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review 2019-03-25 17:50
It Came from the Back Catalog!
Somewhere I'll Find You - Lisa Kleypas

I've been very happily reading through Lisa Kleypas' catalog. The Wallflowers books are pretty great (other than the one with the St Sebastian dickhead) and I think the Ravenels don't have a bad volume, even if the first one is a little weak. But this is inevitable when reading backwards through someone's novels: you're going to hit a dud written 20 years ago when said novelist was just beginning to hone their craft. This is that dud. 


I do not mind ridiculous set-ups in romance novels. In fact, I think building as ridiculous a set-up as possible and then getting the reader to buy it is one of those skills romance novelists share with mystery writers. It's a convention of the genre. But the ridiculous set-up in Somewhere I'll Find You repeatedly annoyed me: the children of two jerks are married to each other when he's seven and she's four. One needs money; the other wants his grandchildren to have a title. You know, typical Duke of Marlborough marries Vanderbilt stuff. It's the forced marriage trope, cool cool. But then several times the characters mention that clearly the marriage can't be legal, so why the front door is anyone worrying about it? When girlfriend comes of age, she changes her name and joins a traveling troupe of actors, because you're not going to tell me what to do, Dad!!! I'll just go hide from a marriage that isn't legally binding! She's all scared her husband will come find her because what if he's a dick like her dad, but I keep flow-charting back to the fact that everyone is behaving as though this sham marriage matters. 


So ten years after she's told her dad to pound salt and taken off, main girl is like the most successful actress in London, acting opposite the theater owner and all around growling misanthrope in hot pants who should have been the lead. Everyone thinks they are making the beast with two backs, up to and including her husband, who comes looking for his wife in London so they can divorce and have their own lives, and instead finds this zesty and refreshing young actress. But then dun dun dun they are one in the same! What are the odds! And he loves her and think they should stay married! But she wants to continue her career! So they have some contrived conflict about it until events conspire to work out! 


Bah, this is all too wonderful for me. I think I'm supposed to think there's fate at work here or something, but it all just seems dumb and awful. The romantic lead dude consistently blackmails, maneuvers, or otherwise ignores our heroine's wishes. He also does that thing that so many romantic leads do, which is just get overtaken with black jealousy maybe the second time he and lady friend hang out and she spends any attention on another man. I'm supposed to take this as a sign of his deep affection I guess, but it reads like controlling asshole to me every time. And when they do finally bone so he's sure he owns her now? That jealousy translates to a highhandedness that's both patronizing and paternalistic, which is a nice trick if you can pull it off.


Additionally, there is a subplot involving a slinky bitch-goddess mistress of the main guy who gets curbed when he finds his actress/wife. She then pulls a fake-pregnancy plot to try to entrap him into marriage while crawling all over the dude trying to lure him back with her luscious sexuality. The sexy mistress who flies into jealous rages after bro finds his virginal soulmate is a trope I could do without, and I do not appreciate the slut-shaming and compare/contrast between different sexual modes for women. Virginal mouse or luscious sexpot are not actually in conflict with one another. They could both exist quite happily in the world together if they weren't constantly set up as this ridiculous dialectic. 


Anyway, I should emphasize that I generally like Kleypas, so this is an anomaly, something pulled from the back catalog when it probably should have just stayed in the dustbin of the 90s. I am also totally going to read the next in series too, because it's about the growly hot pants theater owner. He gives such charmingly jaundiced advice to our heroine in this novel, and ye gads do I love a cynic. 



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review 2019-03-10 02:37
Devil's Daughter Mini Review
Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5) - Lisa Kleypas

If a book could be a cozy sweater that gave you the giggles and had you fanning your face, this would be it. I adore Lisa Kleypas' historicals and this was a great one. 


Phoebe, daughter of one of the most loved heroes in Romancelandia, has a lot of backstory to sift through. She's a young widow with two small children. She meets West Ravenel, who was supposedly her former husband's childhood bully, at her brother's wedding. With other authors, I might have been wary about how this would shake out. However, with Kleypas, an author I trust, I stuck with it and the explanation made sense to me. There are a lot of themes in this book although it didn't feel heavy handed: found family, traditional vs new ideas, trusting in yourself, and even (maybe this is just me) the idea that life is for the living. Both West and Phoebe are haunted, in a sense, by promises and relationships with important people who have died. Kleypas touches on those points but that's never the focus nor are we swamped in flashbacks. 


