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The Rake's ProgressEmma Costello owed a debt of honor to one of the most dishonorable lords in the realm The infamous Lord Ragsdale was as rich as sin as sinful as he was rich and as heartless as he was handsome But he had saved Emma from a fate worse than death when he stopped a lecherous brute from buying her as an indentured servant It was Emma's turn now to save Lord Ragsdale from his wicked ways She had to find a way to stop his drinking his gaming his wild revelry She had to make him break with his mistress the superbly sensual Fae Moulle She had to make him a suitable suitor for the ideal wife that the prim and proper Lady Clarissa Partridge would be And above all she had to keep his lustful eye from lingering too long on herself even as she struggled to keep her own growing desire from undoing all her hard work in the unmaking of this irresistible rake

10 thoughts on “Reforming Lord Ragsdale

  1. says:

    Kindle freebie Regency romance May 31 2020 A soft 4 stars for this unusual Regency romance much less fluffy than your typical RR Carla Kelly is excellent at drawing realistic characters who have significant flaws John Staples Lord Ragsdale is a particularly flawed hero he drinks far too much neglects his bills and duties isn't interested in his mistress any longer but doesn't want to take the trouble to part ways with her and is hugely bitter about the Irish he lost his father and one of his eyes in one of the conflicts in Ireland several years earlier and he's had a hard time coping since The last immediately puts Emma on his bad side she's an Irish woman and an indentured servant to Lord Ragsdale's two American cousins who are visiting him in England But when his cousin Robert who has a really serious gambling addiction is about to gamble Emma away to a new master John steps in and saves her Now he's stuck with an Irish servant which irritates him no end It only gradually dawns on John that Emma detests the English as much as he does the Irish for good reasonEmma decides that to earn her release from her indenture she's going to make Lord Ragsdale give up his dissipated ways and become a worthwhile person again She gets him to agree to this plan in writing while he's drunk hah Then she gets rid of his booze cleans him up and starts sorting out all of his many unpaid bills She even gets him to agree that he should marry a nice gentlewoman The only problem is Lord Ragsdale is VERY reluctantly starting to become deeply attracted to EmmaI really like the complex intelligent and troubled characters in this novel The story does get weighed down by all of their difficulties actually the focus gradually shifts from John's troubles to Emma's which are truly terrible Carla Kelly takes on a lot of social ills in this novel The actual romance gets a bit of short shrift here especially since view spoileruntil almost the very end John is pursuing and getting engaged to another woman albeit out of duty and rather halfheartedly hide spoiler

  2. says:

    Five starsI can count on the fingers of one hand the number of romance novels that have brought me to tears To that list I must add Reforming Lord Ragsdale John Staples Maruess of Ragsdale is an unrepentant rake Not the handsome charming amiable kind of rake freuently found in romance novels He's a drunkard who neglects his duties although he is nice to his mother He’s too lazy to hire a valet or to replace the secretary he fired for stealing He’s even too indolent to rid himself of his stupid mistress whom he doesn't even like His behavior is not like that of other romance heroes either In one early scene we find him waking up drunk fully clothed and filthy from his own vomit It’s just another typical morning Later he visits his mistress and attempting exercise far beyond his capacity he leaves embarrassed and sulky He was disfigured by the loss of an eye while fighting in Ireland which is also where he witnessed a mob murdering his father He's wracked with guilt because he was unable to save him and he hates the Irish with a passionate vengeance When his American cousins Robert and Sally Claridge arrive for a visit he immediately dislikes Sally’s indentured Irish servant Emma Costello although he finds himself intrigued to learn that she has knowledge of Greek mythology and Shakespeare When cousin Robert tries to put up Emma’s indenture as stakes in a card game however even Lord Ragsdale is horrified at the inhumanity of it He rescues Emma by offering his two excellent horses in her place Suddenly he owns Emma’s indenture and she pledges to repay him the two thousand pounds that the horses costI said earlier that Lord Ragsdale was unrepentant but in fact there is a part of him that knows he’s wasting his life He wants to be better but his indolence is too powerful One night in a drunken haze he begs Emma to reform him and she immediately sees her chance She will reform this worthless man and in so doing earn her release It turns out that Emma is an educated talented and ruthlessly strong woman whose life was ruined in the battle between England and Irish rebels She dislikes the English no less than Lord Ragsdale abhors the Irish Between them however a reluctant friendship develops as she sets about organizing his finances getting rid of the mistress and stopping the out of control drinking Emma encourages Lord Ragsdale to find a wife and indeed he becomes the ideal fiancé for Miss Clarissa Partridge a perfect little society chit of the sort he always expected to marryEventually Emma comes to trust Lord Ragsdale enough to share her past with him and he goes out of his way to help her find out the fate of her lost family Their friendship slowly turns to love but they both know without discussing it that there is no future for them together As the story enters its final pages Lord Ragsdale is set to marry Clarissa and Emma is leaving England and the reader despairs of a happy ending But fear not I cannot recommend this book highly enough The plot is engaging with plenty of humor as well as angst; the language sparkles There's no sex just a couple of kisses but there's something better real unselfish love between two people who never expected to find it

