STORY: Captain Lord Henry Challoner is a young viscount who’s left his ambition on the plains of South Africa. Wounded in the First Boer War, he’s come home and wishes he were anywhere else, until his desperate father sends him to Puddling-on-the-Wold to rusticate and recalibrate. How can Henry have any fun without any alcohol, or worse yet, any women? Kept under house arrest under the watchful eye of his draconian housekeeper and earnest local vicar, he’s bored enough to begin speaking to sheep until he literally stumbles across schoolteacher Rachel Everett.
Rachel knows she’s not on Henry’s improvement plan, but can’t seem to avoid or repel him no matter what she does to keep him at arm’s length. Could it be that she quite enjoys being in his arms, even if it’s against all the Puddling Rehabilitation Rules? Can Rachel circumvent the town fathers and Henry escape his personal jailors and demons?
REVIEW: 1881 – Puddling-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire
Lord Henry Challoner, age 25, has found himself staying in this “Rehabilitation” town of sorts at the insistence of his father, Arthur Challoner, the Marquess of Harland. It appears that his experiences and injuries of war have led him to live a life of excesses.
This small but isolated little village has rental cottages for “guests” who are fed gentle diets with no alcohol, accompanied by exercise and rest. The village residents are all aware of the “problems” of the guests.
One day while taking a walk – out of his assigned area – Henry is drawn to the sound of children’s voices and comes upon a small school with a charming schoolmarm.
Rachel Everett knows why Lord Challoner is in Puddling and she also knows she is not supposed to be speaking to him. But when he falls at her feet and she offers to help him up, he kisses her. After she slaps him, he apologizes even with her warning him that he must behave or she will report him to the vicar who is working with Henry’s father regarding his “incarceration.” Henry knows that his father simply wants him to settle down, become respectable, and get married. Thus, Henry immediately proposes to Rachel. When she hits him with his cane, he falls to the ground hitting his head, requiring that he get stitches.
Later, Rachel is home with her elderly father for whom she must care. This responsibility keeps her living in town and living at home. When her father hears about Henry kissing her, he is afraid he might return to the school and seduce her.
Thus continues the story of a man who quickly becomes infatuated with a young woman and decides she is the one for him.
On a positive note, there were some bits and pieces of humor in this story. The author has created an unusual situation, however, I found the thought of doing that to someone to be totally abhorrent. For someone like Henry who has been through the war to even allow himself to be treated that way is absurd. He comes across as a weak-willed man and Rachel appears to lack common sense too. I can certainly say I will not be reading any more books in this series. I hope the author comes up with some better plots in the future.
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
Connie for b2b