There are simply not enough novels about women that have been thrown away by society getting their happy ending while also making the world a better place.
Plot: Happening concurrently with the events of Falling for a Rake, this book follows Lydia, the young woman who our hero Lord Markshall had impregnated and then promptly abandoned. She has since bought herself a new life as a respectable widow in a tiny town. She’s been doing the best she can, but she’s had to rely on a lot of charity to get by and for a proud person, this is rough. The problem is compounded when her daughter falls badly sick. Fortunately, there is a new teacher in town, and Alfred is determined to help.
Pendle has this gift of writing historical fiction you don’t have to stop being a feminist to enjoy. The men do not need an education on patriarchy or racism. I cannot tell you how calming it is to read. People behave completely reasonably given the circumstances. While the characters are invariably extremely progressive, the ways in which they choose to find happiness and ways of doing good are not out of line with what would have been possible (if implausible). Really, all Pendle is trying to do is create characters that would be the most courageous versions of the people of the time.
Much like with her other books, Lydia and Alfred connect quite quickly. They are genuinely kind people that have suffered set backs in life because they followed their heart who are getting a second chance at happiness and finding it hard to believe. It’s a sweet, heart-wrenching story of loss and betrayal, but more than that, about getting through hard times without closing your heart to the world.
I don’t even need to do content warnings for Pendle, because she provides high level warnings at the outset with a link to more detailed warnings for readers who want to know more. Love that in an author.
Also – the book is available on Kindle Unlimited, so you can basically read it for free. Throw this self-published writer some support and get a great book out of it too.