  3. says:

    I think this may be the best Regency romance I've ever read CARLA KELLY CAN WRITE She creates these characters that live and breathe complex characters with flaws and heart that you can't help but cheer for I've never read a Regency romance uite like this one There are serious themes of redemption prejudice and forgiveness mixed with wit and romance The blend is intoxicating a novel that made me laugh made me cry made me swoon and importantly made me think and reevaluate myself How does one make his or her life worth living? Don't we all need a bit of redemption at times?Lord Ragsdale is an indolent neglectful man who won't exert himself for anything or anyone He neglects any and all duties and wastes his life on drink and worthless past times The worst part he knows it but is too lazy to change The best thing he can say about himself is that he doesn't gamble So why does he exert himself and save Irish indentured servant Emma Costello in a card game? And what will be the results when in a drunken stupor he agrees to let Emma reform him?This story has so much expected depth and sparkling wit In this day of the overused love at first sight romance and cardboard stock character Reforming Lord Ragsdale shines with it's slow building romance and complicated characters Would you believe it but these characters actually grow from hating each other to becoming FRIENDS It's a indication of the power of this story that the most important part is when the heroine tells our flawed hero not that she loves him but that she LIKES himCarla Kelly please keep republishing these classics of yours This is what a historical romance should be This one deserves to be re read every year

  4. says:

    This is the first book I have read by this authorI have instantly liked the writing style of the author She writes in an apparently simple way which is hard to achieveThe character of Emma is hardworking loving realistic and self sacrificingThe character of Lord Ragsdale is superficially hard but inwardly insecure about his appearanceThis book shows that looks do not matter when the love is trueThe readers who like romantic novels will surely like it

  5. says:

    ♥Four solid stars for this gritty but tender historical I have been reading andor re visiting Carla Kelly's novels this week Reforming Lord Ragsdale is a digital re issue of a 1995 Signet Regency I liked it but not as much as The Lady's Companion That's my favorite by CK so farIMO this talented author tackles too many somber themes at once alcoholism racism indentured servanthood and the injustices of a biased penal system She vividly describes the slime and the smells of Newgate Prison the body's spastic responses to alcohol withdrawal the burning humiliation of lengthy exposure to racism etcThe romance itself is fairly compelling and totally clean I enjoyed seeing the relationship gradually develop At first I didn't like Lord Ragsdale John because he was such a lush wasting his life on booze and babes And bigoted At first he was biased against the servant Emma just because she was Irish yes I know he had personal cause to hate the Irish but it's hardly admirable But John grew on me I especially loved how he unknowingly fretted about Emma if she was out in the cold or out alone or out past dark Aww ♥ He began walking beside her providing his protection and surprising her with warm winter gear John found joy in making Emma happy Heartwarming I've said it before Carla Kelly is the ueen of show not tell Not dwelling too long in maudlin internal musings she primarily uses actions to portray John's loving sacrificing and courageous heart heretofore hidden even from himself The sotted Lord Ragsdale gradually grows a spine becoming my favorite character I could take him home with me ♥The narrative mainly revolved around Emma and John but a few secondary characters helped to convey the side story describing the heroine's search for missing family members Absorbing heartbreaking and historically interestingIn the end I was satisfied with the HEA even though some final twists in the plot were unexpected and unwanted by me Main flaw Lord Ragsdale had a self effacing way about him Would he really let an indentured servant girl tell him what to drink what to eat what to do?? Even if he wanted badly to rehabilitate and reform? Even if he was drawn to Emma's warmth and wit? I wanted him to be a bit arrogant Other CK titles I have enjoyed and reviewed 5 stars The Lady's Companion My review 4 stars Marriage of Mercy Review 45 stars Marrying the Royal Marine Review have enjoyed several others but haven't yet reviewed 'em

  6. says:

    Oh what a cute cute bookI loved both the heroine and the hero The heroine bacause she was a fighter and the hero because he was such a clear headed rascal of the highest order who was able to be sarcastic and makes jokes about himselfTheir banter was wonderful to read And their love story was wonderful too From enemies to deeply in love it rung so trueGreat read

  7. says:

