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review SPOILER ALERT! 2013-09-30 05:06
Review of "Love in the Afternoon" by Lisa Kleypas
Love in the Afternoon - Lisa Kleypas

Before starting this review, I have to admit that I could not finish this book, not because it was a bad book, but because it was a good book that kept going when it should have ended.  I really enjoyed Kleypas's voice, the characters, and the fact that it was set during the Victorian Era instead of the Regency Period, which seems to have flooded the historical romance shelves for the last decade or so.  However, I can't help feeling as if this book should have ended much earlier than it did.  Most books consist of a beginning, middle, and end, but this book should have ended a good 100 pages before it did.  Not only are the characters happy, but they're already engaged and all the conflict is over.  Had the book ended earlier, I probably would have given it a much higher grade because up until that point it was a really good book.

 

Love in the Afternoon is the story of Beatrix Hathaway, a member of an eccentric family that had a membership in the Victorian Aristocracy thrust upon them very suddenly, and Captain Christopher Phelan, a soldier sent to fight in the Crimean War.  At the start of the book, Christopher is still out fighting, the only thing keeping him sane is the letters he receives from the beautiful, Prudence Mercer.  The only problem is that Prudence hasn't written him a single letter; the real scribe was Beatrix, having taken on the task when Prudence showed her a letter he wrote about a dog.  Prudence doesn't understand why Christopher is so preoccupied with being a soldier and fighting for Queen and Country, and she no longer wants to have anything to do with him.  However, she doesn't want to give him up, either, because he is proving to be the ultimate accessory, so she asks Beatrix to write to him and sign the letter in her name.  Beatrix, being the kind soul she is, agrees.  It is only supposed to be the one letter, but after Christopher replies, she can't help writing to him more and more until it gets to the point that they are in love with each other.

 

When Christopher gets back to England, all he wants to do is find Prudence.  Not realizing that the woman he knew before the war couldn't possibly be the person he was corresponding with despite the fact that Prudence has the emotional depth of a sponge (one that isn't of the squarepants variety because he has stunning depth for an invertebrate), she is the only thing he can think of.  However, it doesn't take him too long to figure out that she was not the person he thought she was and it takes him an even shorter amount of time to figure out that it was Beatrix that he really wanted.

 

This is about the point where I felt the book should have ended.  Their "Happy Ending" was pretty much guaranteed the moment he found her in the barn and it wasn't necessary to go any further.  They loved each other and they were getting married.  The rest of the book was about how the Hathaways are unconventional and that was something that Christopher really liked.  Cool.

 

Despite this, there were a lot of things I really did like.  I loved Kleypas's prose.  She has a way of drawing the reader in and making it hard for them to want to stop.  Up until the point I closed the book for good, I was laughing at things the characters did or said.

 

I also really liked the way she handled Christopher's PTSD.  This isn't something we see a lot of in historical romances and when we do, it tends to be cured by the magic of love.  Love can do a lot of things, but curing PTSD is not one of them.  I am really glad that Kleypas didn't go that route.

 

What I would have liked to see instead of The Hathaway Saga was Prudence going all Fatal Attraction on Beatrix and Christopher.  It is alluded to that Pru's grip on reality was slipping a bit after Christopher dumped her for Beatrix, and it would have been fun to see her going after Beatrix and her menagerie.  Maybe she does.  I don't know and I'm not going to find out.

 

P.S. Kuddos on the soap opera shout out--Soaps, the original "Love in the Afternoon."

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review 2013-08-22 00:00
Love in the Afternoon (Hathaway Series)
Love in the Afternoon - Lisa Kleypas Oh, what a lovely story. I am a huge fan of Kleypas's writing, and I think it's because she seems to just really LIKE people. Does that make sense? She thinks the best of everyone, and no matter what a person has said or done, they are redeemable. She also clearly loves women, which is incredibly refreshing. It's such a bummer when a romance author slut-shames, or hates on thin or heavy girls based on her own personal insecurities. And the way she handled the issue of soldiers coming home with PTSD, and how war changes people, felt respectful and just...I don't know. It felt right. In running out of Kleypas books to read. Such a bummer.
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review 2013-08-22 00:00
Married by Morning (Hathaway Series #5)
Married By Morning - Lisa Kleypas This book was exactly what I expected it to be. In a good way.
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review 2013-08-21 00:00
Seduce Me at Sunrise (Hathaway Series #2)
Seduce Me at Sunrise - Lisa Kleypas The Hathaway series is not as fun as the previous one (which overlaps), about The Wallflowers. I'm really looking forward to the 4th book, though.
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review 2013-08-21 00:00
Tempt Me at Twilight (Hathaway Series #3)
Tempt Me at Twilight - Lisa Kleypas Nice. Very sweet. This family is a little boring, though--or maybe it's just that I read three of Kleypas's romance novels in a row on a flight to New York. Maybe my judgment is off.Regardless, I so admire how she manages to completely vary the characters who are placed within the same plot pattern template with each novel. The combination here is a bit like my husband and and me--maybe that was the source of my boredom. The next book is the one I'm really looking forward to.
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