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Chasing Cassandra: The Ravenels Mass Market Paperback – 18 February 2020
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Kleypas's dialog sizzles with sexual tension and witty banter, while the enjoyable secondary characters, particularly the tough but sensitive street urchin Bazzle add humor and warmth. Simply delightful. Recommended for all libraries that serve romance readers.--Library Journal (starred review)
"Another breathtakingly romantic and exquisitely sensual love story that is deftly enhanced by the author's graceful prose and flair for nuanced characterization."--Booklist
"Lisa Kleypas offers up what just might be the best of the bunch--a charming, amusing, heartfelt tale. Kleypas is a romance gem, a queen among a vast royal court of historical romance authors, and Chasing Cassandra is a welcome star in her brightly twinkling constellation of interstellar romantic achievements."--Entertainment Weekly
"Sweet, fun and wonderfully charming."--BookPage
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas graduated from Wellesley College with a political science degree. She's a RITA award-winning author of both historical romance and contemporary women's fiction. She lives in Washington State with her husband Gregory and their two children.
- Publisher : Avon Books (18 February 2020)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062371940
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062371942
- Dimensions : 10.64 x 2.44 x 16.81 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 216,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I liked the H and h, and I was intrigued at the beginning. But although the obstacles keeping them apart were understandable (class differences, hero doesn't believe in love, etc), it dragged along very slowly with the H and h leading separate lives for way, way too long.
Therefore, the story really lost momentum and excitement. Despite the fact that the hero was exceptionally interesting and compelling at the outset, he dithered for way too long without doing anything to get the girl. It's ironic that this book is called "Chasing Cassandra," because the hero does NOT chase Cassandra. He merely sees her briefly every few months. The heroine was very bland, and the hero becomes very bland.
The book became very slow, and frankly quite boring.
The story lacked intensity. And for me intensity is the most important element of a romance novel.
Furthermore, in this book it feels like Ms. Kleypas has jumped on the "social justice warrior" bandwagon of political correctness and "woke" virtue signalling in her writing. It's annoying and anachronistic.
There's no point in writing a historical romance in a historical setting if the entire book is permeated with 21st century politically correct subtext throughout.
It felt like the preachy social justice elements of the story outweighed the romance itself.
(SPOILERS AHEAD). There's way too much "virtuous filler" in this book -
For example, long boring scenes of the hero personally washing fleas and lice off of a dirty urchin (never in a million years would the richest man in England be doing that during Victorian times). And then adopting the urchin and treating him as his own child (not credible for the time- if he kept the child he would probably not have said "my son" he would have said "my ward" or something like that).
Way too much urchin in general- it felt as if the hero spent as much time with the urchin as he did with the heroine.
And all the stuff about the hero asking permission from the heroine before he could kiss and touch her, and negotiating a long, boring "contract" of how they would treat each other was ridiculous and annoying, it just dragged on way too long. The "contract" negotiation might have been fun if it lasted for a couple of pages, but it was circa 20 pages or more. Completely anachronistic- it felt like a 21st century discussion on gender equality, and it felt like Ms. Kleypas was trying to comply with the #Metoo movement.
And the icing on the cake (pun intended), the author threw in a clunky message of "body positivity" to add to the preachy virtue signalling: there were lots of annoying "fat shaming" incidents (the heroine was often told she needed to lose weight). The heroine kept gaining weight in the story, her clothes were too tight and bursting at the seams- but of course the hero kept saying he liked that, literally pushed her to eat cakes, and wouldn't mind if she gained 30 pounds. Rather than have some witty, sexy dialogue about how he enjoyed her voluptuousness- his words sounded like "woke" body positivity preaching. (The overweight heroine trope is used a lot these days- but as for gender equality, I've yet to come across a fat hero. Lots of blind ones, deaf ones, scarred ones, disabled ones- but no fat ones! )
The heroine here was very beautiful- but of course the hero had to emphasize that that wasn't why he wanted her (which directly contradicts the fact that he fell for her merely by seeing her across the room- in other words- he fell very hard for her only on the basis of her looks, before he'd even met her). The virtue-signalling heroine also made statements that she wouldn't mind marrying an ugly man (but of course the hero was gorgeous). It's almost as if the author was trying to apologise or overcompensate for writing about "beautiful" protagonists and didn't want to appear "looks-ist" (lol not sure if that's a word!)
