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Cold-Hearted Rake Mass Market Paperback – October 27, 2015
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“Intricately and elegantly crafted, intensely romantic, and with secondary characters and an epilogue that will leave readers anxiously awaiting more. A gratifying series starter from a not-to-be-missed romance author.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“insightful characterization, an abundance of super-charged sexual chemistry, a dash of dry humor, and a to-die-for hero, all of which will have the author’s legions of fans giddy with delight at her triumphant return to historical romance.” (Booklist (starred review))
“A cadre of three-dimensional characters who captivate from the moment you meet them and a multilayered plot that allows the characters to grow will keep fans intrigued by this addictive, rewarding story. [...] This delightful, compelling story is the first in Kleypas’s new Victorian series about the Ravenel family.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“Readers are introduced to the unforgettable characters and their original personalities through a delightful storyline peppered with sharp repartee and steamy sensuality. Yet it is the change in the characters’ motivations that intrigues and charms readers, moving this novel onto that special spot on readers’ keeper shelves.” (RT Book Reviews (top pick))
From the Back Cover
Lisa Kleypas is back with a stunning new historical romance!
Readers have long waited for the return of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas to historical romance—and now she's back with her most breathtaking yet.
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?
Top customer reviews
I love Lisa Kleypas and will be a forever fan. The follow-up in the series is started in this book and the sneak peek is delicious. The first chapter reminds me of my favorite Kleypas book "The Devil in Winter." I hope it's better.
I expected to dislike Devon and I expected that a majority of the book would be focused on the relationship between Lady Helen and Rhys Winterborne.
I am happy to say that neither or those expectations came to fruition. I LOVED Devon! I liked him from the first scene in the book and came to love him by the last. Was he selfish? No more than any other person whose life has just been upended. Did he say mean things? No worse than anyone else has said in the heat of the moment when facing monumental life changes with no say in the matter. In fact I found him to much more likable than Kathleen.
Kathleen is the widow of the former Earl. I found her to be uptight, judgmental, stubborn and bossy. She wasn't unlikable, but at times - I wanted to tell her to shut the hell up and stop assuming that everyone should do exactly what she wanted. I was also disappointed that she interfered with Helen and Rhys - I know her heart was in the right place, but she was out of line.
I enjoyed this book every bit as much as I did the Wallflower series and the Hathaway series. The writing was spot on perfect, the secondary characters were entertaining, the dialogue was witty and interesting, the love scenes were HOT and the ending was very sweet. I couldn't ask for anything more!
I would happily recommend this book and am looking forward to Marrying Winterborne!
My second issue is the end of the book (actually this is an issue with other books by LK). The end happens so fast that it seems a little of an afterthought. The epilogue is not even about the couple, but about Helen and Rhys, whis is of course understandable because the author wants tu push the next book of the series. But it compromises the whole book for me.
There are too many people here and all are given short shrift in character development and there are too many little extras and period trivia that divert the reader from the main romance(s). We are treated to bits on mourning and mourning clothes and black dyes; tenants and estate management; horse training; department stores in the 1870s; differences between store-bought and tailored clothing (especially shirts); orchid growing; railroad travel; Christmas decorating; and more and more and more. It's as if Kleypas had been doing lots and lots of research on the period during her hiatus and wanted to include as much of her info as she could. Well, some readers do complain about the lack of historical accuracy in HRs but there is limit to the amount of factoids I want in a romance.
What we don't get enough of is insight into the characters and their lives prior to the beginning of the book. For example, I am left totally bewildered by the three Ravenel young women and their absurdly sheltered lives (not to mention agog at the 19-year-old Tedious Twins who behave as if they were 9).
And nobody's cold-hearted here, but nobody warms my heart either. The hero and his brother, who were rather useless hedonists before the hero inherits the earldom from the heroine's late husband, obviously were actually good souls. The younger brother West seemed to be a dissolute drunkard but all it took was to have a mission in his life to dry him up and set him straight. And all our rakish hero needs to straighten himself out is a good look at the heroine and the idea that she and the three sisters and the tenants, etc., all need his support and help.
So easy. Not much conflict. A bit of a problem with the heroine and her metaphoric hair-shirt and messed-up childhood that keep her from consistency in her dealings with the hero. Many reviewers have said they didn't like her. I didn't know enough about her or anybody else in the story to know if I did or did not like them. This book needed less filler (of unimportant but very interesting information) and more background on the characters and more character development.
The 5-year HR hiatus also did not do Kleypas any favors because in that time we have had a lot of very good authors filling the hole Kleypas left us with. Authors that give us very interesting and complex and well-developed characters. Authors such as Cecilia Grant, Sherry Thomas, Jayne Fresina, Erin Satie, Rose Lerner, Theresa Romain, and more whose names aren't coming to my feeble brain at the moment.