Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A Welcome Return by Lisa Kleypas to Historical Romance
"You are the vilest man I have ever met."
FINAL DECISION: The return by Kleypas to historical romance typifies the heartwarming, character driven, deeply romantic books that made her a favorite among readers. COLD-HEARTED RAKE has one one my favorite storylines -- a man who is changed for the better by a good woman.
THE STORY: Devon Ravenel unexpectedly inherits an earldom upon the death of his hated cousin. Devon has devoted his life to pleasure and lack of responsibility and the last thing he wants are floundering estates and caring for tenants and relatives of his cousin. He goes to the estate intending on sending the widow and sisters packing and selling the entirety of the estate. Kathleen was made a widow after only three days of marriage. She knows that the appearance of the new earl means that she must make her own plans for her future and is disgusted by Devon's lack of caring about the history of the estate and the lives of the people who depend upon it. Open warfare emerges between Devon and Kathleen but the surprising result is that Devon wants to spend more time with Kathleen and begins to try and save the estate in order to spend more time with her.
OPINION: Devon and Kathleen are both strong willed and they have a passionate relationship. The relationship begins with passionate arguments and then turns to sexual passion. Kathleen is a woman who cares deeply although she constrains herself with rules and propriety. Her life has been filled with pain but she has reached out to others in response. Devon also has a painful past, but he has retreated to a life of excess in order to hide his pain. His interactions with Kathleen begin to change him. Determined never to marry or have children because of his own childhood, Devon slowly begins to change as his attraction to Kathleen compels him to reconsider his notions about responsibility. Kleypas writes wonderful rake stories. She realistically demonstrates how a woman can begin to change a man. Devon doesn't even acknowledge that he is changing throughout the novel. He just knows that he is compelled to continuously make changes in his life in order to spend more time with Kathleen. Even better, Kathleen doesn't become the catalyst for change by being a loving doormat...no, she changes him by challenging him to be a better person. It is only after he has changed that he becomes the kind of man who can love Kathleen.
This book is also filled with compelling secondary characters. I look forward to reading more about them as the series continues.
Kleypas fans rejoice. She has returned to historicals and hasn't lost a step.
WORTH MENTIONING: I really liked this book but I am looking forward to the next book MARRYING MR. WINTERBORNE even more. The couple is introduced in this book.
CONNECTED BOOKS: COLD-HEARTED RAKE is the first book in a a new series about the Ravenel family and friends.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
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