cover image Lord Fenton’s Folly

Lord Fenton’s Folly

Josi S. Kilpack. Shadow Mountain, $15.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-62972-066-1

There’s something tawdry about putting “I believe romances are for silly girls or homely ones” in the mouth of a romantic heroine. A book would have to be a comic gem or a profound character exploration to recover from that slap to the reader’s face, and Kilpack’s second Regency (after A Heart Revealed) is merely a solid piece of genre writing, with no particular feel for its period but some nice imaginative touches. Charles Theler, Lord Fenton, has remained a thoughtless adolescent even as he ages toward his 30s, and he makes a drunken wager that results in him wearing a ridiculous hat to a staid gathering attended by his stuffy father. Alice Stanbridge has loved him since childhood, and she’s delighted when Charles starts paying her some unexpected attention. She doesn’t know his father is forcing him to marry; he doesn’t know she’s always loved him. The pace and banter pick up once Charles admits his motivation for the hat incident, elevating the pedestrian opening to an entertaining verbal battle of the sexes. There’s good stuff here, but it takes 100 pages to find it. (Oct.)