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?
She’s back! How I’ve awaited the return of Lisa Kleypas’ historical romances! Is anyone else as excited as I am about the Ravenel series? The first installment, Cold-Hearted Rake, proves to be an amusing read.
Our hero, and cold-hearted rake, is Devon Ravenel. He’s one of the cockiest men you’ll meet, as well as a great seducer of women. His parents’ marriage confirmed for him love is a thing to avoid, and he does so happily. For a time. He and his brother, West, drink and whore through life without much consideration for their well-beings or futures.
However, this changes when Devon becomes the Earl of Trenear after his cousin, Theo, dies in a horse accident. He’s not at all enthused by his inheritance of debts and a ramshackle estate. On top of this, he must handle his deceased cousin’s widow and three sisters.
Lady Kathleen, Theo’s widow, was married for three days before her husband died. She believes herself responsible for the accident. If it wasn’t for her argument with Theo, who was drunk at the time, he would’ve never gone out to the stables to ride an untrained Arabian stallion.
She thinks little of Devon, as she overhears his plans to sell the estate. Furthermore, his reputation as a rogue darkens her view of him. She avoids him, despite a mutual attraction. As for Devon, he finds Kathleen to be a sultry catch.
Despite Devon’s ideas of love, he comes to desire Kathleen utterly and completely before we’re even a quarter of the way through. He wants her for the rest of his life when he rescues her from mucking through mud in the countryside in the middle of the storm. Beautiful, save these two have known one another only a scarce few days. Here’s one of those unbelievable conversions. Devon’s a complete rogue. He doesn’t believe in love or romance or, well, anything too emotional, but he decides he’ll take Kathleen as a wife once her mourning period is over in a year and a day way too soon in the book.
Also, the two characters often spend much time apart. I don’t see how a love can be fostered with so much distance, although I find the bickering letters sent back and forth amusing. Devon lavishes Kathleen with gifts, which to me is always an indicator a man thinks feelings can be merely bought. He does little else to court her. Except fight with her, annoy her, lust for her, and make an ass of himself more than once. In fact, more than once I found him to be a real chauvinist, even for the Victorian era.
Kathleen, however, fights her attraction to Devon. She’s quiet in her strength and conservative in her mind. She was raised in an Irish Catholic background, which explains her struggle against finding pleasure in what she considers to be sinful. Yet, she’s drawn to Devon. I like Kathleen, but she’s not a heroine I connect to. She’s one of those people you’d have as a friend, but only for casual meetups. She’s not the sort you’d hold close and dear, because she’s rather bland. Boring. She’s not relatable.
And, once the sparks really do sizzle and fly, I find their romance to be more based in lust. Yeah, I like the heat between the two, but it doesn’t seem to be the foundation for a lasting love. It seems to be the stuff of a quick affair. Maybe something that lasts a few months. Because even though these two set flames to the bedroom, they also do when they’re not under the sheets and arguing.
I found the book to be a good read, with Kleypas’ signature silliness and humor, but I wouldn’t venture to say it’s her greatest book. It’s lovely. It’s touching, but I’m lukewarm about the book. However, seeing this is a series, I am excited to read the next installments. And, as it seems to go with Kleypas, her series becomes stronger with each novel. Let’s hope this is the case for the Ravenel series. I’m just excited to see Kleypas writing historicals again.