Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
If you’ve seen any of the promotional material for Penelope Ward’s The Aristocrat, then you’ve been warned that her newest offering is “angsty.” And it is. You should shore up your spirit before entering this book, but you ought not to miss the opportunity of its beauty and its message should angst not be your romance calling card.
In a world where headlines proffer the worst of our current world (COVID, Afghanistan, Haiti, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.), The Aristocrat reminds you of what really matters, what we should ground our lives in. In the words of her handsome, British, stalwart, aristocratic hero, Leo, “[t]he purpose of life is to love with all of your heart and soul.” And this is the reason that The Aristocrat should be on your Kindle/Nook/Kobo/etc. right now.
The angst aside, I adored the characters of Ward’s romance. Felicity (not British but with an incredibly British name) and Leo are, for lack of a better word, quite adorable together. You will immediately fall in love with them. Leo, while a member of the British mid-range royalty, is down-to-earth, kind, and approachable. Their meet-cute will make you giggle, and their chemistry is clear from the beginning. Felicity is the type of heroine perfect for Ward’s Leo. She is compassionate, insightful, and a challenge for him. They are opposites in many ways, but they are complete together.
The Aristocrat is simply a story of bad timing. We’ve read romances where people have found each other at the wrong time, and this is more of that. It’s a story of second chances and sacrificing for love. Over and over again, Leo and Felicity make sacrifices that show their maturity and deep love for the other. Every moment of this story feels intentional and deep in its revelation of love.
To counter the heaviness of Leo and Felicity’s story, Ward adds in Sigmund aka Sig, Leo’s cousin and traveling companion, along with Felicity’s guardian, Mrs. Albertini, to provide some levity to the story…at least early on. I’m not sure that Ward will ever consider it, but I would LOVE a story for Sig, given his own tale of angst.
We are also treated to the English countryside and all the Britishisms of that place, and you simply become lost in Felicity and Leo’s struggle. Please don’t miss this book, though, because you’re afraid of the “angst.” This is a romance; therefore, there is the promise of a happy ending. Penelope Ward’s The Aristocrat is a must-read to remind us that choosing love is the most powerful action one can take in the world.
In love and romance,