Devil in Winter
By Lisa Kleypas
Series: Wallflowers #3
Published: January 2006
LP's Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Historical Romance
***Ravishing Rakes, Steamy Sex, and Salacious Scandal***
Four young ladies enter London society and band together to each find a husband. Has the third "Wallflower" now met her match?
A Devil's Bargain
Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition:marriage!
Sebastian's reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden's good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared,unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.
But Evie's proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine's callously discarded broken hearts --- which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions ... or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed reading this book. There were some points where I didn't want to put the dang thing down and toward the end I definitely wanted more from Sebastian and Evie. Their relationship is intricate, exciting, and fun, Sebastian's wit is wonderfully amusing and fun and I like his complexity. There was great drama and twists, all which I felt were unique and a bit more gritty. Grit to me is more compelling, and entertaining to say the least. I've read a handful of Kleypas's stories and this is my favorite one so far.
What I liked.
The Rake. I loved Sebastian St. Vincent. You know that author did a great job when you despise or at least can smell the rat a mile away in one story, but they're compelling and accessible in another. I really appreciated how complex he is--his wit, his fears, his kindness beneath the surface, and his sympathy for Evie and her situation...all this while trying to be a heartless sex God was really an unexpected, but great experience. I immediately fell in love with him when he got Evie a foot warmer and took care of her before they were even married..Through his budding love for the wallflower, the way he steps up to take care of Jenner's club, the way he prepares for the funeral and cares for/protects Evie helped contribute to a great transformation and I love how seamlessly the author writes it. Sebastian may just be my most favorite rake yet!
The interwoven characters through Kleypas's series.
Unless you've read other Kleypas stories, you wouldn't know this, but she's apparently really great at building characters she can use later on. I really enjoy how the author interweaves all of her stories and characters, even when they're not part of the same series. For instance, Derek Craven is the main character in Dreaming of You, a earlier series written by Lisa Kleypas, and in his story, Ivo Jenner (Evie's father) is mentioned. While there is nothing hugely significant about any of this, I love the intricacy and cleverness that goes into her writing.
The unique character dynamic and story line.
A gambling/bawdy house owner's daughter. A poor, desperate rake who will stoop to kidnapping his close friend's fiance. A test of character, sensuality, and loyalty. Attempted murder. Distemper. Madness. Forgiveness. Death. Love. Passion. This story has everything. As always, Kleypas provides a unique story, this time delving deeper into the dark, dirty, and gritty side of London life. She explores the harsh reality of life during the 1800s--the dangers, poverty, illness, traveling conditions--I can tell she's not reluctant to explore new, uncharted waters.Props for that :)
What I didn't like.
I gave this book a 4/5 because for some reasons, I found myself getting into a lull every now and again. There were parts where I didn't want to put it down and then other parts when I started to lose interest. However, I truly did love the characters, and while the book didn't leave me with an "OMG, I can't believe it's over" feeling, I did genuinely enjoy the story.
If you love hot romance, regency or historical romance, rakes and story lines that are a little different, I think you'll enjoy this book. If you prefer for laid back stories that take place in the country where characters have angry step mothers, too much pride, and jealous friends are the biggest obstacles you may not appreciate the commotion of this book, however, I suggest you at least give it a try.