my reading progress and thoughts.

Alethea, twenty-eight, has grown with bad experiences with men, no thanks to her father and brother. She focused on her sister, her passion in playing the violin--even if their society considered it unladylike--and distrust men all her life. But she have no choice but to associate with Lord Dommick (a man who she despised since their first encounter ten years ago) who seems like the only one who can help her uncover the past of her violin that interests a certain man.

Alethea was a strong woman who can stand on her own and brush off the way people think about her, and I liked that about her. Lord Dommick was, too, likable because of his love and care of his sister and mother. A real gentleman, despite how Lady Alethea treats him. I liked that their romance grew on the story. It was something I knew would last. It was bumpy yet sweet and romantic.

At first I thought this book primarily focus on the love story but the violin was more like the center. I still take that as a good thing because it was the thing that gave color to this book. That gave way for things to happen, especially the good. Like a root that gave branches to the tree. Everything that happened was because of this mysterious old violin. Especially when the two main characters, Alethea and Lord Dommick, realized (separately) that God was there all along, loving her/him, and taking care of her/him no matter what happens in their lives. There are Bible verses appropriate for the story and I know can relate to us.

When I said I know I liked this book based on my (1) reading progress, I meant because I found myself anticipated on the next page. I wanted to know more and I cannot sit still until I read it. (2) My thoughts..well it was a really good story and a real page-turner. It was thrilling and a good experience for a first Christian fiction read. It reminds me I should read more of this genre (add historical here).

*Thank you so much to HarperCollins Christian Publishing and BookLook Bloggers for providing me an ecopy of this book in exchange of an honest review!
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