Title: Cold-Hearted Rake
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenel’s #1
Date: October 27, 2015
A twist of fate . . .
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?
This week I started reading the new series by one of my favorite Historical Romance authors: Lisa Kleypas!
Those who have enjoyed series like The Wallflowers, The Hathaways and The Stokehurst among many others, will certainly know who this author is, and those who have not read them, should definitely give these series a try. Lisa Kleypas stands at the very top of the Historical Romance genre, and each one of her books is a delight of charming romance and great historical context.
Needless to say, the minute I learned that Kleypas had a new series out, I went for it at once, so today I bring you the review for the first book: Cold-Hearted Rake and later in the week we’ll take a look to book #2, Marrying Winterborne.
More information, visit the author’s page: www.lisakleypas.com
So, the review! ———-
The Ravenels Series takes place during the Victorian era, when England is is struggling with industrialization and most aristocrats are seeing their centuries worth of agricultural wealth dwindling away. Readers of Kleypas will be pleased to know that the story happens some 30 years after the events of The Wallflowers, and we are going to be seeing some of the beloved characters of that series take part in this one as well.
The main characters in the book are Devon Ravenel and Kathleen Ravenel, dowager countess of Trenear.
Devon is a good character. He is bold, rakish, self-assured, enjoying the good things in life and refusing responsibilities as best as he can. However, things go awry for Devon when he is saddled with a (bankrupted) earldom and all this means: hundreds of tenants, thousands of acres of land, and four young ladies, all of whom depend on him to bring prosperity and security.
Needless to say, it is not an easy task. Devon takes on his new appointment with aplomb and does whatever he can to fulfill these responsibilities. I thought the transition from irresponsible rake to concerned lord was a little rushed and abrupt, but regardless of that, the change works for the better. Devon becomes a more likable character and of course, his new-found sense of honor comes a long way to endearing him to the lady of the house, Kathleen. Devon also has had a difficult childhood, somewhat dark not unlike those of other Kleypas heroes like Westcliff, Merripen and Nikolas Angelovsky. However, I would say this backstory was not exploited enough in his case, and it could have yielded far more interesting results if the author had brought it forward a little more.
Kathleen is our heroine. She is the young widow of the late earl, and, of course, she buts heads with Devon every step of the way when it comes to ruling the estate. Her impetuousness is meant to be conflicting and sparking, to create friction between the two leads, and it does. The problem is, it doesn’t seem to have a good base. At the beginning of the book Kathleen has been married for a really short time, so it makes no sense that she will react so viscerally to Devon’s actions. With Kathleen, she seems to go from an utter dislike of Devon to an ardent love, and again, the process is fairly abrupt. I have to confess I was not charmed by her character, because it seemed as too volatile and a little unfinished. Her interactions with Devon were good, but there were many rough edges to her characterization that did not quite make sense.
Overall, the story of Cold-Hearted Rake was enjoyable and easy to read. It has a good flow, good chemistry between the leads and the subplots introducing the secondary characters are all well-crafted and interesting enough to leave you wanting to know more. I don’t see this book becoming one of my favorites of Kleypas (she has a lot to choose from after all), but I concede it was a quick, and good read.
“One of Many”
Not a book I particularly loved or hated. But not one I’m likely to come back to in the future either.