I have been convinced by all the love shown for Lisa Kleypas that she’s worth reading. It’s also helpful that she has so many books that there’s always at least one that’s available immediately from the library when I get the urge for some romance.
Dreaming of You (1994) by Lisa Kleypas involves a man and a woman who fall in love and live happily ever after. Sara Fielding is a novelist from the country, come to London to do research on gambling halls for her next book. Although she is very proper and sheltered, she is also adventurous and open-minded. Derek Craven was a boy from the streets who pulled himself up by his bootstraps to become a fabulously wealthy, gambling establishment owner.
When Sara saves Derek when he is attacked in an alley, she begins to use his club for her research and sparks begin to fly. They must overcome obstacles: Derek’s jealous ex-lover, Derek’s inability to love, and Sara’s fiance back home, and it is all very romantic. Derek saves Sara a number of times and can’t resist himself. There is also a glimpse of another couple (Lucy and Alex) who are somewhat involved in Derek’s life. I’m mainly mentioning this because I found Lucy and Alex interesting enough to pick up their book and read it next.
Some of this plot was predictably ridiculous, but because Kleypas did pretty well with the emotions and kept the story interesting, it didn’t bother me while I was reading it. It was a good one.
Click here for the rest of my reviews on my blog.
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.
Lisa Kleypas’ Devil in Winter is the third in a series of books on a group of women who call themselves ‘the Wallflowers’ in 19th-century London. Evangeline Jenner appears on the doorstep of the notorious rake Sebastian St. Vincent one night – UNCHAPERONED – and makes a request Sebastian could never have seen coming. Evangeline (“Evie”) has been ill-treated by her relations who now see her father’s impending death from consumption as an opportunity to force Evie into marrying her corpulent cousin Eustace (I think that’s his name, it’s something Chester-Molester-y like that) so they can control the fortune Evie will inherit as her father’s sole heir. Due to events discussed in another Wallflowers novel, Evie is well aware that Sebastian is desperate to marry a wealthy heiress; his father has laid waste to the family coffers. So, she makes a proposal: she will agree to a marriage of convenience with Sebastian. His family’s money problems will be solved and she’ll be protected from her father’s unscrupulous relations. She agrees to consummate the marriage once to ensure it cannot be annulled, but beyond that, she refuses to become yet another notch in Sebastian’s notorious bedpost.
I haven’t read that many romances in my life; I can count them on two hands I am sure. I mention this because I know that I don’t have much to compare it to but I found Kleypas’ third Wallflower book delightful and cast with one of the best couples I’ve read yet. Evangeline Jenner is painfully shy because of a stutter and not quite part of high society because her father runs a gambling club. Her marriage prospects are dim, as a result, and she has little self-confidence to change this. She realizes that she can be strong and makes the daring decision to align herself to the most despicable womanizer in London just to escape the violent hatred of her aunt and uncle who may or may not be planning to kill her once her inheritance arrives. As the novel continues we witness Evie growing increasingly confident in her decisions and feelings and she really starts to become anything BUT a wallflower.
Who am I kidding though, right? The absolute best part of this whole book is Sebastian. What this may or may not say about me, I don’t know. I think I’m safe in assuming that we all (at least those of us who swing that way) can’t resist a man like Sebastian. Swoon! Tall? Check. Gorgeous eyes? Check. Fantastic in bed? Check. Could care less about you? Check! Sure some/most of us do grow out of it but there is something so attractive about the man who is not good for you at all. It’s why we love Sawyer, Eric Northman, Spike, etc. Sebastian can go on this list. I don’t know what else to say except he’s the best, and I’ve always enjoyed that name.
There are some minor characters that appear who I’ve met in other of Kleypas’ work; I enjoy how she has built an entire community. The threat to the main couple does seem a little bit of a stretch, but the violence involved does speed up the process by which our favorite libertine Sebastian realizes what he truly feels for his new wife. The sex is pretty hot as well. I’ll probably pick up more Kleypas when next I’m at the library. I do have another already on the nightstand so I’m sure it’ll be my Memorial-Day-lounging-by-the-lake read. Also, thanks MrsJulien for directing me to Sebastian. I’m definitely going to look for him in her other books.
