The Dowager Julien likes to read Georgette Heyer books upon occasion, and I recently pointed out to her that doing so did not mean she lost all intellectual credibility: Just because you enjoy kissing books does not mean that you forget what The Anschluss was, or have to go back to the remedial class; however, IF IT DID, I am now so knee deep in historical romance novels that my university degree would be revoked. “My name’s Prolixity and I used to want to write a Master’s thesis on e.e. cummings and the Metaphysical poets, but now I read books with characters named Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent”.
I listed the books I’ve read so far before, but I forgot a couple. There have been rather a lot.
Come Love a Stranger – Kathleen Woodiwiss – Reformed Rake: VERY attractive reformed rake, a lot of pages of subterfuge and silliness to skip over.
The Duchess – Jude Deveraux – I skimmed this one. Deveraux is a Deverdon’t.
Really? Are you still reading after that terrible joke? I am unworthy of such beneficence.
Since last week, I have read:
The Devil in Winter – Lisa Kleypas – Reformed Rake, Self-Sacrificing Lamb – I read it Friday night. My first Kleypas, but not my last, not even my last this past weekend.
The Viscount Who Loved Me – Julia Quinn – Reformed Rake AND Bridgerton Brother #1 (Anthony) – I read it yesterday. The Bridgerton books make me giggle and smirk. A lot. Occasionally, I hoot. I am expecting to receive The Duke and I by Julia Quinn in the mail today – Reformed Rake and Bridgerton Sister #1/sibling #4 (Daphne).
I went to K-Mart and purchased Lisa Kleypas’ Tempt Me at Twilight on Saturday morning. I went specifically to buy this book. I had seen it a couple of days before, but did not like the random passage I read. Later, I was reading different random passages on Amazon and came across a paragraph so appealing that I wanted the whole book. Now, go back and look at that title. Just look at it. Could it be any cheesier? Let me answer that for you: No, it could not. Mercifully, the book does not also have a salacious cover, but it does have a ridiculous frontispiece involving soap opera people posing in pseudo-19th century dishabille and, as is always the case in these books, bearing absolutely no physical resemblance to the characters. I ripped that sucker out of the book as fast as possible. The title is embarrassing enough; I don’t need to give Mr. Julien any more ammunition than necessary.
Tempt Me at Twilight is the story of Harry Rutledge and Poppy Hathaway. She is the rich daughter of an eccentric family, but, then, aren’t we all? Poppy has been “out” in society for three years and has not found a husband despite being beautiful and well-educated. Her problem, it seems, is an unconventional family, and her inability to dissemble about her education and intelligence. I like this Lisa Kleypas person already. Harry is the American owner of a London hotel that hosts families of the ton during the London season as they look for a mate they, hopefully, feel a sincere tendre for. If you have read any Regency romance novels, all of those words will make sense to you. Furthering my appreciation for Ms. Kleypas, Harry is tall, dark, handsome, and slightly forbidding. All excellent qualities. When the men are fair-haired, I stick my fingers in my eyes and sing “la, la, la I can’t hear you”, and then I scream and hit myself in castigation… Harry is also brilliant and a self-made man which adds a nice touch. Poppy and Harry meet cute and he sees in her everything good and wonderful in the world, so he ruins her reputation (in a chaste 19th century way) to make sure they end up married, but not really together, after which highly-predictable hijinks ensue. Being a Reformed Rake and having the usual “loveless child” back story, it takes him a while, practically the whole book, amazingly enough, to be able to voice his love for her, although he is clearly besotted which he shows in nice (gentleness, love, patience) and not so nice (jealousy, being overbearing) ways. I do so adore smoldering, besotted rakes. As is often the case, and not my taste, there was some silly sub-plotting, but I guess some people enjoy a bit of intrigue in their romance novels. I’m basically ONLY about the man/woman stuff, so if they’re not interacting, I’m not interested. That’s what skipping pages is for. I do that with whatever romance novel I’m reading.
Lisa Kleypas’ writing is very good for the genre. She doesn’t have the wit of Julia Quinn, but that is not a bad thing, only different. Kleypas is a bit racier, so it’s really just a question of what you are looking for. I cared about the characters, I loved Poppy, and wanted a Harry Rutledge of my own, and I think that is all that matters. Sometimes you want to giggle and beam (Quinn), and sometimes you want a charming, misguided, besotted rake, in which case Kleypas is a good choice.
Prolixity really is an apt pseudonym, isn’t it? I spend almost as long writing these reviews as I do reading the books.
These women spend a lot of time with their hair down. It’s not the historical inaccuracy I object to. It’s the fact that their hair is very long and it never gets caught under anyone or in the way. My hair goes about a 1/4 to a 1/3 of the way down my back and it’s forever getting caught under things, usually other parts of me.
One of the leads, usually the man, always has a Sardonic Eyebrow of Seduction which they lift as a wry gesture. I would love to be able to do that! Wry is one of my favourite things in the whole wide world. It’s why William Powell is my secret husband. The Dowager Julien has a Baleful Eyebrow of Doom that was deployed almost exclusively as a threat when we were young. Sadly, I did not inherit her skill.
Thank you to everyone who made recommendations. Loretta Chase is next in line.
A complete summary of Lisa Kleypas’s catalogue, with recommendations, can be found here.