My Fair Lord
My Fair Lord as the name implies, is a reverse rendition of My Fair Lady. While this was a lighthearted and amusing read, certain elements of the plot were unnecessary and sometimes bogged down the story. I am normally a fan of paranormal elements, but in this case, the relationship between Caroline and Lucas was strong enough to stand on its own merits without the added paranormal story line.
Caroline Wainwright, a spinster nearing her 25th birthday, is about to lose her beloved estate of Fallingate. Her father gifted the property to her, but only on the condition that she marry by age 25. When she was much younger, Caroline scared a suitor away by impersonating a ghost, and the reputation of Fallingate as a haunted house has been sealed in stone since that time. Every suitor who has stayed the night has had an encounter with the ghost of Lord Barrett Hamilton. While Caroline herself has never seen the ghost, the specter has managed to ruin her chances of marriage. To make matters worse, her brother’s wife is gloating over Caroline’s imminent loss of fortune because it will mean the gain of a large dowry for her daughters.
Caroline has a picture of Lord Barrett Hamilton (who has been dead for hundreds of years) in her bedroom, and has developed a secret crush on him fueled by the discovery of his diary. She is a romantic at heart and does not always focus on the reality of life. In desperation, and with the help of an old family friend, “Uncle” Teddy, she hatches a scheme to marry a petty criminal, in name only, to keep her home. Their “victim” will be handsomely paid for his trouble. Uncle Teddy is a student of human nature and has a scientific interest in the experiment to transform a criminal into a gentleman.
Lucas Davin may be a criminal, but he is not wart-nosed, hunched-back, or insane. Lucas is a thief, but he has a heart of gold and a good nature. He has planned his next theft for Fallingate and a neighboring estate, but when one of his cohorts steals a horse unexpectedly while they are casing the area, Lucas takes the fall and ends up in jail. With the help of Teddy and a large amount of alcohol, Lucas becomes Caroline’s husband.
Lucas’ transformation into a gentleman is done with apparent ease. He loses his accent, learns to ride a horse, and charms Caroline out of more than just her stockings. Lucas teaches Caroline how to look beyond the end of her nose and enjoy life. Caroline comes to love Lucas deeply despite his origins, and her love for him makes her a better person. Lucas never really believes himself worthy of Caroline, however, no matter that he can now look and play the part of a gentleman.
Here’s where the problem comes in. After some behavioral changes from Lucas, which would spoil the plot if explained, Caroline decides that Lucas is possessed and she insists on an exorcism. Lucas also begins brooding about and keeps Caroline in the dark regarding some pieces if his past. This paranormal subplot just did not work for me as a source of conflict for their relationship. The resolution of Lucas’ past was altogether too convenient, and rather lessened the strengths in his character.
Still, most of the book was engaging, and the reversal of roles was entertaining. If you can ignore the more outrageous elements, My Fair Lord provides some lively fun, even without Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins.