This is my new favourite from talented Lisa Kleypas, and what I love most is heroine Pandora. She is frank, naive and tries hard to be a lady. The result is hilarious. While hero Lord Gabriel is nice with his golden hair and his lovely family, it’s Pandora who steals every scene. She is so witty and has fantastic one liners.
Accidentally compromised, Pandora is determined to avoid marrying Gabriel. She wants to run her own business but a married woman does not have the right to enter a business contract. It’s a great insight into how far women have come in 200 years, thank heavens. As the heir to a dukedom Gabriel needs a suitable wife who can host dinner parties and behave impeccably. And Pandora is the worst possible duchess, unable to dance or do polite lady things. However Gabriel intends to do the right thing and invites Pandora to meet his family.
This book has faults. As a result of previous books, there are blissful couples in the background who just smooch each other all the time. Bit too much perfection. And at 2/3 through the author stretches things out by adding a sinister mystery. It feels like an add on. But I don’t care. Pandora is so much fun and the banter is so great, this is truly enjoyable reading.
I really enjoyed this book - for me the best HR I have yet read by Ms Kleypas (although I admit I still have quite a few yet to read!). But I preferred this one to both Devil In Winter and Marrying Winterborne, which are kind of prequels to this one. It can stand happily alone though.
Pandora is a charmingly naive and slightly eccentric but very believable character. Accidentally compromised by Gabriel (in a sweet meet-cute), she still has no intention of giving up her freedom by marrying. But as the two of them start to get to know each other, their mutual respect and liking grows, and a sexual attraction also flares up between them. Then a deep love between them begins to grow.
There is some drama in the plot line, but not too much angsty stuff (which is just how I like it). It is mainly just a beautiful love story. Gabriel is just so tender and patient and loving with Pandora.
I highly recommend this one, especially for those of you who love a romantic story with not too much nail-biting or drama.
I really enjoyed Ms Kleypas'' Hathaway series and the Ravenel family's stories are shaping up to be just as good. As an added bonus, this latest lets us reunite with Sebastian and Evangeline from yet another great series - The Wallflowers. As well as the fine romance in Pandora's story we are given a glimpse into the struggles - particularly for women - of living in late nineteenth century society.
‘Devil in Spring’ is the third book in historical romance author Lisa Kleypas’ new series, ‘The Ravenels’.
The first book in Kleypas’ new series was ‘Cold-Hearted Rake’ which came out in 2015 – and actually, I attempted to read it but DNF’ed after about four chapters. I don’t know why, but I could not get into it – there was none of the effervescent reading comfort I normally get from a Kleypas historical, which was disappointing. I was resigned to just sitting this series out, and patiently waiting for Kleypas to move onto her next series – whatever it may be. And then she made an announcement about who would be in the third book …
Ask pretty much any Lisa Kleypas fan, and they’ll tell you that one of their all time favourite couples she’s written in Evie and Sebastian from the third book the ‘Wallflowers’ series, ‘Devil in Winter’. Sebastian was a notorious rake who had done some pretty questionable things in the past … Evie was a red-headed innocent, with a stutter and new inheritance that made her an easy target for greedy relatives – their coming together involved Evie propositioning Sebastian to become her husband and help protect her wealth and independence – what neither of them bargained on was falling madly in love in the process. It is one of the hands-down best historical romance books and pairings in the genre. Hands. Down! So when Kleypas announced that the third book in her Ravenels series would focus on Evie and Sebastian’s son Gabriel Lord St. Vincent … well, I had to come onboard.
First off – I was able to read ‘Devil in Spring’ as a stand-alone, knowing nothing of what had previously happened in the first two books. Anyone who is not familiar with Evie and Sebastian’s story could likewise come into ‘Devil in Spring’ cold.
Gabriel is much like his father was – though rather than bedding numerous women, Gabriel’s notorious for having kept an inappropriate mistress for the last two years (a woman married to the American ambassador). He is a most tempting bachelor from a prosperous family, but with no intentions of ever getting caught in a marriage trap by a young miss … except that’s exactly what happens. Only, it’s Lady Pandora Ravenel who is quite literally caught in a settee and needs Gabriel’s help to get loose – and unfortunately when they’re caught in a compromising (but innocent) position, Gabriel is impressed upon to “do the right thing” and marry Pandora.
The only person who wants to be married less than Gabriel is Pandora – because she has plans for herself, and a business to run. And actually, I loved this aspect of the story – not only does Kleypas go into meticulously fascinating detail about women’s rights in this era (wherein even the Queen has spoken out against suffrage and suggested feminists should be whipped!) but Pandora’s business enterprise in the burgeoning board-game industry is modelled on real-life game designer Elizabeth Magie, whose patent for ‘The Landlord’s Game’ was considered direct inspiration for Monopoly (of course, a man called Charles Darrow basically stole her idea and for a long time her contributions were erased. *HUFF*!)
Gabriel is infinitely intrigued by the fact that Pandora wants to marry him about as much as she wants a salad fork in her eye – but the two agree to see if it’s worthwhile dodging ruinous rumours by having Pandora and her family stay with Gabriel’s tribe at his family’s estate.
*** “I’ll be nice as nice can be,” Pandora said. “But don’t you remember what happened at Eversby Priory, when a goose built her nest in the swans’ territory? She thought she was enough like them that they wouldn’t mind her. Only her neck was too short, and her legs were too long, and she didn’t have the right sort of feathers, so the swans kept attacking and chasing the poor thing until finally she was driven off.” “You’re not a goose.” Pandora’s mouth twisted. “I’m an awfully deficient swan, then.” ***
Pandora is most definitely a throwback to Kleypas’s archetype ‘Wallflowers’ heroines – the shy but brilliant young lady with quirks and secrets. Her background is both tragic and admirable, and it’s easy to see why Gabriel is fascinated enough to warrant getting to know her better, only to fall in love with her …
And Gabriel takes after his father as one of Kleypas’s better rakes. He’s thoughtful and kind, secretly feeling the pressure of his family and title and in need of someone like Pandora to keep him on his toes.
I will say that in the latter half of the book a political undercurrent comes into the plot which feels like it’s setting up for the fourth instalment (in which case, I’d come back for it!) but in Pandora and Gabriel’s story it felt a little disjointed. But that’s my only complaint in an otherwise stellar historical romance outing.
I may now go back and read books 1 and 2 in ‘The Ravenels’, but more likely I’ll just keep moving forward from this point on. It does feel really, really good to be back in the reading groove with Kleypas, who is one of those authors I come to rely on for a once-a-year release and guaranteed good read. And ‘Devil in Spring’ was a good way to get back in the groove.