Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Reviewlet: "Devil in Winter" by Lisa Kleypas

I'm really enjoying Lisa Kleypas' "Wallflower" series, but, so far, "Devil in Winter" is my favorite.

There's just something about a reformed rogue, after all.

The Wallflowers are four young women who enter London society and band together to catch suitable husbands. In "Devil in Winter," it's Evangeline Jenner's turn.

Evie is incredibly shy, with a stutter and a serious lack of confidence. Her father is a rich gambling hall owner, but Evie lives with her horrifically abusive extended family. They want her to marry her portly cousin, and she suspects that once they get their claws on her sizable inheritance, they'll kill her for her money.

In "Secrets of a Summer Night" and "It Happened One Autumn," Evie comes across as very shy, meek girl, but her inner strength comes out in "Devil In Winter," when she sneaks out of her family's house and proposes marriage to a notorious rake: Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. Sebastian agrees because he needs the money. Evie does have one condition: They can consummate the marriage, and then they are to never have sex again. (You can guess how well THAT works out ...)

"Devil in Winter" is a darker book than "Secrets of a Summer Night" and "It Happened One Autumn," and that depth is part of what I like about it. There is more of a feeling of danger and of redemption for the characters. Evie must learn to harness her inner strength and do a lot of things that are terrifying for a shy young woman, and Sebastian is a pretty damaged individual who must forgive his family and himself for the things that have led him to his wild lifestyle. The interplay between Evie and Sebastian is fantastic, and the way that they help each other is romantic and touching.

There is also a lot of excitement, and although I was sure that things were going to turn out OK for Evie and Sebastian, there was a lot of tension throughout the book. Since the bulk of the action in "Devil in Winter" takes place in Jenner's gambling club in London instead of on a country estate, there is a different feel that I really, really like. There are also some great new side characters, my favorite being the half-gypsy Cam Rohan. (I was thrilled, then, when Kel and I were discussing Lisa Kleypas' novels and she assured me that Cam shows up in the Hathaway novels.)

The story is sweet, sexy, exciting and romantic, and I couldn't put the novel down. I'm still fairly new to the romance novel trend, but thus far, "Devil in Winter" might be my favorite I've read!

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