Earlier in CBR, I read Lisa Kleypas’ second portion of her series on the Hathaway family, where I first met the character Lord Ramsey, Leo Hathaway. He definitely fit the bill of the Romance genre’s ‘rake’ character, so naturally I really liked him. This drew me to pick up Kleypas’ Married by Morning, Leo’s entry into the Hathaway series. For several years now, Catherine Marks has lived with the Hathaway family as a companion/governess-type figure to Leo’s two youngest sisters Poppy and Beatrix. As Poppy has recently married a London hotelier, Beatrix is the last remaining sister needing the companionship and instruction of Miss Marks. During this time, Leo and Catherine have had quite the stormy relationship; they cannot be in the same room without saying something cruel or spiteful, and bitter arguments always ensue. So naturally during an argument one afternoon, Leo kisses her passionately and this sets off their tumultuous courtship (which as per usual is going to be fraught with danger and mystery as well). Things happen to push the two together (an accident leaving Leo ill and in need of nursing, a conveniently overlooked legal matter that Leo must marry and produce an heir or risk losing Ramsey House) and pull them apart (Catherine has a mysterious past from which she is obviously still running).
All in all this book was good. I think that if Leo weren’t the rake I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. The second Hathaway book I had no trouble picking up not having read the first; enough was explained to me in the beginning that I understood enough about the characters involved to get into the story. With this book, however, I think it’s a little harder to come in not having read the previous entries. I haven’t read the first or third ones so I’m not sure how much Leo and Catherine’s arguments and banter really get attention. This book starts off talking about how much the two hate each other but if you hadn’t read any other entries in the series, I’m not sure that’s believable. Almost immediately Leo is picturing her naked and wanting to sleep with her so it’s not like he’s unaware that his hatred is actually just passion. Catherine can’t stop thinking about kissing him once it happens and quickly their banter turns more playful than full of animosity. This strives to be “Taming of the Shrew” or Pride & Prejudice level love/hate but really you’re given recess pigtail pulling.
Catherine’s history turns out to be sad and her hard edges soften. She holds her own against Leo for the most part and isn’t a drooping wallflower. Leo is of course charming and hot and there’s a lot of sexy time for these two. I’ve read two romances in the past week so it’s fresh in my mind: how come all these virgins are having all these orgasms? Where was that when I was younger? It’s not a big deal to me that the sex isn’t always super realistic, as it doesn’t reach 50 Shades proportions of ridiculousness and often involves unselfish lovers.
This Hathaway novel is fun and a decent read but I was hoping for a little more hate before all the love started happening. I’ll probably still read the others though. Beach trip’s coming soon so I’m gonna stock up.