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Devil in Spring

(The Ravenels, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy-and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven…

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Like every other Lisa Kleypas fan, I was so excited when I discovered that the hero of this book is Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, the son of one of her most beloved couples, Sebastian and Evie from DEVIL IN WINTER. My expectations were obviously high and I’m happy to say that, apart from a couple of niggles, I loved it.

The Prologue was just delightful and it was wonderful seeing Sebastian and Evie still so in love even after 30 years of marriage and Sebastian has lost none of his devilment.

“The rest of the world can wait,” Sebastian said firmly. “I’m going to debauch you for the ten thousandth time, Evie – and for once, I want you to pay attention.”

“Yes, sir,” she said demurely, and looped her arms around her husband’s neck as he carried her to their bedroom.

Gabriel has clearly inherited traits from both his parents; handsome, witty, astute, charming and worldly like his father and kind, understanding and compassionate like his mother. As heir to a dukedom, he takes his responsibilities seriously, having assumed management of many of the family’s business interests at a young age.   He is well aware of the expectations of others and carries the constant burden of having to maintain the perfect image. However, there is another side to him…his darker sexual appetites which his married mistress is more than happy to fulfil.

For the past two years, Nola had fully indulged Gabriel’s every desire, their encounters unhindered by morals or inhibitions. She always knew when to push the limits farther, coming up with new tricks to spark his interest and satisfy his complex desires

One of my niggles is that Ms. Kleypas never explores this aspect of Gabriel’s character in any real depth and, to me, it seemed like a contrived way of making Gabriel seem less than perfect.

By having Pandora suffering from ADHD, Ms. Kleypas has created a delightfully quirky, adorable heroine who is impulsive, spirited, creative and ambitious. A conventional life has no appeal at all for her and marriage is not on the cards. Pandora plans to support herself and live independently by becoming a business woman and marketing her new board game. I love her habit of making up words, such as calling the elaborate wooden curls and twists carved into the back of the settee, in which she gets her dress caught, swirladingles.

Pandora and Gabriel seem the most unlikely couple but Ms. Kleypas makes the romance work so beautifully. It is such a captivating blend of witty banter, heated kisses and tender, sensual love scenes. I love how Ms Kleypas imbues their romance with lovely touches of humour and this is one of my favourites exchanges:

“Are you thinking about the Queen?” he heard Pandora ask eventually, while the engorged length of his shaft throbbed vehemently between them. “Because if you are, it’s not working.”   

Gabriel’s lips twitched at the helpful observation. He replied with his eyes still closed. “With you sitting on me in that sweet little nightdress, it wouldn’t matter if the Queen were standing in this room with a contingent of guards in full uniform.”

I also love it when Gabriel is whispering all the things he wants to do to Pandora but he’s whispering into her bad ear and she can’t hear him!

I loved meeting Sebastian and Evie’s other children and Ms. Kleypas portrays the loving relationship between the family so well. I was especially intrigued by Gabriel’s caustic older, widowed sister, Phoebe, and do hope she gets a Happy Ever After. Dr.  Garrett Gibson and detective Ethan Ransome, who were both in Marrying Winterborne, make an appearance. I also loved seeing my favourite Wallflower hero, Westcliff, in a cameo role.

My other niggle concerned the dramatic event in the last quarter of the book. It seemed totally unrelated to the rest of the story and more like a plot device to highlight a possible future hero and heroine. However, my niggles in no way spoiled my enjoyment of the book.

MY VERDICT: Enchanting, romantic, sexy and funny – a winning combination.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

The Ravenels series to date (click on the book covers for more details):

Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1) by Lisa Kleypas Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels, #2) by Lisa Kleypas Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3) by Lisa Kleypas

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(The Ravenels, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better . . .

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable . . . the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Mr. Winterborne

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After being somewhat disappointed by Cold-Hearted Rake, I LOVED this book! It reminded me in so many ways of the wonderful Wallflowers and Hathaways series.

