Lord Fenton's Folly by Josi Kilpack
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.
I simply adored reading Lord Fenton's Folly by Josi Kilpack. I have a soft spot for historical romance and this sweet story hit the spot for me.
Alice and Charles meet in their youth and the encounter left Alice with a case of puppy love that she never really got over. That seemingly innocent crossing of paths left quite the mark on Alice's life.
Fast forward ten years and Charles, Lord Fenton, is quite the dandy. He's lived his life in a manner that his father is ready to disinherit the young man. Saved only by the pleadings of his sweet mother, he now faces not only taking up the responsibility of his title, attend a variety of social events while on his best behavior, but he must also marry within six months time! Egads - what is a confirmed bachelor to do? Fortunately he trusts his mother implicitely and decides to offer for Miss Alice Stanbridge.
As their relationship progresses Alice comes to realize that she hasn't made the love match she had thought. The banter that ensues between them after she confronts Fenton about his intentions is both horrifying and delightful at once. The reader is fully aware that the two of them are perfect for one another, but they can't seem to figure it out and get past their hurt feelings and own insecurities. Fortunately Mrs. Chariton, Lord Fenton's mother, is able to gently guide them to a place where they realize their love for one another without the two of them really realizing what she has done.
All the twists and turns, the pranks, arguments, tender moments, and the secrets create a robust backdrop for this sweet love story. Alice and Charles are both products of their families and their upbringing - they aren't two-dimensional. Not only are they well-developed characters with solid back-story, but they grow and develop - they begin to overcome their weaknesses and challenges as they finally begin to trust and rely on each other. I would have loved an epilogue for a sneak peek into their lives five years down the road.
honest disclosure ~ I received a copy in exchange for my honest review
FYI ~ clean romance, no content warnings.
~Excerpt~Fenton groaned and put his saucer back on the tray, making an instantaneous decision that eased his mind quite a lot. To look at every woman he met as a potential wife was irritating, and after only two weeks he was quite tired of it. Perhaps the solution was to orchestrate a match that would not lay all aspects of matrimony at his feet all at once. Perhaps treating it as a business arrangement would help it to be exactly that, thereby freeing him from all the discomfiting realities he was not yet prepared to face. "I leave for Fentonview on Tuesday and shan't be back for a week. Courting is such a boring prospect, and you yourself said that to become infatuated with anyone might become a complication." He paused, considered one last time what he was going to say next, and decided he felt as good about it as could be expected. "You like Alice Stanbridge and feel she would make a good wife for me?" Lady Chariton looked confused and perhaps a bit concerned. "I do, but-" "Then that is good enough for me," Fenton said, rising to his feet and smiling broadly at his mother, who stared back at him in surprise. "I do find her appealing and what's more she is not a silly little thing without a practical thought in her head." His mother's eyes widened and her eyebrows rose upon her forehead. Fenton struck a pose of consternation, with his thumb and forefinger on his chin as he looked toward the window a moment, then nodded crisply and turned back to his mother who still looked shocked by his pronouncement. "Yes, I think that Alice Stanbridge is exactly what I should like in a wife, and so I shall see to it before I leave for Hampshire-I see no reason to wait until Michaelmas and might as well get it over with." He leaned in and kissed his mother's hand. "Thank you for your help, Mama. I shall let you know how she responds to my proposal."
Author Josi Kilpack
Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Sheep's Clothing won the Whitney award for Mystery/Suspense in 207 and Wedding Cake, book twelve in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series won in 2014. Josi was also the Best of State winner in Fiction for 2012. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband, children and super-cute - but not very friendly - cat.