Monday, January 16, 2023

Reforming Lord Neil - Review

Reforming Lord Niel (Inglewood, # 5)

By: Sally Britton

Publication: May 16th 2020 by Blue Water Books

256 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Kindle Library

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Goodreads description--An arrogant lord cut-off by his family. A penniless widow in desperate need. In their reduced circumstances, can love save them both?

Lord Neil Duncan, third son of the Marquess of Alderton, finally angers his father enough to be cut off from the family. Neil believes it is only a matter of time before he is reinstated, but time is passing slowly and he needs to eat. His so-called friends have abandoned him, no one else trusts him, and it is not until he comes upon a young widow that he finds someone who needs his help as badly as he needs hers.

Teresa Clapham has been without a husband's provision and protection for over a year. Supporting her mother and daughter on the pittance her brother-in-law provides has required her to stretch every farthing. When Lord Neil arrives at her doorstep proposing he work for her to earn his keep, she sees possibility in the man everyone else has deemed an arrogant good-for-nothing.

As Lord Neil works for the first time in his life, Teresa sees in him a tender heart long repressed by his family's expectations - a heart that causes her own to open once more. But her brother-in-law Frederick Clapham is less charmed by Teresa's new servant. When Lord Neil discovers the secret Mr. Clapham has been keeping, he must decide whether to embrace the man Teresa believes him to be, or fall back on the privileged lifestyle he's always known.

Neil has been a side character in this series from the beginning. He has been the villain you loved to hate in book 1, and through each subsequent book the reader wonders how much more there is to his character. He never faulted Hope for the curicle accident that his sister did in book 2. He looked out for Millicent in book 4 when his sister was determined to use her only for her own pleasure. So we have to wonder what his true heart and soul is like.

At the beginning of Reforming Lord Niel his father cuts him off from the family. It seems as if he had decided on this action and provoked Neil into an argument in order to execute his plan. I'm not sure if he saw Neil as a liability to his political aspirations, or if he found out that he was not Neil's natural father. Either way, Neil discovers he has fewer friends than he once believed. Practicality leads him to the place he ends up.

Teresa is a widow and mother. Her husband, Henry, apparently gambled away her dowry and left her penniless. Although she did inherit a farm from another relative. Teresa, her mother, and her daughter live on and work the farm themselves. They can't afford help, and winter is quickly approaching. When Lord Neil offers his labor in exchange for staying in the hay loft of her barn and eating meals with her family, she accepts. Of course these two develop feelings for one another. I feel like to say much more than this would be spoilers.

I liked that Neil didn't always have the best character. It's not like he had some pure motives when he approached Esther back in book 1. But he also was not seeking to destroy her marriage either. He was lonely and following in the footsteps he'd witnessed from both his father and mother. Through his hard work on the farm, he develops a deeper and stronger character. He becomes a truer version of himself--who he always was capable of being. Nicholeen Peck quotes someone else, "Work is the antidote to a sick character." And while I don't necessarily believe that to always be the case, it certainly does help teach life lessons and guide. Work is a producer of natural consequences.

Favorite quotes:

-It seemed he would forever attempt friendly relationships with the wrong people.

-"Mr. Duncan, we cannot judge others so harshly. Perhaps a misplaced cushion is the only tragedy they have ever known. They have nothing greater to measure it against."

-"Any woman will tell you, Mr. Duncan, that their children come into this life with personalities."

-"I have learned to be still when nothing I say or do can change the outcome."

I love a good redemption story. And Lord Neil did a wonderful turn around from where he started in the series to where he ended up. I enjoyed his journey. I loved Teresa, and her daughter. The whole story was just wholesome and heart warming. Reforming Lord Neil gets 4 Stars. Have you read Reforming Lord Neil? What did you think? Let me know!

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