Of all the peculiar and eccentric Hathaway siblings, Beatrix is possibly the freest spirit, the one most unorthodox and unlikely to fit comfortably into the staid norms of polite Victorian society. She rescues strays and injured animals and nurses them back to health, and if they can’t be released back into the wild, then she adopts them as pets, to the mixed amusement and frustration of the rest of her family. Her mischievous ferret was partially responsible for the match her sister Poppy made with Harry Rutledge, and somewhat instrumental in the romance of her governess Catherine Marks and her older brother Leo, as well. Sensitive, philosophical and with a deep love of animals, Beatrix has always been able to charm men, but she is not what they would consider a good marriage prospect.
So Beatrix has pretty much resigned herself that she will become the spinster aunt, when she overhears her friend Prudence complaining about the dull letters from her suitor, Captain Christopher Phelan. One of the handsomest and most eligible gentlemen in Hampshire, Captain Phelan has been called off to fight the war in Crimea. Prudence finds his letters deathly dull, and being a vivacious and attractive beauty, she has many more suitors available to her at home. She has no real intention of writing a reply to Christopher. Beatrix, despite the fact that she overheard Christopher dismissing her as fit only for the stables at a picnic (a comment Prudence saw fit to share with as many people as possible, ensuring that most of the county knew about it too), realises that someone has to write to the brave young man, to comfort him in the hell he’s living. She convinces Prudence to let her write a reply, then they’ll sign Prudence’s name to it, and no one will be the wiser. How does it turn out? Read the rest of my review to see.
For nearly three years, the secretive Miss Catherine Marks has been the governess and companion of the two youngest Hathaway sisters. As the family is unorthodox and eccentric, and two of the sisters have married Gypsies, it’s not the easiest task in the world for Miss Marks to instruct the girls on suitable behaviour, attire and conversation topics. She’s grateful for the safety and comfort the position provides, but lives in fear that one day the dark secrets of her past will come out, and she’ll be forced to leave them. The only fly in the ointment is Leo Hathaway, Lord Ramsey, a carefree and dissolute rake who takes great pleasure in needling and teasing her every time they meet. Lately, the teasing and barbs have changed in nature, though, and it seems as if there may be more than mutual loathing between the two of them.
Read the rest of the review on my blog. Review contains some spoilers for book 3 in the series, though, so be warned.
Poppy Hathaway is the second youngest of the Hathaway siblings, and frequently wishes that her family weren’t quite so unconventional and colourful. When her sister’s pet ferret runs off with one of her love letters, while her family are staying at the fashionable Rutledge hotel, she is desperate to retrieve it, so the truth of her secret courtship with the promising young isn’t revealed. She runs into Harry Rutledge, the enigmatic, powerful and reclusive owner of the hotel, who seems amuse and intrigued by her predicament.
While Harry may be a highly eligible bachelor, he hasn’t seriously considered marriage until he meets Poppy. It doesn’t take many meetings before he decides that he wants to have her, though, and he will use any trick necessary to win her, even if it means fighting very dirty indeed. Soon Poppy finds herself jilted by her gentle suitor, whose father has found out about their hopes, and not long after finds herself very publicly compromised by Harry Rutledge, who of course promises to marry her (despite assurances from her family that they’ll weather the scandal and she needn’t marry anyone at all), and give her everything she could have hoped or dreamed of. Except closeness and affection, as these are things Harry himself have never experienced either.
Full review on my blog.
2.5 stars (based entirely on all the other Hathaway siblings in this book, NOT the main couple).
Kev Merripen has loved Winnifred “Win” Hathaway since the first time he saw her, when her eccentric family took him in after the Gypsy tribe his uncle was the leader of left him injured and dying. Having been trained to fight anything and anyone, and been treated no better than a vicious dog, Merripen is hostile and distrustful at first, but the care and kindness of the various Hathaways, especially Win, ensures that the family have his undying loyalty. As the years go by, everyone in the family know that Merripen and Win love each other, but their feelings go unspoken, mainly because Merripen is convinced that Win is far too good for him, and he would harm her if he was with her.
Before Win goes to France with her brother Leo (now a Viscount after a distant cousin died and left Leo the only heir) to France to a health clinic (having never recovered entirely from a bout of scarlet fever that killed Leo’s fiancee which sent him into a destructive grief spiral), she tries to confront Merripen. They kiss, but he sends her away, heart-broken. She returns two years later, healthy and more beautiful than ever. Merripen has become cold and bitter, having used all his energies into getting the Hathaway estate into shape. He’s not happy to see that Win has brought along the handsome and charming doctor who runs the clinic, and who seems quite determined to marry her, if she’ll have him. Read my scathing thoughts on this book on my blog.