19 June, 2016

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas #Review


Cold-Hearted Rake

Pages -  419 pages
Published -  October 27, 2015
Publisher -  Avon
Sold by -  HarperCollins Publishers
Amazon -  Buy Link
Series -  The Ravenels #1
Genre -  Historical Romance/Regency
Language -  2 F-bombs
Sexual Content -  4/5




SYNOPSIS


A twist of fate . . .
Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.
A clash of wills . . .
Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:
Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?


REVIEW


Let me begin by saying the 3 stars was difficult to do with this novel, but do it I must (I gave her 5 at Amazon).

Like everyone else who is a HUGE fan of Lisa's, the anticipated release of her latest Regency proved as difficult to await as it was to put down.

And, yet, it felt somewhat lacking in expected appeal to me.

Ju-ust  shy of a let-down.

The brothers' Ravenel came off as hilariously irreverent as they are coarse yet refined.

They're two siblings who have stuck together since childhood in order to care for one another and survive the thoughtless habits of their uninterested parents.

And, the Trenear line has forever been plagued with short-tempered, foul-mouthed men who tend to die sooner than should be, with the lineage dwindling down to just these two now that their cousin, Theo, has met his maker just three days into his marriage.

Lady Kathleen grew up in a similar, careless environment, with parents far more interested in their hobby of raising horseflesh than in raising their only daughter.

She grew up with an aunt who had strict and rigid notions about life and how one should live it.

Decorum, propriety, and outward appearances mean everything to Kathleen, and when the two relatives show up so that Devon can stake his unwanted claim on the earldom, the two don't see eye to eye and are at odds straight away.

He's funny but pissy, and she's pissy but also a bit more level-headed than he.

Eight months have passed since her husband's death occurred, and she's still in mourning according to society dictates.

Devon doesn't see the point and digs for intimate details about the relationship, the brief, three-day marriage, and about how Kathleen really feels when push comes to shove.

And shove Devon does, but with the wit, humor, and determination that work to make him a prize catch in my or any level-headed woman's eyes.

He's not interested in the earldom or the cash-strapped holdings he's inherited, but once he gets to know Kathleen and his three female cousins a bit better, Devon has a change of heart.

West (his younger brother, Weston) does a majority of the work, however, while Devon continues to pursue Kathleen in the hopes of wearing her down just enough to get her into his bed.

But even after that goal is achieved, Kathleen remains stubborn and unwilling to bend or cater to Devon's selfish inclinations.

That's not to say Kathleen isn't equally attracted to Devon, because she is, and almost straight away, too. But the rigid upbringing forces her to keep a cool head and not let her heart do the thinking for her.

The HEA occurs, and like all Kleypas novels, I was eager to read the story to find out how it would end, and then sad to know it was finally over.





So, for the price of a whopper w/cheese and some fries, I bought book two in The Ravenels series: Marrying Winterbourne.



SOME THOUGHTS



Yes, it was deliciously Lisa Kleypas and yes, it was a true page-turner, and yes, aside from one misspelled word, it was flawlessly written.

However,

It didn't quite feel like a Lisa Kleypas novel, and I still don't quite know why.

Sure, it's horrible of me to even think to compare her older work with her newer work, and I try very hard not to do that, but as I kept reading, I kept wondering what was wrong and why wasn't it grabbing me by the throat (and heart) like her previous novels had?

The two leads didn't feel as well-developed and charming as others in her well-stocked stable of H & h characters, and I think it had a lot to do with the additional love story, too many aside characters, and an indecisive feeling about what seemed most important: the love story, the inheritance, or the lives of the aside characters.

It just felt as if Lisa was a bit more interested in Helen and Rhy's story than she was in Kathleen and Devon, and that just made me sad.

Devon was cool! Kathleen, not so much.

Probably the first heroine of Lisa's who didn't appeal to me on any level, and like a lot of romance novels I've read by others, Kathleen just wasn't developed enough (or perhaps too set in her ways) to give the impression of worthiness.

That isn't something I've ever said or felt about any Kleypas characters, hero or heroine.

Even if one or both of them manage to piss me off straightaway with their uptight, arrogant, hell-bent mentality, the author always works her magic to make me come around to their side and end up rooting for them at the least; adoring them at most.

Not this time with the heroine, Kathleen.

I did enjoy Devon and kind of, sort of hoped that Kathleen would run away so he could pine for her until another, more worthy heroine shows up.

I think I had more compassion for and knew more about Weston and (Rhy's eventual butler) than I did Kathleen or the 'romance'.

There was more information about Arabian horses, their proper handling, and the correct attire worn by a lady of the time than there was build-up and heat rising in the romance category of things.

And honestly, it made no sense at all that Rhy's and Helen's story would come between Devon and Kathleen, and that it received as much attention as it had.

Yes, it made me REALLY want to read their full story, but it also offered a mild sense of resentment and a lack of true fulfillment I normally receive any time I read a Kleypas novel -- Contemporary or Regency.

My worry now is that I'll start reading Marrying Winterbourne, and about a third of the way through, Weston's romance will overshadow Rhy's and Helen's story!





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