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The Gentle Man Paperback – November 26, 2012
About the Author
Michelle was born in Buffalo Children's Hospital in Buffalo, NY, on March 1, 1960, thus depriving her mother of a surf'n'turf dinner. She has spent the last 50+ years trying to make it up to her. Michelle has worked in various jobs over the years including hay baler, cow milker, cleaning woman for the rich lady down the road, waitress, darkroom technician, gas station attendant, horse exerciser, dog sitter, cat feeder, egg picker, and, yes, systems analyst and bartender. She is owned by two cats, one greyhound, and fifteen chickens. But she is also blessed with three daughters, three grandsons, and a very tolerant husband.
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Main character Anastasia "Annie" Trent has spent her post-middle age years searching for love, looking for a way to fit in, and trying to climb out of the financial mire that plagues a lot of middle class women these days. As the book opens, Annie and her husband face foreclosure, job layoff, health issues, and a myriad of other challenges. Annie is tired and about to give up and let her life overwhelm her. She works full time a day job she hates and is about to lose anyway. She tends bar at a local wateringhole by night. She and her husband profess to love each other, but they don't hear each other or share much besides almost constant bickering. As Annie is closing up the bar one night, out of the darkness comes a slightly intimidating, but rather strangely appealing gentleman seeking Annie's help to escape from someone or something pursuing him. Against her better judgment, she takes him home and finds herself becoming caught up in his issues. As she struggles with her own common sense vs his otherworldly magnetism, Annie finds out some things about herself and learns a lot about whether fitting in is the way to go. Annie also learns some things about Murphy's Law and the nature of true love.
The novel is short, almost a novella, and I wondered why Mogil didn't expand her project a bit to offer a little more satisfaction.
While readers, especially women, and especially women of, as they say, a certain age, will find Annie an interesting and wryly humorous character, we're left wondering a lot about her motivation.
Though the characters that people Annie's life could be more three dimensional, and the story arc could be fleshed out to provide a more succulent experience, the sense of place and the vivid portrayal of a very "today" grandmother is fun and evocative. For a quick read, and a nice spot of entertainment for vampire enthusiasts, this little book works. As a first novel, THE GENTLE MAN gives a glimpse of what Mogil may be able to do for readers as she hones her craft.
A word about the mechanics of the text - THE GENTLE MAN, as a digital book, could benefit by reformatting to create a better looking, better-reading text. The spacing is erratic and a little bit blown out, which detracts, I think from the reading of the story. Then, too, it's terribly important for authors, especially in today's publishing competition, to have a professional edit and polishing done before taking a work to the public. It's so normal to want to rush to press and share our work, but the experience benefits from fine-tooth combing. Mogil's book is no exception.
When I sat down to read this book, I asked myself... Is this going to be just another vampire story? After finishing it, I would have to say yes and no. The author does offer us a slightly different take of the cliched creatures. The story is told from the POV of the protagonist, Anastasia Trent; a jaded, 50-something, married woman that works in IT and moonlights as a bartender. Faced with losing her day job, among other struggles of the human condition, Annie picks up all the shifts she can at the bar called The Exchange, where she meets our night-loving gentle man, Domn. This unexpected meeting sparks a series of changes that has Annie's life apart at the seams.
First of all, I need to say that I love vampire stories. It really doesn't matter what aspects of the myths are changed, I'm game. To me, the stories that humanize vamps are as interesting as the ones vilify or heroize. I liked the the overall concept that the authors gives us, not only the vampire side but the smothered mood of Annie's quiet desperation.
With that being said, I didn't really fall for the characters as much as I wanted to. The leading lady is older than I am, and while normally I can empathize with the characters that are very different from myself, I found it hard to do with Annie. I don't fault the author for that really, I just found it hard to keep up the fluctuating logic and emotion she takes us through.
Then, there's Domn. He is our 800-year-old 'gentle man.' In the beginning, I saw potential in his soft-spoken, antiquated manner and had hoped that he would develop into something swoon-worthy (even though his physical description didn't do much for me...but hey, different strokes, right? I just imagined Johnny Depp and kept reading), but for me it just didn't pan out.
The best parts of this book for me were in the fun and snarky tone the writer set throughout the story. I found myself chuckling at some of the quips and sarcasm Annie throws down. The worst part for me was the romance between Annie and Dom. It was hard for me to follow, since I didn't feel the connection between the two. It was almost like Annie didn't feel anything at all for him...but she kept letting him bite her? Didn't quite add up for me. I kind of have the feeling that the age gap between myself and Annie has something to do with my feelings on the love connection here, it's hard to say.
Despite my slight lack of swoonage, I really did enjoy this read. The author definitely has a gift for the written word and an awesome imagination. So send me a “Will Brake For Montague-Mogil” bumper sticker because I'm a fan.
This is a relatively short novel, so won't require a huge time commitment, but the author manages to get us to care about not only her primary characters, but a few of the ancillary ones, as well. There are well-defined personalities for several of them, and it's easy to recognize the ones who return later in the story.
"The Gentle Man" was an entertaining read, and I'm looking forward to picking up the sequel, which I just bought a few minutes ago.
Most recent customer reviews
This book unfortunately was very difficult to finish.Read more
Michelle Montague Mogil’s <I> The Gentle Man</I> is a different and refreshing take on the ‘modern vampires...Read more
It is refreshing to read an original paranormal romance about a middle-aged woman.Read more
Turning more and more frequently to her good friend alcohol for solace, Annie Trent tries to cope with...Read more