Review of “Devil in Spring” by Lisa Kleypas

Click for Lisa Kleypas website.

I like everything Lisa Kleypas writes but this 3rd book in the Ravenel series, “Devil in Spring,” is especially fun. Readers of this series will remember the unexpected and erotic romance of the former Lord St. Vincent, Sebastian, now the Duke of Kingston, and his Duchess Evangeline (Evie). The new Lord St. Vincent in this book is their oldest son and heir, Gabriel.

Like his father before him, Gabriel is a bit of a “devil” and has a bit of a reputation as a ladies’ man. At a posh event he comes across a young lady, Pandora Ravenel, in an awkward situation in a summer house. As far-fetched as it sounds, she was seeking a lost an earring and in attempting to find it ended up stuck in the woodwork of the settee. Gabriel hears her distress and comes along and attempts to help her out of the situation. Unfortunately, someone else comes along and finds them in what appears to be an erotic situation.

Of course, being found alone with a male in the late 1880s, let alone in a summer house, was enough to mean a marriage proposal. In this case, Pandora simply wasn’t interested in marrying Gabriel. In fact, she didn’t want to marry anyone.

A feminist long before her time, Pandora wants to be independent and manage her own business, which is designing, manufacturing and marketing a board game.  The thing is, while middle and lower class women had to work in in 1876, upper class women not only didn’t but were ridiculed if they did.

In that kind of environment, free time was spent on such activities as house parties and balls. With the result that there were always activities needed to keep everyone happy and busy. And, board games fit that need — particularly for rainy days.

Anyway, the plot in this novel is three-fold:  Gabriel trying to change Pandora’s mind to marry him and Pandora’s quest for financial independence. The third thread is about Gabriel loving Pandora precisely because she was “different.”

If I have any complaints about this novel, which are not serious ones of course, it is that Gabriel’s fight to win Pandora’s hand went on a bit longer than I felt necessary. Since the cover of the book shows a young woman in a wedding dress, readers can guess the outcome.

And, so, to my mind, regardless of the outcome, what is important about this book is to what extent Pandora had to struggle to be her own person — something we take for granted now. At that time, in the late 19th century, when a woman married, absolutely everything went to her husband. Everything. She “owned” nothing. What Gabriel does, and I found especially interesting, is just how far he had to go legally to give his wife some control over her own money. Kleypas did an excellent job in covering the common laws that he and Pandora would have to work around.

I highly recommend this historical romance, which I was able to borrow from my local public library, and give it 4 stars out of 5.

Published by Avon in February 2017
(275 pages minus Author’s notes).

Review of “Marrying Winterborne” by Lisa Kleypas

Click for Lisa Kleypas site.

Click for Lisa Kleypas site.

For those readers who love historical romances, the new Lisa Kleypas series on the Ravenels are a must read. Starting with “Cold Hearted Rake” about Devon Ravenel and Kathleen, Lady Trenear, this second book in the trilogy is about self-made man Rhys Winterborne, a rough around the edges Welshman, and Devon’s sister, Lady Helen Ravenel.

Without a doubt, this is going to be a hard book to review because to say anything concrete about this story is to spoil the narrative. What I will say, however, is that I loved this book and, in spite of the fact that it is 416 pages long, I actually read it over a single day.

Kleypas makes us love both Rhys and Helen from the get go. And, we are sucked right into the plot when unexpected events happen and we learn her great secret, a secret that could ruin both their plans to marry.

However, not to disappoint, things do manage to work themselves out towards the end but in a way that makes us want the third book in our hands NOW. Meaning, that Lisa Kleypas is one heck of an amazing writer.

I get my books from my community public library and have already looked to see if there is a hold list for “Devil in Spring” (not yet) about Lady Pandora Ravenel and Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent.

Certainly the name “Lord St. Vincent” is a name that will bring back memories for many readers of another Kleypas book, which I did not review, that was published back in 2006 and titled “Devil in Winter.” It was about the scoundrel Sebastian, also known as Lord St. Vincent, and Evie and their “marriage deal.”

Well, it seems that Kleypas is about to merge the characters from that book into the 3rd Ravenel book because Gabriel is Sebastian and Evie’s now adult son!!

How time flies — even in the world of fiction!

Initially I thought that the title “Marrying Winterborne” was weak. But, when I tried to come up with an alternative title, I couldn’t. The reality is that this entire book really is about Helen marrying Winterborne and all the challenges leading up to the possibility of that event.

Published by Avon and as an ebook, I rate “Marrying Winterborne” 5 stars, which is a rare decision for me.