Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Reforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla Kelly (5+ stars, traditional)

Full Description: Amazon

Rating:  5+ out of 5

Thoughts After Reading:
For the life of me, I couldn't remember if I had yet enjoyed the pleasure of reading Carla Kelly's Reforming Lord Ragsdale. But then I remembered the drunk contract scene, everything fell in to place... and I decided to reread it anyway. Reforming Lord Ragsdale is an amazing book, and I could have guessed that without having read it before - after all, it was written by Carla Kelly. With few exceptions, Carla Kelly is easily one of the best writers I know. This novel, in particular, is such a beautiful story - full of human emotion and an overwhelmingly authentic relationship. The hero and heroine start out with a subdued hatred of each other, simply because one is English and one is Irish (respectively). Each of their tortured pasts give them good reason for their prejudices, and yet they can not stop caring a little bit about the other person - that's just the type of good people they are, deep down. Despite their hatred, despite their difference in stations - the hero's an aristocrat, the heroine is an indentured servant - they gradually become friends to the point they have a hard time imagining life without the other, and the transformation is simply astounding to watch. With her reforming attempts and strong character, the heroine brings a wealth of new meaning to the hero's life. In turn, the hero shows the heroine the kindness that has been lacking for so long in her life. At the same time, they both help the other heal from their emotional scars. It is only then, at the precipitate of the resolutions, that the characters admit to themselves the romantic element that's been hanging out in the shadows. The one minor annoyance for me both times I read Reforming Lord Ragsdale is the dramatic nature of the story towards the end, when the HEA almost doesn't happen. I know everything will work out but I still what to smack the characters on the head for the some of the choices they make. Kelly almost makes up for it, though, with the uncompromisingly happy finale. I won't say anymore of the storyline, because Reforming Lord Ragsdale is a book that demands - and deserves - to be digested as you read. It is just that good of a novel.

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