Alic​e M. Batzel 

Published Author, Playwright,

Journalist, Poet, Freelance Writer 

REVIEW:

TITLE:

LORD FENTON’S FOLLY

AUTHOR:

Josi S. Kilpack

PUBLISHER:

Shadow Mountain 

PUBLISHED:

Oct. 6, 2015

GENRE:

Fiction, Regency romance.

FORMAT:

Paperback, 319 pages.

IDENTIFICATION:

ISBN-13: 978-1-62972-066-1

MY REVIEW: 4.5 Stars (out of 5)

REVIEW TITLE: “Bravo! Exceptional Regency Romance!”

REVIEW CONTENT

STORY SYNOPSIS:

Lord Fenton, Charles Archibald Theler, is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and celebrated bachelors in all of Regency England. His extravagance in living and flamboyance of apparel are exceeded only by his gambling and outlandish often juvenile prankish behavior. Though certainly of marriageable age, he has been able to avoid such although the women also of marriageable age are ever so flattered by his exuberant compliments and charming ways. His devoted bachelor friends are highly entertained by his constant unpredictable and daring behavior in social circles, and they are often guilty of daring him to be even more ridiculous than before. Lord Fenton is very eager to meet such challenges. While his popularity and folly of appearance and behavior are highly objectionable to his bullying father, his mother remains his loving, loyal defense even though she does wish for him to be more settled, involved in the management of the family’s business and estate, and consider marriage. Lord Fenton, however, desires no approach to marriage nor seriousness of any kind in his life, and he is driven to more outlandish dress and ridiculous antics if it will especially be disagreeable to his father whom he despises.

An abrupt change in Lord Fenton’s life occurs when his father reaches his brink of tolerance for his son’s embarrassing appearance, irresponsibility, and publically humiliating behavior. As a result, his father disinherits him and cuts off all family financial support, leaving him without any means of livelihood. Lord Fenton petitions his mother’s support and assistance to reverse the decision of his disinheritance, and he finds that he can only accomplish this if he agrees to the terms of responsibility, including marriage, specified in a contractual agreement between himself and his parents.

In complying with the contractual terms, Lord Fenton experiences a journey of discovery not only regarding the affairs of his family’s business, property ownership, and financial holdings, but he also learns more about himself and what he truly wants from life. He uncovers long-hidden secrets which require him to confront unsettling facts about his parents, family, himself, and his values. Lord Fenton’s wife of convenience and contractual obligation, Alice Stanbridge, is of his hasty choosing, and she brings some additional unanticipated challenges for him. Though their relationship is fiery and emotionally charged, Alice becomes more endearing and proves to be a significant catalyst for Lord Fenton’s personal change. Lord Fenton’s life of folly, journey of transformation, intricacies of his family, and contractually motivated marriage take the reader on a very enjoyable and rich literary ride in Regency England.

NARRATIVE CRITIQUE:

This novel is the first published Regency Romance for Author Josi S. Kilpack, though it certainly isn’t short in any way when introducing the reader to the Regency era or holding their interest until the final page. The author skillfully utilizes the period and geographically influenced language and cadence of speech to breathe life into the characters. Within the first few pages, formative characters are lively and visual in the reader's mind, and the period is viable with societal and familial expectations and limitations clashing with personal desires. As a reviewer, I can honestly extend an early compliment to the author for this accomplishment. It certainly isn’t an easy task for a writer to achieve so much in just the first few pages of a novel, much less a new genre. However, the author seems to glide with finesse as the beginning of the story invites the reader to step into a very different period than the contemporary world in which we live.

I enjoyed reading this novel. I never wanted to set the book aside at any time and, consequently, I kept reading through the night, held bound by the story. The story was interesting, stimulating, captivating, highly entertaining, and its conclusion was very satisfying. I loved Lord Fenton’s character, turmoil, and his brash yet boyish ways. But I loved even more to see the journey of his transformation. I particularly enjoyed how Alice Stanbridge was able to grow and mature while she also helped her husband, Lord Fenton, to do the same. The character of Lord Fenton’s father was expertly crafted allowing the reader to dislike him yet steadily wonder why he was so dislikeable, and further inquire why father and son so adamantly despised each other. This quandary propelled the reader to find answers. I additionally enjoyed how fiercely driven Lord Fenton’s mother, Lady Chariton, was to help him mature and achieve lasting happiness in life. I was especially moved by the words of his ailing mother when speaking to her daughter-in-law, Alice Stanbridge (Lady Fenton), “Life will always serve us best to look for the joy. And when we find it, we should hold on to it with both hands. Do not let anyone take it from you, no matter how good their reason.”

CONCLUSION:

Without reservation, I recommend this novel, and I consider it to be one of the best books I have read in 2016. I look forward with great eagerness to read Author Josi S. Kilpack’s third novel in The Proper Romance Collection, FOREVER AND FOREVER, The Courtship of Henry Longfellow and Fanny Appleton. I have followed the writing career of Author Josi S. Kilpack since 2005, having read seventeen of her novels at this point. I consider LORD FENTON’S FOLLY to be one of her very best.

Reviewed 7/21/2016 by:

ALICE M. BATZEL

Published Playwright, Journalist, Poet, Freelance Writer

Review posted 7/21/2016 on:

Reviewer’s website (Reviews, 2016 #6)

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