By Miranda Owen
About a million years ago, while hanging out in various online historical
romance book groups, people kept extolling the virtues of Lisa Kleypasâ€™ books.
Specifically, readers said that nobody writes to-die-for heroes like Lisa
Kleypas does. Particular favorites in the book groups were Zachary Bronson from
WHERE DREAMS BEGIN and
Derek Craven in DREAMING OF
YOU. These self-made, passionate men are incredibly complex characters and
capture a readerâ€™s imagination. I enjoyed Zacharyâ€™s story, but I am firmly and
forever Team Alex rather than Team Derek. Over the years, my Lisa Kleypas
addiction grew. Whenever thereâ€™s a reader poll for top ten favorite heroes, I
find a majority of my picks are created by Lisa Kleypas. My favorites include
Alex from THEN CAME YOU,
Nick Gentry from WORTH ANY
PRICE, Simon Hunt and the devilish and delicious Sebastian from the Wallflowers
series, and Leo Hathaway in MARRIED BY MORNING.
I was ecstatic when I first learned that Lisa Kleypas was coming out with the Ravenels series,
since Iâ€™m wild for her historical romances. Happily, this series does not
disappoint. The deliciously gothic setting of Eversby Priory combined with the
passionate Ravenels makes for entertaining stories. The heroines in the
â€śRavenelsâ€ť series are a diverse group of women and, consequently, their journeys
are very different. The heroes in this series are equally as diverse as the
heroines, and each are dashing in their own way. As a longtime fan, I was most
anxious about how DEVIL IN SPRING would turn out, since I adored DEVIL IN WINTER
so much. In the end, DEVIL IN SPRING is my favorite book in this series so far.
introduces the world of the Ravenels. Recently widowed Kathleen Ravenel is
determined to think of newly minted Lord Trenear as an irredeemable cold-hearted
rake. Her opinion is colored slightly by her experience with her late husband
and by her sense of guilt over his sudden death. First books in a series can
often drag, because of all the basic info given to the reader to set up a
series. I found COLD-HEARTED RAKE to be thoroughly engrossing and a great book
to lock yourself away with. It takes some time, but Kathleen eventually sees
that Devon is not the villain she first supposes him to be. The Ravenels all
experience some growing pains as a family in this book, but the romance that
slowly develops between Devon and Kathleen takes precedence over everything.
What I love most about this story is the exquisite sexual tension between the
hero and heroine, and the way the characters make you care about them. This
first book hooked me on this series.
picks up exactly where COLD-HEARTED RAKE leaves off â€“ with a frank conversation
between wealthy department store owner Rhys Winterborne, and the kind-hearted
and somewhat delicate Lady Helen Ravenel. I admit that, at the beginning of this
story, I could never have anticipated the direction that Lisa Kleypas would take
these characters. Rhys has many of the same qualities as other self-made
businessmen characters written by Lisa Kleypas. Yes, Rhys finds the idea of
marrying somebody from the aristocracy attractive, but I like the way he is
enchanted by Helen almost from first meeting her. Secrets play a big part in
MARRYING WINTERBORNE, and there is a huge threat to the happiness of this hero
and heroine, with lots of suspense to keep the story lively. While initially
seeming like opposites and an unlikely match, this hero and heroine provide
everything each other needs.
DEVIL IN SPRING is the
third, and my favorite, â€śRavenelsâ€ť book. DEVIL IN WINTER is one of my
most cherished books with an amazingly naughty and witty anti-hero. DEVIL IN
SPRING is about that characterâ€™s son. A few of my favorite historical romance
authors have written about children of main characters from an earlier series.
Some series make that transition better than others, but I was incredibly
anxious about this one. Not only do I enjoy this book immensely, and I love the
main characters, but I am eager to read more stories built around Gabrielâ€™s
family. Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent is unaware of his date with destiny when he
encounters the unconventional and spirited Lady Pandora Ravenel. Pandora is a
heroine who is both quirky and capable, while also suffering from an ailment for
years. Gabriel loves his father but is quick to remind others, as well as the
reader, that there are a few key differences. The family interactions in this
story are a lot of fun and the complexities of each character make a much richer
story. I admire Pandoraâ€™s determination to not marry under any terms other than
her own, and I also admire Gabrielâ€™s eventual realization that he loves her
enough to try and give her as much freedom as heâ€™s able to for the time period
heâ€™s living in. Mutual respect is something that permeates the couples in this
story and HELLO STRANGER as well.
In the fourth book in this series â€“ HELLO STRANGER - Dr.
Garrett Gibson is an extremely formidable heroine and the only female doctor in
England. Although she normally avoids prolonged romantic entanglements with men,
Ethan Ransom is hard to dismiss. Ethan might have some of the most egalitarian
beliefs when it comes to women. He admires Garrettâ€™s intelligence and strength,
and has no reluctance about teaching her to fight dirty in order to protect
herself. This hero and heroine make a striking couple since she is nobodyâ€™s fool
and he is part Batman and part Sherlock Holmes. The political intrigue and
danger add excitement to this romance. One of the things that separates this
story from others in this series, is that there are no chaperones and society
power plays. There are a few dastardly villains, and some risk to life and limb,
but at the end of the day itâ€™s a steamy and well-written romance between a
detective and a doctor.
A Lisa Kleypas book is like the â€ślittle black dressâ€ť of historical romance â€“ it
never goes out of style, and is perfect for any occasion. This series has
something for every historical fan â€“ devilishly handsome smooth-talking heroes â€“
both aristocratic and common, heroines who are all intelligent but have varied
temperaments, drawing room banter and clinches, along with an eclectic mix of
evildoers and perilous predicaments. All of these things make this â€śRavenelsâ€ť
series delish and I canâ€™t wait for the next one!
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