Chasing Cassandra: The Ravenels (The Ravenels Series) MP3 CD – Unabridged, 18 February 2020
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About the Author
Lisa Kleypas is the award-winning author of nearly forty books of historical and contemporary romance, which have been translated into twenty-five languages. She is the recipient of two Rita awards and an RT Book Reviews Best Historical Romance award and has had several of her novels reach the New York Times bestseller list.
- Publisher : HarperCollins B and Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (18 February 2020)
- Language : English
- MP3 CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1094114383
- ISBN-13 : 978-1094114385
- Dimensions : 13.46 x 1.52 x 17.02 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 721,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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.
As usual the writing is excellent and instantly recognisable as Kleypas. I'd round up to 3.5 stars if I could.
However when I finished this book I really couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. I always read the reviews of a book after I’ve read it and it wasn’t until I did that I really decided what my feeling were. Not that I was letting other people lead my opinions but more that it helped me to put my finger on what was bothering me about it. It was too ‘woke.’
I tend to be of the opinion that I like my historical romances to be realistic to the time period. I’m willing to accept a little poetic licence, after all it is fiction and ultimately we’re reading these books for the romance but I do have issues with 21st century ideals being pushed onto 19th century characters. I understand that trends change and authors have to adapt with the times - we don’t want pathetic Snow White type heroines anymore or heavy handed heros who bully to get what they want. This one just aired a bit too far on the side of woke for me.
I was confused about the message LK was trying to convey in relation to Cassandra’s weight. Her weight gain seemed to be recent but the root cause was never really explained – was she emotionally overeating because she was sad about losing Pandora and her own loneliness? I just think if you’re gonna go there, go there, you know? Let delve in deeper. Also, wouldn’t it have been better if Cassandra was just plus size from the beginning? The woman on the cover looks like a size 8 and I was never sure how to envision the character. She has been described as slim in previous books so I assumed she was like, a size 8 gone up to a size 10? I think the publishers let LK down in that regard and all of us to be fair. It felt to me like the subject featured purely for Tom to exclaim that he didn’t care and would love her whatever she weighed. Obviously that’s a great, very current and hopefully ongoing message but lovely as it was it just didn’t sound like something a 19th century man would say. I couldn’t bring myself to believe it. Throughout the book she describes herself negatively and Tom only ever describes her positively which was very sweet. She was hung up on a topic that hadn’t even registered to Tom. I kept wanted to say to her, don’t worry, your man thinks ure dope! That was probably enough to convey his feelings without the ‘wokeness’. The topic is never mentioned after the scene where Tom says he doesn’t care so I guess the message is that she was happy and stopped worrying about it? Although personally I think you should be the size you want to be for YOU. As lovely as it would be to have a man you love tell you they love you just as you are (Mark Darcy anyone) (swoon) it’s your body and you should be comfortable in it whether that means bigger or smaller. If you’re not there is nothing wrong with changing it – do what you want and to hell with what anyone else thinks – friend or foe. LK couldn’t have her lose weight of course without conveying the message that you can’t have anything other than a slim heroine but I couldn’t help thinking she might anyway with all that shagging lol 😊
Side note; Given the way the food is described in these books I don’t know how any woman could be a size 8 lol. The way the Ravenels bosh afternoon tea – all these women all allowed to do is knit all day, that ain’t burning any calories 😊
I was nervous about the character of Tom because LK had set him up to be this Sherlock type – and on her insta mentioned the actor Matthew Goode as someone she imagined when writing the character. So I felt I had a really good idea of his character before I started the book and I worried about how she would turn him from being unable to understand love to embracing it. I wanted it to feel genuine and not like she had thrown away 5 books of character development. I would say she succeeded but I wish she’d delved even deeper. I really liked him. He is likely Autistic and has been let down by everyone he ever loved so I found the man he had grown to be believable. Of course you would throw yourself into work and of course if you’re that smart you’d be bloody successful! I think he was a great character slightly wasted. He is painted in previous books as utterly ruthless and I would have liked him to have had someone he could have been a bit meaner too – someone better to bounce off of. I could see him more with someone like Garrett – an intellect who he could spar with – maybe they’d start off hating each other and grow to love each other – that would have been more interesting. Or maybe he could have done something ruthless – like Harry in Tempt me a Twilight and discover he felt guilty about it and spend the rest of the book redeeming himself and proving himself to Cassandra. It would have been fun to him grapple with a new emotion - guilt and his learning to understand that emotion and then slowly understanding the guilt came from love. Basically just wish he started out meaner before the redemption came. Gradual redemption mind – not a 180 in 2.5 seconds – yes, I’m looking at you Devon! Speaking of Devon I wish Tom hadn’t apologised so early on for trying to screw him over. I thought the level of care he’d shown for Devon’s tenants would have made more sense later in the book after Cassandra had softened him – especially since right at the end he is willing to evict a load of people from there homes.