    A Carla Kelly is always a treat to read and so is this one The h H euation takes some time to develop but when it does it leaves you with a warm fond feeling for the two of them But still it’s the easy going lazy H who’s my favorite He’s a great guy despite the h berating him for bring worthless and idle for most of the bookview spoilerThe hero’s irreverent and jocular pov couldn’t hide the intensely poignant and angsty undercurrent provided by the h’s past and her sufferings She’s the indentured Irish maid who arrives with his American cousins She had been separated from her genteel family during the Irish rebellion and it’s aftermath and shipped off to the Americas as a young girl – starving lice ridden and barely dressed to be sold as a bonded servant What sufferings she endured during all this while remain unspoken for now and I could only imagine the horrorsI won’t know too much about historical accuracy but for a lowly servant girl to be suddenly usurping enough power to order around a maruess manage his finances or even to refer to him as John in front of his mother seems than implausible The maid who till now was looked down upon by even the servants is not only organizing them but also the H’s mother Even as the title points to the h’s vocation this was beyond irregular Call me discriminatory but wivesgfs can ‘reform’ not indentured maids who have no control over their own fates I don’t mind the occasional feisty spirited maidhousekeeper in historicals but I need to be prepared And certain other things are kept vague like her age and her v status If she’s still a virgin with her kind of circumstances it’d be stretching credulity too far but the author doesn’t touch on it in any way hide spoiler

  8. says:

    Johnny Staples Lord Ragsdale was a Scoundrel with a capital S He had a deformed dead eye He thought of switching his patch to cover the good eye; then considered how loud his maid would scream after witnessing his face Then there was his drinking He knew he should leave the bottles alone He made a point of telling himself this the morning after And his mistress? He was long overdue to end their relationship But somewhere lurking inside Ragsdale was a good man and it was because of Emma Emma Costello from Ireland Except Ireland was a country he detested and would rather forget Emma had made her way to America only to become an indentured servant to Johnny’s cousins When Robert and Sally came for a visit Robert was to attend his lord’s alma mater Emma was brought along Lord Ragsdale and Emma’s relationship got off to a rocky start They hated each otherI enjoy Mrs Kelly’s style of writing The story was told mostly through the H’s POV with a great deal of internal dialogue In a less skillful hand Johnny would not have been as likable It turned out that cousin Robert had a wee bit of a gambling problem Strike that He had a ginormous betting addiction And because of it Fate played its hand ”Don’t cry Emma”This was one man’s tale of personal growthHis emotional need Redemption And the woman who molded him into a better human being

  9. says:

    I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one To be honest when it first started I didn’t think I would Lord Ragsdale starts off as your typical drunken rake I knew from the title that the story was going to be about his supposed reformation but I wasn’t sure how that would be pulled off Somehow it happens though and along with Emma I actually found myself liking him Emma really does bring a believable change in him and it was refreshing to read a Regency where I actually ended up liking the rake Emma was a very likable character and at times I even found myself crying at her situation I never cry while reading and have to commend Ms Kelly for writing such believable characters I thought the whole thing was very well written I even laughed at how the whole mistress situation was handled I still hate reading about mistresses and I still would have preferred if there had been some remorse from Lord Ragsdale for having ever kept a mistress I know it was fairly common at that time especially in the Upper class but on a moral level it’s always wrong It was handled well in the story though and while there were a couple comments that were on the crass side it was to show the drastic change in Lord Ragsdale’s personality Mostly I just loved that the story actually had substance It wasn’t your typical insta love story but love that grew from a genuine friendship and respect My Goodreads friend Sandy said it best “It's an indication of the power of this story that the most important part is when the heroine tells our flawed hero not that she loves him but that she LIKES him” Which I can now understand so much better now that I’ve read the story and can totally agree It was Sandy’s review that brought me to this book and especially the curiosity to see if I could end up liking Lord Ragsdale as well and I did I loved that it wasn’t your typical story and that they both end up redeeming each other Great writing and a great story I would probably normally give this 4 stars but I really loved Emma's story and thought she deserved a 5 Oh I do wish there had been an epiloge There were a few unanswered uestions which I can't mention without giving spoilers Content Clean romance While I hate the talk of mistresses and rakes it was overall well handled

  10. says:

    Thank you Preeti for recommending this book It was a charmerThe Irish problem and the English’s horrible treatment is hard at work here in spades in this Regency romance I’m not going to touch on the story that much but it is heartbreaking on both sides The hero and the heroine have suffered emotional and family losses due to war in Ireland the war between the English and the Irish As a result both characters hate each other for their nationalityBanter resumes pretty uickly perhaps too uickly as the h tries to reform and marry off the H so she can pay off her indentured servant status The two become friends very easily and are charming together At one point I wondered if they would end up as friends only as she maneuvers him into a marriage everyone feels will stabilize him and make him happy In turn he tries to help her with her family situationNot a perfect book but if you enjoy banter and a little whimsy between your H and h then give it a try His inner comments about his fiancee are hysterical However there are a couple of scenes remembrances of the war from both characters that are not of the faint of heart They aren’t overly graphic but disturbing and sad nonetheless This was my second Carla Kelly The Wedding Journey was my first and was well done Looks like I need to search out of her to read The characters in Reforming Lord Ragsdale were such fun I was hoping that some of the servants that were so rude to the heroine would be faced with retribution but oh well