Basically, the book started out as a hot love story, a bit edgy with with intriguing chemistry -
But ended up as a "woke," preachy, boring, virtue-signalling cornucopia of 21st century political correctness.
Because of course nowadays you can't write a novel about a rich powerful man unless he is using that power to be a do-gooder: the Victorian hero has to be written with 21st century standards of gender equality and political correctness. I supposed I should be grateful he wasn't portrayed as a tattooed climate change activist...
Surely historical romance novels are supposed to be escapist fantasy to get away from all this 21st century stuff? Not a method of pushing some sort of preachy woke agenda. Ugh.
Anyway, I can only hope talented author Lisa Kleypas doesn't continue in this vein going forward.
Addendum-- I just re-read Lisa Kleypas' "Secrets of a Summer Night," the first Wallflower book, which was written circa 15 years ago and is one of my favorite romance novels. I can't help but compare it to this. The H&h are both very edgy, a bit flawed, and very intense- and therefore fascinating and compelling. He's a bold ruthless guy; she's a snob and a fairly shameless gold-digger. Although they make no apologies for their flaws, the author gives an interesting backstory, and makes it clear why they are the way they are. Even though H&h are not particularly "nice, " as a reader you care about them and want them to be happy. It was so refereshing to re-read this fabulous book about protagonists who were a bit naughty and not "sanitized" do-gooders (Historical romance books as escapist fiction: they are not meant to reflect real life, not written to act as bland templates for good behavior in the 21st century)
O romance, mesmo ficando um pouco abaixo do que eu esperava, leva 4.5 estrelas e palmas para a autora porque mesmo quando não apresenta uma obra perfeita Lisa Kleypas faz sua mágica com personagens e momentos inesquecíveis.
Durante anos LK construiu o personagem de Tom Severin como um magnata ambicioso, cínico e um tanto egocêntrico e confesso que foi um pouco difícil simpatizar com sua causa. No entanto, à medida em que a história avança, Lisa revela um herói forte, perseverante, corajoso e obstinado. Um menino que superou inúmeros obstáculos com muito custo e conseguiu sucesso e fortuna na vida adulta. A infância adversa deixou marcas que fazem de Tom um homem cauteloso e que protege seus sentimentos a todo custo. Uma bela, realista e comovente representação do “herói torturado”, sem excesso de drama.
O romance entre Tom e Cassandra demora um pouco a engrenar mas a autora lança “pérolas” no texto criando momentos memoráveis que impulsionam a história à frente. Pontos extras para as cenas com o menino Bazzle e a negociação do contrato matrimonial entre Cassandra e Tom que mostram o talento da autora em toda a sua extensão. Diálogos perfeitos, emoção e graça no mesmo pacote.
Cassandra é a gêmea calada e tímida e este livro conta sua história em 2 momentos diferentes. Primeiro mostra por que Cassandra não se conforma em ter um casamento sem amor e num segundo momento, por que ela passa a aceitar a oferta de casamento de Tom. É uma mudança de ritmo interessante e mostra a evolução dos personagens e de seus sentimentos, bem de acordo com os acontecimentos introduzidos na história.
No balanço geral Chasing Cassandra conta com caracterização excelente, cenas “chave” que divertem e comovem, diálogos emocionantes e a participação sempre bem vinda dos personagens dos demais livros da série, um dos trunfos dessa coleção.
No geral, esta obra traz a mesma sensação de completude dos livros anteriores: a família Ravenel, antes um grupo de pessoas disperso e disfuncional se transforma num clã poderoso e unido. Suas histórias de vida mostram o poder da união dos personagens, o respeito e amor entre eles.
Lisa Kleypas não decepciona nunca. Chasing Cassandra diverte e emociona. Não perca.
Lady Cassandra Ravenel has always dreamed of having a husband who loves her, children and a home of her own. She has no grand ambitions but would like to help people in need. In her first season she received several proposals but not one of the gentlemen had stirred her heart. However, when she meets Railway Magnate Tom Severin, she finds him the most attractive and compelling man she has ever met. However, after making an impromptu marriage proposal in the morning, he hightails it back to London that afternoon, leaving Cassandra thinking...
