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Summary

For Frank Harte, impoverished schoolteacher, January in London means a yearly fight to survive. A former soldier, his injuries have barred him from all but the lowest paid posts, and the cold incapacitates him still more.

The chance to work as tutor to Viscount Gracewater, son of the famous big-game hunting Earl, comes as a lifeline to Frank. The Earl’s Knightsbridge mansion is huge, elegant - and, most temptingly, kept warm from basement to attics. Viscount “Scapegrace” Gracie, used to foreign climes, is delicate. He’s also wild, charming, and only five years younger than Frank himself. His innocence and feckless good nature soon endear him to the quiet, reserved tutor. But the Earl’s house is a dark one beneath its bright veneer, and the Viscount is in the thrall of unscrupulous Arthur Dickson, a handsome, brutal parasite who’ll stop at nothing to retain his power over Gracie’s heart and soul. 

Edwardian secrets burgeon as Frank begins a battle to free his student, confronting along the way the knowledge that he’s losing his own heart to this brilliant and beautiful young man.

©2021 Decent Fellows Press (P)2021 Decent Fellows Press

What listeners say about A Gentleman Tutor

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enjoyable

I'm new to the historical romance trope and this author. I really really liked Frank and his injuries are what made this story unique and great. Lots of subplots to overwhelm such a short story that could have been used for more relationship development between Frank and Gracie as I didn't feel the connection between the two. But overall, I liked it. A good use of an afternoon and would recommend for an easy listen.

The narration by Callum Hale was fabulous. I look forward to listening to more from him.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Another gem from Harper Fox

I loved the story, the little twist, the overall gentleness of the telling. The narrator did an amazing job and I will definitely look out for his other work.

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Profile Image for Little J
  • Little J
  • 23-05-21

Well, that was unpleasant.

Wow, uh, I honestly don't see how this was written by Harper Fox. It's dreadful in both content and form. The cover and summary does not at all convey the creepy, dark tone of this book. It is not a sweet romp through the hills of an Austen-esque romance. That could have been fine since I like the occasional dark story and love Fox's work, but this one offers nothing to recommend it. It's just grim, offensive, and aimless.

I get the impression this book aimed to emulate the Victorian Gothic romance novel formula: villains handled off the page, climatic showdowns recounted in dialogue rather than shown, disconnected "shock" events, and a HEA that feels a bit too easy considering all the loose ends. In theory, emulating novels of the time is cool; in practice, it's awful to read. There's a reason that style fell out of fashion. There must be ways of pulling it off, but in this case, the structure wasn't modernized enough to hold the story together. Nothing works, honestly. To the point of distraction!

Frank Harte, the tutor, is an intriguing character with mental and physical pain associated with a bad leg wound. His injury prevents him from being able to "rise" in bed. I love that this book portrays other ways to achieve satisfaction and never implies that "rising" is necessary to have a full bedroom life or the end-all, be-all way to enjoy oneself. His smart observations and questions about the world, imperialism, etc. are a joy to read. Those are the only things I enjoyed in this story, full-stop.

Gracie, the pupil, behaves quite literally like a 12-year-old. This is not an exaggeration. We meet him when he is playing like a child, mimicking lions and running around. He plays literal chase with his adult friend more than once. He obeys orders like a toddler (or trained pet *shivers*). He didn't know women can't simply choose to *not* be pregnant when they don't want to be (as in, by way of some innate human ability, not termination or contraceptives). He is 21. It sometimes feels as if Gracie may have originally been written as a literal child and aged up for publishing; whether that's the case or not, it's not a great vibe to get off a book. Frank attributes Gracie's shocking ignorance and child-like behavior to growing up without a mother (????) as if mothers of Earls-to-be would even be the ones teaching their sons of such things. The real reason he behaves this way is much more sinister and casts a dark shadow over Frank's already-creepy interest in Gracie.

