Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review: Lord Fenton's Folly

Lord Fenton's Folly
By Josi S. Kilpack
Published: October 6, 2015

Lord Fenton is a gambler, a dandy, and a flirt—and he must marry or else he will be disinherited, stripped of his wealth and his position. He chooses Alice Stanbridge for two simple reasons: he once knew her as a young girl, and she is the least objectionable option available to him.

However, Alice has harbored feelings for Fenton since their first meeting ten years ago, and she believes his proposal is real. When she discovers it is not, she is embarrassed and hurt. However, a match with the most-eligible bachelor in London would secure not only her future but that of her family as well.

Determined to protect herself from making a fool of herself a second time, Alice matches Lord Fenton wit for wit and insult for insult as they move toward a marriage of convenience that is anything but a happy union. Only when faced with family secrets that have shaped Fenton’s life does he let down his guard enough to find room in his heart for Alice. But can Alice risk her heart a second time?

My review:

Lord Fenton (Charles) is known for being a "macaroni", a frivolous person who spends too much time on his appearance. He dresses like Beau Brummel but it isn't his bold clothing that lands him in hot water but his outlandish behavior. He and his friends like to make bets and challenge each other to do silly things in public. For Charles, this gives him the opportunity to thumb his nose at his cruel father. Unfortunately he finally breaks the last straw and is threatened with disinheritance. Luckily for him, his mother intercedes and gets his father to relent on the condition that he makes some serious changes in his life including getting married. 

Charles selects Alice Stanbridge as his future wife. She is initially thrilled since she's developed a crush on him from childhood when he helped bring her dream of a garden of her own to fruition (in payment for her silence in his involvement in a prank). Unfortunately for Alice she discovers that he didn't propose out of any kind of romantic feeling but for more practical reasons. She has always felt overlooked and unwanted in her family and this pushes her over the edge. The once sweet Alice lashes out and she and Charles begin a contentious "courtship" in the public eye. 

Both Alice and Charles have some growing to do if they are to save their marriage and make a go at a real relationship. Fortunately for both of them Charles's mother, Lady Chariton, is an ally and she treats Alice as her own daughter (she and Alice's late mother were best friends). When Lady Chariton decides to retreat to her country home for health reasons, Alice volunteers to go along. It is there that Alice begins to find healing in Lady Chariton's company and in the garden on the estate. She also discovers more about her husband's family and their secrets. As Charles arrives to visit his mother, Alice sees the change in both of them but they can only mend their broken relationship if she can trust him and he can let go of the pain of his past.

I liked this romance because of the character growth. Initially Lord Fenton is really annoying but I started to feel sorry for him as the truth of his past became known. He has a great deal of anger towards his father who has always been demanding but the true reason for Charles's animosity is his father's treatment of his mother. Unfortunately in attempting to get back at his dad all these years, he has only hurt himself and his mother through his childish behavior. Alice is a sympathetic character from the beginning. Although she comes from a good family she has never known her birth mother and with her older sisters both married she is sort of out of place in her father's new life with her stepmother. She feels like a burden to her family. When she finds out that Lord Fenton proposed out of duty, it is devastating. Gradually Alice comes to realize that her feelings for him were more of an infatuation and only after their marriage does she really start to love him.

It was nice to see how their relationship developed after marriage. Often romances end with "I do" and the challenges of merging two lives together are never explored. Lord Fenton's Folly is a companion novel to A Heart Revealed (Lord Fenton plays a secondary character in that novel) but it can definitely be read as a standalone novel. I think readers who enjoy Regency romance will like this story of forgiveness and second chances. 

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a Georgette Heyer script and I like those very much. This one sounds good.


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