Friday, January 11, 2008
The Devil In Winter - Lisa Kleypas
The first of my rereads and, I'm happy to say, a winner! I really like the "bad boy saved by the love of a good woman" story. If said bad boy doesn't take himself too seriously and has a bit of self deprecating humour all the better. This book has that and also an innocent heroine who proves that she can be shy but she is definitely not stupid.
Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!
Sebastian’s reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden’s good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.
But Evie’s proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine’s callously discarded broken hearts—which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions…or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.
Both these characters have shown up previously in the two books of the Wallflower series. Especially in the last one Sebastien shows a dark side that leaves us wondering if he will ever be redeeemed. In this book not only do we realise that he is sorry for his actions but he also did it a bit without thinking it through and without the heart to really go through with his threats. Now he is slowly destroying himself with guilt and drink when Evie arrives. I write this review thinking I really must go and reread the other wallflower books, Sebastian doesn't really show a dark side in this book, he is more like a naughty boy and I'm left wondering if Kleypas lightened his character a bit.
From the moment Sebastian accepts Evie's proposal of marriage and they are off to Gretna Green two things happen. Evie decides she must avoid physical contact to better be immune to his charm and shows a strong will that we wouldn't have guessed she possess. And Sebastian shows more and more concern with her well being even before he starts to show a very obvious physical attraction to her. As Evie reveals herself as a very determined and strong willed young woman Sebastian let's his guard down and not only admits to his attraction to Evie but undertakes the job of putting Jenner's Club working again thus admiting a need to fulfill his life with more than just pursuing women and gambling.
There are a few villains in this story, first Evie's family and then an ex-employee of Jenner's with a mysterious grudge, who will add some exciting moments to the story and provide the opportunity for Sebastian to reconcile himself with his old friend Westcliff and with Lillian. But the story would be perfect even without the secondary mystery as the main thing is Sebastian's growth as a person and how that is accomplished through is relationship with Evie and her actions that force him to admit his feelings for her.
Another thing I greatly enjoyed in this series is the friendship between the four women. They are really different from one another and their scenes together work just great.