THE LAST OF LADY LANSDOWN
Rating: 5 Cups
The gambling debts of Jane Elton’s father have ruined his family. Rather than face his creditors, he fled to America, leaving his family destitute. Jane married the Earl of Lansdown who was willing to forgo a dowry and allow her family to move to his estate. When she failed to produce the heir he needed, his treatment of her became intolerable. His unexpected death was a relief, except that she and her family are once again placed in a precarious financial position.
Douglas Carlton is a hydrologist engaged to design and build a canal near the Lansdown estate. He has exiled himself from his rake’s life in London after a late-night drunken carriage ride ended in tragedy. He has submerged himself in his work to escape his past, but he remembers Lady Lansdown from a brief meeting in his former life.
Although Douglas was interested in the newly-widowed countess, a vow prevented him pursuing anything beyond a superficial affair. Jane, who was bound by the manners of her time, attempted to resist his attentions. A superficial affair was forbidden for a widow in mourning, despite her mother’s scheming. Douglas must decide if he can put aside a vow made for a crime that was not prosecuted, while Millicent wrestles with her forbidden attraction to a man ostracized by her class.
In The Last of Lady Lansdown, Ms. Kennedy writes a unique story of high society in Regency Britain. Unlike most Regencies in which a hero moves up in society based on newly-acquired wealth, Douglas who is a younger son of a noble family, descends into the depths of the working class to expiate his sins. The evolution of Lady Lansdown from traditional society matron is believable and heart-warming. From the trials of a tenant family to Lord Rennie’s hopeless love for a society miss, Kennedy’s secondary characters jump off the page. Altogether, The Last of Lady Lansdown is a super read and a definite keeper.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More