Before Reading : I am living for this book.
I am all about it.
All of it.
After Reading :
My 1500th GR read (TBH, I know I passed this number but with deleted fan fics, not logging all my previous GR reads, etc. the number's off)
Whatevs. Celebratory AC Slater:
4.5 Stars--It's been proven I'm a Lisa Kleypas fan.
So much so, I figured I'd give it time before trying her new historical after her years long break. I read her contemporary return Brown-Eyed Girl earlier this year and I could tell, it wasn't up to snuff. Close but no cigar.
But with Cold-Hearted Rake, the first of the Ravenel series...
I guess she was saving her magic for her historical.
"It's a sin."
"How do you know?"
"Because it feels like one," she managed to say.
He laughed quietly and pulled her hips farther toward him with a decisiveness that drew a little yelp from her.
"In that case...I never sin by half measures."
The Ravenel family as the magic like another famous LK family, maybe you've heard of them? They go by the name Hathaway. Every damn character in this book was just a joy to read, even the ones who were maddening, especially the ones who were brooding.
Kleypas hit a couple of tried tropes and she made it delicious to read. Kathleen, ginger haired Countess Trenear is a widow only after three days of marriage. The dead earl's cousin and now new earl, Devon is known to be a rake of the first degree. He and his rakehell brother, Weston inherit a massive debt, crumbling estate with a widow and their three female cousins (the former earl's sisters) and about two hundred tenants that are in desperate need. Devon did not ask for responsibility and he certainly doesn't want it in the tiny form of Kathleen.
Kathleen is a tiny force to be reckoned with. Her and Devon do not start on the right foot. In fact, they were combustible from jump. But you know what they say, it's a thin line between love and hate. All their arguments were just precursors to falling in love, flirtations if you will.
"You took Theo's title and his home," West continued in appalled disbelief, "and now you want his wife."
"His widow," Devon muttered.
"Have you seduced her?"
West clapped his hand to his forehead. "Christ. Don't you think she's suffered enough?"
Devon and Kathleen write angry letters while Devon tries to fix the damn estate he didn't want. His drunk of a brother, West along with the rest of the Ravenels provide comedic relief and keep the momentum going. West, with his redeemed rake angle was just too awesome. He had some of the best lines!
"Has anyone been corrupted or defiled?"
"Since the age of twelve," West said.
"I wasn't asking you, I was asking the girls."
"Not yet," Cassandra replied cheerfully.
Lady Helen, serene, quiet and unassuming...I know still waters run deep. Can't wait to read her book. Marrying Winterborne See who she's paired with?
The twins! They are infuriatingly adorable with their antics - Ladies Cassandra and Pandora.
AND PANDORA'S BOOK WILL BE GOING THE FUCK DOWN WITH ME BECAUSE IT STARS ONE OF MY TOP LK HERO'S SON
All of the Ravenel magic was mixed in the stubborn-enemies falling in love.
Good God, were Devon and Kathleen hard-headed. First it wasn't kicking the ghost of Theo out of the way, then it was them figuring out their fighting was because they had chemistry - though Devon was away in London for periods of time. I felt like his presence was still there in Hampshire with the girls. Add in a near death experience to slowly turn Devon's head in the right direction:
Brooding over the past wouldn't change the fact that Kathleen had belonged to Theo first.
But she would belong to Devon last.
And when they got together?
Tropey but I could care less.
“Time is what I'm giving you," he said, staring down at her. His hand curved beneath her chin, compelling her to look at him. "There's only one way for me to prove that I will love you and be faithful to you for the rest of my life. And that's by loving you and being faithful to you for the rest of my life. Even if you don't want me. Even if you choose not to be with me. I'm giving you all the time I have left. I vow to you that from this moment on, I will never touch another woman, or give my heart to anyone but you. If I have to wait sixty years, not a minute will have been wasted--because I'll have spent all of them loving you.”
Because Kleypas can trope with the best of them in my opinion.
So Kathleen was a ball buster and her pigheadedness got in the way at times. Didn't care.
So Devon wasn't as cold-hearted as the title suggests. Didn't care.
The reader could see they were meant to be together before they finally realized it. And these two crazy kids make their path to love entertaining to read.
There was a little OTT-ness in the last 15% or so but if made the story move. I'm for it.
As for The Ravenels #2: Marrying Winterborne, starring that broody, asshole-ish Welsh hero?