The third novel in Rachel Van Dyken’s wonderful House of Renwick series, The Redemption of Lord Rawlings focuses on notorious rake, Lord Rawlings (Phillip Crawford). With his name trashed in the local papers and the ton (even though this is largely exaggerated) and debts piling up, Rawlings has little to no hope of escaping the claws of the ton and debtors prison. Unfortunately for him, he cannot inherit the full rights of the Earldom unless he marries a respectable woman by his next birthday. To make matters worse, he is out of money and his step-mother refuses to offer him any aid. Rawlings faces a perilous choice: either marry soon, or face debtors prison. With this motivation to push him along, Rawlings and his remaining friends gather to find him a match. Oddly enough, the only woman who shows any interest in him is Abigail, the sister of his former fiancée. Will Rawlings be able to overcome these significant obstacles in order to become the true Earl of Rawlings? Will Abigail be able to convince Rawlings that she is the perfect match for him?
I LOVE this series. Van Dyken has created a wonderful group of men each with their own unique demons that tear them up inside. The women she introduces into their lives are all strong and fearless in their own way, yet are each damaged as well. Her ability to take these damaged couples and write a believable transformation from broken to whole is what draws me to her works. Her characters have realistic issues and realistic reasons for those issues. Rawlings’ past is dark. A good portion of that darkness is his own doing, making his self-loathing a realistic characterization. I think that Rawlings might be Van Dyken’s favorite of her heroes. Her blood, sweat, and tears are visible in this work more so than in the previous books in the series. (My reviews of: Book 1, Book 2, Book 2.5) Upon finishing Rawlings I couldn’t decide whether he or Renwick (the hero of book one) was my favorite of the heroes. They’re richly written, deep characters that have stories that are honest and easy to sympathize with. As a reader of all of Van Dyken’s works, not just The House of Renwick series, I can 100% without a doubt state that this is her best work yet.
I applaud Van Dyken for her character development and intricate plot. The works in this series are getting better and better! I can only hope that when the next novel in this series comes out this tradition continues and I can enjoy yet another exciting story. If you haven’t read any of the House of Renwick novels yet I highly suggest that you do!
5 out of 5 Stars
This is my seventeenth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge
The Redemption of Lord Rawlings by Rachel Van Dyken
Astraea Press (2012)
eBook: 200 pages