Can she polish him up enough to fit into society…without falling in love?
When Bethany is saddled with an unwanted, unrefined, and decidedly common guardian, she must polish him up before he’s fit for good society. As for Willoughby Winter, all that stands between him and his inheritance is to marry Bethany off. Can he succeed in his efforts before his past becomes known or will she manage to distract him from his goal—by hook or by crook?
Review (Minor Spoilers)
I am a fan of Suzanne G. Rogers Victorian historical romances. My Fair Guardian does not disappoint. Rogers newest release is a sweet romance that is perfect for everyone in the family. Her writing evokes a kinder, gentler era where female characters shine. But in this particular novel the male lead, Willoughby Winter, shines just as brightly as he steps into a role similar to that of Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady.
At first glance, a reader may assume that My Fair Guardian is simply a re-telling of My Fair Lady with a gender switch. Willoughby was raised by a drunken “father” who whipped him regularly. He seizes the opportunity for social advancement when a surprise discovery reveals his true heritage. And at the start of his education, the letter “A” holds a prominent role, much like Eliza’s learning to pronounce the letter “A.” But Rogers further develops the narrative and her additions to the story make it a true gem for modern readers.
Although hampered by his inability to read, Willoughby progresses with his education. It’s about his own desire to keep reading and keep discovering the world. His education allows for moments of revelation and it’s easy for a reader to understand the absolute joy of experiencing the world through the written word.
It is a telling departure from My Fair Lady that Rogers does not have Bethany formally educate Willoughby. That task is left to Mr. Pace, a tutor to Bethany’s younger sister, Jane, and a valet. Bethany has her own journey of self-discovery to experience and the fact that she is not Willoughby’s teacher places them on equal footing.
Rogers’s presents the Victorian era with a keen eye toward modern sensibilities. But aspects of both eras are remarkably similar in subtle and overt ways. For instance, the lack of a formal education prevents people from rising. Being able to read and write determines the level of a person’s success to some regard. But other forces are at work the higher one moves in society. Malicious gossip and ill-will can destroy a person (or a family) just as fast in the Victorian age as it can in modern social media (“cancel culture”).
Yet this is a romance, after all, and readers will hope that the two characters come together at the end. What makes this story marvelous is the journey Willoughby and Bethany take to reach their happily ever after. It is one I enjoyed immensely and would recommend to anyone who loves getting lost in sweet romance.
Suzanne G. Rogers lives with her husband and son in romantic Savannah, Georgia, on an island populated by deer, exotic birds, and the occasional gator. She’s owned by two Sphynx cats, Houdini and Nikita. Movies, books, and writing are her passions.