Monday, January 12, 2009

Reforming Lord Ragsdale - Carla Kelly

The Rake's Progress

Emma Costello owed a debt of honor to one of the most dishonorable lords in the realm. The infamous Lord Ragsdale was as rich as sin, as sinful as he was rich, and as heartless as he was handsome. But he had saved Emma from a fate worse than death when he stopped a lecherous brute from buying her as an indentured servant.

It was Emma's turn now to save Lord Ragsdale from his wicked ways. She had to find a way to stop his drinking, his gaming, his wild revelry. She had to make him break with his mistress, the superbly sensual Fae Moulle. She had to make him a suitable suitor for the ideal wife that the prim and proper Lady Clarissa Partridge would be. And above all, she had to keep his lustful eye from lingering too long on herself--even as she struggled to keep her own growing desire from undoing all her hard work in the unmaking of this irresistible rake…
Carla Kelly is a well known author in the traditional regency genre and although I’ve already read 2 or 3 of her books I have yet to find one that satisfies me completely. This Reforming Lord Ragsdale was no exception.

The storyline is a bit different from your average regency. Ragsdale saves Emma from being gambled and lost in a game of cards by his young cousin and buys her indenture. Despites her being Irish and him hating all Irish because of losing his father and his eye he can’t help interfering in such an appalling situation. Since he then owns her he feels somewhat responsible for her and tries to discover what happened to her in the past to make her a servant when she is clearly someone educated in polite society.

As he tries to understand and help Emma so does she try to help him become a better man and eventually in winning the woman he decides he wants to marry. In fact she is determined to get her indenture back and not feel in debt to him so she decides she will save him from himself as payment to him.

I loved how Kelly wrote a true rake, very unlikeable in the beginning till we slowly start to understand him and appreciate him. We go through that process at the same time that Emma does in fact, we discover that there are more layers to him and what’s inside is so much better than what is on the outside. It’s very interesting to see them become aware of each other’s virtues and see them slowly changing towards the other.

However I think Kelly’s way of writing is too rational and although I understand everything perfectly I would prefer more emotion, more angst, so I could feel everything too. For instance Emma is always so rational and composed that I never felt any empathy with her, it was easier to feel for Ragsdale who had strengths and fragilities, mood changes and an evolution as character to someone worthy of loving and being loved in return.

Grade: 4/5




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