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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

I am thoroughly and unabashedly hungover from this book. Not going to lie. It was just what I needed to lift my spirits.

Format: .mobi (Purchased )
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: February 21, 2016

An eccentric wallflower . . .
Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake . . .
After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot . . .
After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy—and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven . . .

What’s it About? Lady Pandora Ravenel would rather be working on her ideas for her business than at a ball doing nothing but watching others dance from the sidelines. Always a good friend, it is Pandora’s willingness to help others that lands her in the middle of a scandal with none other than Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent who has managed to avoid being trapped into marriage. Now he has no choice but to marry Pandora only she is vehemently against marrying him, or anyone else! Having never met anyone like her before, Gabriel is soon determined to get her to say yes to his proposal as he finds himself falling for the very unique Pandora. But marrying her is only half the battle when she’s determined to still be as independent as possible even after she’s married.

Gabriel was so different from his father and yet there were times his behavior screamed Sebastian’s son! While he may have looked more like his father, he definitely had Evie’s compassionate and calm nature which defined him as his own man. Getting to know and fall in love with Gabriel wasn’t difficult, it was all in the way he treated the people around him, his gentle nature with his youngest brother and nephew, or his teasing with his sisters. The most telling had to me the way he treated Pandora though. He was always kind and considerate of her even when he was angry that he was caught in a compromising situation with her, he never blamed her or treated her badly. Gabriel was irresistible with his quiet humor and patience that by the end of the book I wanted to marry the man! And he said some of the most deliciously romantic things too.

I’ve had a soft spot for Pandora Ravenel ever since she burst onto the pages of Cold Hearted Rake. She always had this frantic energy about her that got her in and out of trouble. Between her and her twin Cassandra I found Pandora to be the livelier, more blunt, and independent one so naturally she became my favorite. Kleypas did an amazing job of taking a sheltered, na├»ve, but unique young woman and making sure that she kept the traits that made her so likable while giving her the chance to grow significantly. I loved the way Pandora’s mind worked; she had a different thought process than most but saw things in a clearer, more logical way than everyone around her. Pandora brought so much life to every scene and she never failed to make me smile or laugh out loud at the things that she would say. She was so strong willed and it was a joy to know that she remained that way even after she married Gabriel. She changed the way a heroine in a historical romance is expected to behave. I loved her.

Gabriel and Pandora were so well matched and I loved the progression of their romance from admiration and attraction, to respect and love. Pandora had a willful personality and she didn’t compromise who she was just to fit the mold of Gabriel’s wife. She didn’t let society or marriage take away her independent spirit, her dreams, or her ambitions. Gabriel didn’t try to do it either which was refreshing. He didn’t battle with her throughout the book only to realize he was in the wrong later, from the start he admired her and while he may have had some reservations, he never tried to crush Pandora’s spirit which made these two all the more romantic and memorable as far as couples go.

Pandora and Gabriel both come from close knit families although Pandora’s is a bit unconventional. I loved the inclusion of almost all the family members on both sides but the it was the reappearance of Sebastian, formerly St. Vincent now the Duke of Kingston and Evie, now the Duchess of Kingston. It was hard not to fawn and drool over the scenes with these two, they were and will always be my favorite couple ever and I know many readers feel the same. The challenge in having this larger than life couple come back was making sure that they didn’t steal the attention away from the real stars of Devil in Spring. Kleypas managed to give this diehard fan the reunion I wanted but also gave Gabriel a chance to shine on his own. Having Sebastian and Evie around didn’t detract from the Ravenels though. I don’t think anyone could overtake them. Seeing how much Pandora’s family loved and supported her definitely made me emotional. I loved seeing Dr. Garrett Gibson again, and hope she gets a story soon. The same for the mysterious Ethan Ransom who appeared in the previous book.

Kleypas writes historical romance like no one else. Devil in Spring reminded me how much I love her talent for creating an enchanting setting, charismatic characters and a swoon worthy romance. Gabriel and Pandora are a couple like no other, progressive while keeping to the times, passionate without being dull, and strong enough to take on the world. The story flowed so smoothly that I literally became cranky whenever I was pulled out of it. Who needs to eat anyway!? My only complaint is that a conflict with a person from Gabriel’s past was never resolved, it was just left hanging and this person had such a venomous attitude towards Pandora that I find it unbelievable that they would let her and Gabriel walk away and be happy. That was a pretty big loose end to me.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. Whether you’re a longtime fan whose love for the Wallflowers is unsurpassed, or a new reader who is has yet to step into this series, Kleypas is unmatched and doing what she does best, writing unforgettable historical romances and leaving readers with smiles on their faces and a yearning for more.

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