My Rhys Winterborne

Ms Kleypas writes some of the dreamiest self-made heroes in Historical Romance and I’m adding Rhys Winterborne to that illustrious list. I love how, from the moment he meets Helen, this big, arrogant, ruthless Welshman is totally crazy about her and complete putty in her hands.

He had always enjoyed women casually, sampling their favors with relaxed ease. Not one of them had ever caused this aching craving that Helen seemed to have unlocked from the center of his soul.

My Lady Helen Ravenel

Helen reminds me so much of Evie in The Devil in Winter. At first, she appears sweet and shy but soon reveals an inner strength and I love how she is more than a match for Rhys in her own quiet, determined way. She knows who and what she wants and is bold enough to go after it.

He was no Byron, no poetry-spouting connoisseur of seduction. He was a Welshman with stamina. As for techniques and romance— well, obviously that was best left to the French.

In fact, Rhys is surprisingly romantic and I love how he treats Helen with total adoration; woos her and shows such tenderness and caring. The scene where he shows her his special gift is just beautiful and utterly romantic. It had me sighing dreamily. I love his reaction when Helen shares her darkest secret with him, believing he wouldn’t want her anymore. It made me love him even more.

Ms Kleypas’s love scenes are sensual but also full of emotion and tenderness.

No matter how long he stared at Helen, he couldn’t have his fill. Every detail of her struck fresh notes of pleasure in him: the supple lines of her body, the pretty curves of her breasts. The white-blonde hair that spilled and streamed over his forearm, catching light as if it were liquid. And most of all her face, innocent in sleep, bereft of its usual composed mask. The wistful softness of her mouth went straight to his heart. How was it that he could hold her so close and still want more of her?

Helen’s combination of naivety and burgeoning boldness is so endearing and I love Rhys’s down-to-earth answers and explanations.

I enjoyed all the smaller details we discover like Helen’s love of orchids and Rhys’s love of peppermint creams (a favourite of mine too). Living in Wales, I adore the Welsh endearments Rhys uses like “Cariad” and “Bychan” and, being English, I appreciated the glossary provided in the Author’s Note.

There is a wonderful cast of secondary characters who enrich the story and are all deserving of their own stories. There is West who has renounced his former rakish ways in favour of muddy boots and breeches; the quirky, irrepressible twins Pandora and Cassandra; Rhys’s enigmatic friend Severin and Dr. Garrett Gibson, determined to succeed in a male dominated profession and provides one of the best quotes in the book:

“This is Mr. Winterborne. The one with the department store. He needs to be treated by a real physician with experience and proper training, not to mention—”
“A penis?” she suggested acidly. “I’m afraid I don’t have one of those. Nor is it a requirement for a medical degree. I am a real physician, and the sooner I treat Mr. Winterborne’s shoulder, the better it will go for him.”

Ms Kleypas captures the Victorian world perfectly, painting vivid images, whether it be clothing, food, Rhys’s department store or the grimy London tenements.

Like everyone else, I’m so excited about the next book, Devil in Spring, which features Pandora as the heroine and I think it’s common knowledge among Lisa Kleypas fans that the hero of this book is Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, Sebastian and Evie’s (The Devil in Winter) son. I love the idea of revisiting favourite characters from The Wallflowers series and I’m hoping that Gabriel will be “a chip off the old block”. Unfortunately, I will have to wait until 21st February 2017 to find out.

MY VERDICT: A captivating, romantic and passionate love story, wonderful characters and lyrical, evocative writing make this a must read for anyone who loves Historical Romance. Highly recommended!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read June 2016

 

The Ravenels series so far (click on the book covers for more details):
Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1) by Lisa Kleypas Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels, #2) by Lisa Kleypas

3. Devil in Spring – 21st February 2017

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WATCH THE VIDEO AND THEN CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW!

http://www.lisakleypas.com/book-upcoming.asp

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Do you want to read Chapter 1 of MARRYING WINTERBORNE (The Ravenels, #2)? Just follow the link below.

https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/416161-marrying-winterborne

(The Ravenels, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

A ruthless tycoon
Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

A sheltered beauty
Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable…the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Publication date: 31st May 2016

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