Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (5 stars, historical)


Full Description: Amazon

Rating: 5 out of 5

Thoughts After Reading:  
For the most part, I'm not big on rereading books. I do save all of my favorite novels nowadays, but the plan is to open them again in about 5 or 10 years - once the plots have completely faded from my memory. Kleypas' Devil in Winter, however, ended up being the exception to that rule. By the time I recognized the plot in the back of my mind, I couldn't put the book down: it's just such a touching marriage-of-convenience storyline :).

The major highlight of Devil in Winter is undoubtedly the character development. The heroine starts out as a true wallflower, and the hero a true rake. The heroine's mother died in childbirth, and the heroine's father - while he loved his daughter - had a hard time being demonstrative about his feelings. He made a living running a gaming club, so the heroine grew up with some nasty relatives. The result of this childhood was that she grew up without much self-confidence, often stuttering whenever she is uncomfortable. At the same time, though - perhaps also as a result of this oppressive environment - she has developed an inner strength to fight for what she wants. It is she who approaches the hero with a marriage-of-convenience, to escape her family's clutches and to the freedom to spend time with her dying father. The hero, interestingly, was the villain in the previous book of the series (I haven't read it yet). In addition to developing a infamous reputation for bedding women, he tends to put forward a countenance of indifference and debauchery. He agrees to the marriage, since he needs a heiress to pull him out of debt. Although it takes him most of the book to admit he has a heart, it is quite heartwarming to see his acts of kindness toward the heroine contradict his thoughts and words starting even at the beginning. It is quite clear to the reader that, against his best wishes, he gradually falls desperately in love with the heroine. He even agrees to a three-month period of celibacy toward the beginning of the marriage to prove to the heroine (and probably himself) that he can be faithful. His later actions prove without a shadow of a doubt how much the heroine means to him (although he still fights recognizing his feelings), as well as give the heroine the opportunity to show how much he has come to mean to her. There are other subplots to keep the romance storyline moving, including the hero doing something with his life by taking over the gaming club and a bit of suspense in stopping someone from killing the heroine.

Lisa Kleypas' Devil in Winter is a novel that everyone who calls themselves historical romance fans should read, at least once ;). It is, in my opinion, a beautiful romance that illustrates the power of love.

2 comments:

  1. I haven't read this one Christopher, though it seems to be on everyone's keeper list.

    I've read a couple of her Hathaway books but for some reason I just can't get into her writing. I don't know what it is, maybe I'll give this one a try since everyone raves about it.

    Just finished Joanna Bourne's 'Her Ladyship's Companion' and loved it. Totally different to her Spymaster series, much more a Traditional regency and definitely much lighter in tone.

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    1. Yea, it does seem to be a really popular book. I don't think I've read many of Kleypas' novels, so I can't tell if "The Devil in Winter" is representative of her general writing or not. I've actually held back from reading the other books in her Wallflower series because the storylines don't sound particularly enticing, and I can't imagine the romance plots being nearly as good as "The Devil in Winter".

      "Her Ladyship's Companion" sounds great, I'm going to add it to my clean romance to-read list :).

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