They seemed to spend a great deal of time apart and I found myself enjoying Tom’s chapters more. I just wanted more Tom. Cassandra was very kind, loving and nice. She hasn’t featured heavily in the series since book two and she has never really elicited much interest from me. There is a paragraph that says she was thought of as the boring one or not Pandora and she was right sadly. Helen is portrayed as the frail sister and she had way more backbone – my fav heroine of the series. I did appreciate that LK wasn’t afraid to write a heroine who simply wanted a happy family life. I like independent, headstrong heroines too but not every heroine has to be a Pandora or a Garrett. I guess in that way this novel wasn’t very woke at all.
I enjoyed the contract scene but the constant being caught kissing by other family members seemed really forced and the family were far too casual about letting it happen. I just didn’t believe it.
Tom's book reviews very great and it was sweet that he wanted to read them purely because of Cassandra.
I also thought at least one of these Ravanel/St Vincent/Winterbourne alpha males would have torn Lord Latimers dad a new one when they found out what he had done to Cassandra. He was literally standing in their drawing room and not one of them planted him a facer??? Although contradicting that it made a refreshing change for Tom to be more intellectual than macho. Not a typical alpha male. When he had to fight for Cassandra he used his intellect rather than his fists. It's just the other male characters had been set up to be more primal so their reactions didn't ring true.
As usual any scene with West in was worth reading and probably my most memorable bits of the book - show stealing!
Also random annoyance but Kathleen is pregnant in the book and it wasn’t mentioned once until the very end - just seemed odd.
Speaking of the ending it was so rushed! There was what could have been an interesting conflict between the two about how Tom treated the ppl he wanted to evict to build an underground railway, Cassandra found her calling, an attempted kidnapping, an injury and a declaration of love all within like 10 pages. It deserved a few more pages to develop. I love the detail LK puts in her books – I wouldn’t want her to stop doing that but just make the book longer. If you’re going to spend a page telling us about different types of callings cards I’m for it but don’t then wrap up an action scene in 1 page!
I’ve been quite harsh here so I should finish by saying I did enjoy this book - it passed a few very pleasant hours sunbathing in the garden. I love LK and she continues to be an auto buy for me. Even at her worst she is far superior to many others. Perhaps that's why I judge her so harshly...this author is capable of pure gold. I'm happy to read a few ‘Chasing Cassandras’ to get a ‘Marrying Winterbourne.’ Rhys…sigh... I’ve already pre-ordered Devil in Disguise.
I’m not sure whether to count Devil in Disguise as a Ravenel book or a Wallflower book so assuming this is a 6 book series I’d rate them as best to worst;
Marry Winterbourne (by a country mile!)
Devil in Disguise (Evie and Sebastian…sigh)
Devil in Spring (see above comment)
Cold Hearted rake
I’ve still got high hopes for Devil in Disguise because it will be revisiting Westcliffe and Sebastian again which was one of the highlights of the Ravenel series. But I’m hoping for a bit more for the Ravenels. I don’t know why but I don’t particularly like it when an author overlaps time periods in a series. Julia Quinn did it too with the Bridgertons and I find it a bit annoying reading segments, for example Pandora’s wedding where Casandra jokingly proposes to West. I’ve already read West’s happy ever after and was invested in it and suddenly you have to read a scene and remember his character before his HEA. It’s not a big deal I know but it just gets my goat. Also because the last 3 books all took place over the same six months we have no updates on the other characters. I can only assume LK isn’t done with this family because I want more updates on like, how many kinds they have and stuff.