‘He’d proposed marriage in the morning, and abandoned her by evening. What a frustrating, fickle man.’
With hard work, determination and a brilliant mind, Tom Severin had risen from humble beginnings to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful businessmen in London. He has a reputation for being shrewd, ruthless, manipulative and unprincipled; a man who is emotionally detached...
‘”...long ago I identified the feelings that were helpful to me. I decided to keep those and not bother with the rest.”
...and love is definitely not one of those feelings.’
When he meets Cassandra he is totally besotted but knows he can never fulfil her dreams of having a husband who loves her, but he simply cannot forget her. However, when scandal threatens to destroy Cassandra’s reputation, Tom comes to her rescue and she accepts his marriage proposal. But, will she be able to thaw his ‘frozen’ heart?
Tom Severin was such a complex and fascinating character and, in an interview, Lisa Kleypas describes him as ‘very nearly sociopathic’ because he is so disconnected from his emotions. As he reveals details of his childhood experiences to Cassandra, I could see how these would have had such a traumatic affect on him emotionally.
I really loved Cassandra. She’s intelligent, patient, understanding and kind, but knows her own mind and has an inner strength - all qualities that make her the ideal match for someone like Tom.
Their romance was heartwarming and romantic with lots of memorable scenes, which suited me perfectly in the current crisis. Tom is totally smitten with Cassandra and I love the lengths he is willing to go to protect her.
”There are no limits to what I would do for you.” (Sighs)
It was both touching and funny to see Tom struggling with his ‘feelings’ for Cassandra.
”Christ, Winterborne … I don’t know what I believe anymore. I have feelings coming at me I don’t even know the names for.”
I love how perceptive Cassandra is and understands Tom as no one else ever has. Recognising that he will need time to come to terms with his past and the feelings he has kept locked away for so many years, she is willing to be patient with him. I like how she knows what she wants and will fight for it in her own quiet way.
I mentioned early that there were lots of memorable scenes and here are few of my favourites.
* Tom and a bare-footed Cassandra dancing in the moonlight and their kiss - gloriously romantic.
‘Gently his hand came up to cradle the back of her head, his mouth moving over hers with erotic lightness … moment after moment … breath after breath.’
* The lessons Tom has learned from the books Cassandra has inspired him to read and his response after reading Jane Eyre!
”Rochester is an irrational arse,” Tom said flatly. “He could have simply told Jane the truth and installed his wife in a decent Swiss clinic.”
* Negotiating the marriage contract -
“Wife will acquire no more than one domestic canine companion,” Tom said grimly as he wrote. “A: Not to exceed twelve inches in height at the withers, chosen from a list of acceptable breeds to be determined later. B: Canine companion will sleep in designated areas at night, and C:”—his voice turned stern—”Will under no circumstances be allowed on beds or upholstered furniture.”
“What about ottomans?”
The tip of the graphite pencil lead snapped and flew off the table with a ping. Cassandra interpreted that as a no.
The secondary characters all add richness and depth to the story and I loved the street urchin, Bazzle, who worms his way into Tom’s heart. The scenes between them are both heartwarming and funny.
Tom had regarded him with a frown. “Do you never wash, Bazzle?”
The boy had shrugged. “I runs under the pump at a stable, or splashes meself from a trough.”
“When was the last time?” After watching the boy struggle to come up with an answer, Tom had glanced heavenward. “Don’t think so hard, you’re about to sprain something.”
I also liked Tom’s personal secretary, Barnaby, whose reactions to Bazzle are so amusing.
I loved the friendly banter between Tom, Rhys, Devon and West and liked how they came to see the changes in Tom and accepted that he was a worthy husband for Cassandra. Kathleen sums it up perfectly...
‘There was no doubt she and Tom Severin were good for each other, and their feelings were developing into a deep and enduring bond.’
Ms. Kleypas always infuses her stories with lots of historical details which help to bring the late Victorian era to life. I also appreciated the Author’s Note detailing her research which was I found very interesting.
MY VERDICT: Chasing Cassandra combined everything I could wish for in a Historical Romance - a heart-warming and romantic story, wonderful characters you fall in love with, and lots of passion and humour.