Wednesday, March 29, 2006

REVIEWBALL #1: Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas

The Devil in Winter
by Lisa Kleypas

Cai: Book three (four if you count Again the Magic) in the Wallflower series, this tells the story of Sebastian and Evangeline. At first glance, no one would put these two characters together – the dissolute admitted rake who beds a woman once and then forgets her existence and the shy-to-the-point-of-stammering virtuous young woman. But on closer examination, they’re great together. Evie needs someone with enough clout and physical strength to protect her from her mother’s family, Sebastian needs her wealth.

SL: I couldn’t get it. Why did chronically, painfully, paralyzingly shy Evangeline go after the man who had threatened one of her friends? I loved the two earlier books along with Against The Magic so I looked forward to Devil. I wasn’t sure Kleypas could hold on to the enchantment of the first two wallflower stories.

Cai: As the story begins, Sebastian believes Evie to be a simpleton, but as they discuss their “marriage of convenience” (BIG RED FLAG for romance readers everywhere (g) ), he realizes she’s actually quite intelligent and surprisingly quite attractive. Evie quite firmly tells him she will have sex with him ONCE (another BRF) to validate their marriage, and then she expects him to find his release elsewhere. Sebastian counters by telling her he’s fine with that arrangement as he’s easily bored, especially by inexperience – you just have to love a true rake!

SL: Personally I adore “marriage of convenience” stories with their conflict already built in. An author has so much room to play with. Where Kleypas really grabbed me was the setting. Did she put our erstwhile couple in a townhome in Mayfair? A country estate? Not even! She stuck them in the middle of a falling-down-around-their-ears gambling establishment. Ok, Ms. Kleypas, you now have my attention. And who is that dreamy Gypsy lad? Can I have two of him to go?

Cai: Now, every romance reader everywhere is going, “Okay, I get it. Marriage of Convenience. Of course they’re going to fall in love with one another, of course neither will admit it, and of course there are going to be several misunderstandings along the way to that HEA.” Well, you’re right. I’m not giving anything away by telling you that those expectations will be met. However…it’s the journey to that HEA that makes The Devil in Winter such an enjoyable read.

SL: But Cai… you have to tell the reader something about the book to get them to read it. You do want them to read it right? Can’t you tell them about the bath scene? Or the recovering from a bullet wound scene? Ok, I guess we really can’t, but trust me, they are GREAT moments in this book. After devouring the book in one night, I realized why this book leapt up the best seller charts.

Cai: You will cry with Evie at certain points in the book, which I will not elaborate on. You will cheer for Sebastian as he comes into his own as a responsible man. You’ll want a fan nearby when at one particular point in the book, Sebastian tells his bride just what he’d like to do to and with her! And, if you’re like me, you’ll lust after a certain Irish Gypsy (g) and be looking forward to his story.

There’s intrigue and evil aplenty in the form of Evie’s family. I LOVE the confrontation scenes.

All in all, I give this story a rousing CHEER.

SL: Good sex, funny tete-a-tetes between not only the hero and heroine, but the hero and his best friend and the heroine and her friends as well. So far, this is not my favorite of the Wallflowers, but I will give it a sitting in the bleachers CHEER. Stand-up cheers are my best.

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