From meet-cute and flirting at the dinner table to sexytimes after looking at account ledgers (yes, really), this book was great. I loved Phoebe and West together. Their steamy scenes were hot. I love a hero who is just lost on the heroine, pretty much from day one, and that was West. Phoebe fell for him pretty fast too but she had to get past some of her reservations about moving on from her grief. 


Characters from previous books in both series, The Ravenels and The Wallflowers, strengthened the story. I'm not really a fan of Devon, but the relationship between the brothers was nice. Sebastian, Phoebe's father, has a lot of presence. His scenes were really well done. 


I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. This book was so hard to put down. :)

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review 2019-02-20 00:11
Devil's Daughter by Lisa Kleypas
Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5) - Lisa Kleypas
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

What a wonderful romance this book turned out to be! I have been a huge fan of Lisa Kleypas for a long time and this book was a perfect example of the quality of her storytelling. I was swept away by Phoebe and West's story. This is the fifth book in the Ravenels series but it works well as a stand-alone. Longtime readers of Kleypas will enjoy getting the chance to catch up with some well-loved characters. This is a book that I went into with incredibly high expectations and I am pleased to report that they were all met.

Phoebe is a widow and mother of two young sons. At the start of the story, she goes to the Ravenal estate for her brother's wedding. Soon after arriving, her path crossed with West Ravenal and sparks fly. Phoebe knows that West is the one that bullied her deceased husband when they were children and has no wish to get close to him. Phoebe does need to learn some skills to help her run the estate that her son will inherit and West is more than happy to teach her what he knows.

I adored West in the previous book in this series so I was thrilled to find that he would take the lead in this story. He was such a capable man and I loved how natural he was with Phoebe and her children. He was highly thought of by everyone but himself. Phoebe had been married to a very tame and proper man. She had always done her best to be a good wife and didn't ask too many questions. I really enjoyed seeing Phoebe start to reach for the things she wanted out of life and stop trying to meet everyone else's expectations. Phoebe's oldest child, Justin, was such a fun child and loved how big a part of the story he was.

I thought that West and Phoebe were perfect together. The chemistry was there between them from the start of the book and it grew throughout the story. There were quite a few really hot scenes between the pair. I think that what I liked best about these two was how real they were together. They were able to show their true selves to each other and as they did their connection grew. I really enjoyed the scenes with Phoebe, West, and her children that illustrated how they were growing into a family. It was just a joy to watch these two find their happily ever after.

I highly recommend this book to others. This was a fantastic romance filled with wonderful characters that you couldn't help but fall in love with. I can't wait to read more from Lisa Kleypas!

I received a review copy of this book from HarperCollins - Avon.

Initial Thoughts
Can I just say that this was amazing?! There is a reason that Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite authors. It was great to see some characters that I have loved for years play a role in this book and Phoebe & West were absolutely wonderful together. This one was very hard to put down.


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review 2019-02-15 12:37
Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas
Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5) - Lisa Kleypas



Romance at it's most flammable. Kleypas stories are known for their courageous heroines, roguish heroes and tempestuous love stories. Devil's Daughter keeps that legacy going. Phoebe is in for the shock of her life when she meets the mysteriously, dashing West Ravenel. She's spent so much time, despising a man she never knew, but now is trying her best to forget. Could her head cost her heart the chance to be happy? Mesmerizing.

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text 2019-01-13 05:09
Dialect fun
Marrying Winterborne - Lisa Kleypas

The plot is fairly low stakes, and a fair amount of the conflict occurs in the previous novel, behind the scenes, but the principals are such lovely people I find it hard to complain too hard. I've been listening to the audio, and while I usually don't have a great ear for dialect, I've been amused by the titular Winterbourne's Swansea accent, when he's supposed to be from north Wales. Gwen from Torchwood has a south Wales accent, if not totally Swansea, and that's who he sounds like. But it's still nice to hear! 

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