It's impossible to enjoy Frank's interest in Gracie when everything that endears him to Gracie is firmly in the "child pupil" category. He likes when Gracie talks about his assigned homework. He likes when Gracie does what he says (not in a kinky way, but in a telling-a-kid-how-to-do-basic-things way). So on and so forth. Their conversations are boring student-teacher conversations mostly. Oh, the steam! Ugh.

The story's dark, creepy tone is down to the villains and their unsettling behavior. The setting is only Gothic in the sense that there are far too many dead animals stuffed around the house, so it doesn't mirror Gothic romance in that respect. But it does when it comes to confusing villains and shocking events. The villains play disturbed mind games, obsess like stalkers, treat humans as literal pets and hunting game prey, use sex to shock and control people, rape women, and violently attack others. We see this in a few shocking events and then the problems are simply just ignored, the villains still at large, leaving a ton of loose ends and unresolved plot tension.

*spoilers*
I endured a father watching his son get f***** by an awful guy with a whip for this? I endured his son talking about being grateful for the generosity of being killed and stuffed with straw like a trophy lion for this? Man... No. It wasn't even creepy in a fun horror way, just unsettling in a do-not-want way!

CW: suicide

Frank's best friend, Cyril, commits suicide after being charged with "gross indecency" (homosexual acts). His character drinks, sleeps around a lot, borrows money he doesn't pay back, and cares a lot about making friends with rich people; this behavior is shamed often enough in the story that he seems to have been written and killed off in classic "Kill Your Gays" fashion. It's beyond bizarre to see such a despicable trope in a queer romance of all things. Was this another attempt at mirroring Victorian Gothics? It fails. His death isn't even grieved, let alone acknowledged in a respectful way. His suicide letter is just a long fantasy about how Frank and Gracie are meant to be together and he's seen visions of it (he only met Gracie ONCE and they weren't even together!). He includes 2 tickets for a ship voyage that conveniently saves the leads and sets the two "Good Gays who don't drink or borrow money" off to their dream haven. Literally a queer character kills himself and his suicide note excludes himself. His own struggles are ignored, his arc abandoned entirely to wax poetic about the perfection of Gracie and Frank. WTF? This is so deeply offensive I can barely comprehend how a writer of queer romance (who I would've assumed is informed on such subjects) would ever think to write it. Homophobic laws used to Kill the Bad Gay, queer suicide used as a cheap plot device, the character's personhood completely erased--just awful.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lena Belle
  • 28-07-21

Excellent

Performance by Callum Hale was wonderful, he brings the characters to life in a way that makes you feel like you’re actually watching a movie. The story is well written and I loved that it was very relatable.

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  • JKS
  • 26-07-21

Very Enjoyable

A Gentleman Tutor is an enjoyable story about a tutor falling in love with his student, though he is only five years older. I love their connection and how Frank wants to take care of Gracie, who seems to need it. This story took me on a bit of emotional roller coaster as it dealt with some difficult themes; there's mystery and intrigue and things I did not see coming. I do think having Frank be Gracie's tutor was one of the best things for them both. I definitely recommend this book. It's one to enjoy again and again.
Narrator Callum Hale does a marvelous job and really adds to the story. He made the characters easy to identify and I never got lost or confused.

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  • B.McGrath
  • 17-07-21

Facades

Cyril was a much better friend than he seemed to be on the surface, and a savior of sorts imo. The true villain was not apparent at first, and when they were revealed I was flabbergasted. My heart ached for Frank and Gracie, but I was thrilled with how things ended up after so many twists and turns. Dixie is someone who never learns from past mistakes and greed. Karma to him. This was dark, emotional , compelling, and raw, and I loved it all. I voluntarily listened to a free copy of this and am giving an honest review. The narrator did a great job bringing the characters and story to life.

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  • aya knowledgegod
  • 01-05-21

Enjoyed it

Pretty good story! Interesting as always from Fox. A little more complex and thematically full bodied than your typical mlm work, and that's always a plus. this one is a little dark, but that's fine by me. Things came together almost too neatly in some places, but I understand that a lot readers prefer that. the performer was quite good. it helped me to slow the playback a little to make sure I was catching everything.