My original post was taken down. So I will just let my shelf do the talking and leave you with this, and this is not just directed at the author and hMy original post was taken down. So I will just let my shelf do the talking and leave you with this, and this is not just directed at the author and her fans, but Goodreads as well.... ETA: Posting gifs is just RUDE. ...more
DNF @ 15%ish Honestly I maybe could have finished this but there was just nothing interesting or exciting to hold my interest long enough. And I had tDNF @ 15%ish Honestly I maybe could have finished this but there was just nothing interesting or exciting to hold my interest long enough. And I had this backburned for 5 weeks. That should say enough. lol
There were one too many predictable cliched tropes in here that I didn't care for. But what really killed it for me (and surprised me the most) was the writing in this. This was my first Julia London book, who I've been meaning to give a try for sometime, but oh man not sure if this was an editing issue or what but the writing was extremely hard to follow and grammatically poor:
While it may have seemed to some that scarcely had the last clump of dirt been shoveled onto her grave when her husband, Egbert Pennebacker, Viscount Downey, left for France, in truth a month had passed.
I mean it took me a few good chapters to understand which girl was the heroine's sister and which one was her cousin (and why the hell was her cousin living with them?). At one point there was muddled back-and-forth dialogue acknowledging one girl as the cousin and the other as the sister which contradicted earlier information. Dialogue just runs together that you don't know who is talking to who. The writing is so convoluted with confusing run-on sentences that I felt like an idiot having to re-read so many passages to make sense of the simplest things. It took me out of the story every time I had to go back and re-read parts. I have one more book I think from this series checked out but not sure if I will try. The writing has made me really skeptical....more
*Review up* Lisa Kleypas is BACK! She's back! She's back! She's ba-a-a-aaaaack. This wasn’t perfect, but I still enjoyed this thoroughly and could not*Review up* Lisa Kleypas is BACK! She's back! She's back! She's ba-a-a-aaaaack. This wasn’t perfect, but I still enjoyed this thoroughly and could not put it down. I was totally absorbed in the writing, the characters and the possibilities to come.
The writing Details! Details! Oh the glorious details!
Dizzily she focused on the large hand braced against the door. His skin was faintly tawny, the kind that would brown easily in the sun. One of his knuckles was scraped and raw--from lifting the carriage wheel, she guessed. The nails were short and scrupulously clean, but ink stains lingered in faint shadows on the sides of two fingers.
Her unbelievable depth in capturing all the human senses and world building without drowning in it? HOW DOES SHE DO THIS? I swear I still have not come across a writer who manages to be so thorough in her historical accuracy and commentary on economic/social issues like this and pull it off so effortlessly. She doesn’t cut corners or jump hurdles on details pertaining to the era and economy of the time. I forgot how in depth and smart she is with her writing, the information and research is so on point. From the farming culture, high class verses low (working) class issues, livestock, drainage systems, modern plumbing, etc. I had no idea what a Norfolk door latch was until reading this.
"I insist," West said, shrugging out of his jacket and handing it to Kathleen. "With any luck, I'll develop a callus to show people afterward." He squatted beside Strickland, who showed him how to cinch a band around the top of the straw. Just under the grain and not too tight, the farmer cautioned, so that when sheaves were stood on end and bound together, there was enough room between stalk to allow air to circulate and dry the grain faster.
Brilliant once again.
The characters Devon- He’s definitely got all the ingredients of a LK hero, down to the permanent 5 o’clock bristle and brooding dark turbulent eyes. *swooning* I enjoyed him, mostly seeing his transformation from lazy self-absorbed aimless rakehell to serious concerned Lord of an estate. What impressed me the most was how much he took to his role of saving a crumbling estate and the solutions he came up with. I do wish his attraction to Kathleen didn’t happen so quickly though. That was a little hard to swallow for me. He’s attracted to her the minute they meet, he interacts with her for a few days and already is dying to have her. The sexual chemistry was there but I struggled to buy them falling in love. Everything happened too fast in the attraction department with a lot of start stop arguments and quickly making up that comes out of nowhere and the quick conclusion I wasn't entirely satisfied with.
And I kinda feel like this is where I should defend the hero a little given the negative reviews but I really don’t want to do that because everyone is different, I’m not here to preach anything and yes this hero wasn’t perfect by any means. But I only point this out because I was seriously expecting some douchebag behavior of epic proportions given the virulent hate he’s received but I really didn't see that and I find myself wondering if I read the same book? What because he threw some barbs at her in the beginning and enjoyed riling her up?? She gave it right back to him. The reason why I put off reading this for so long besides my bad experience with Brown-Eyed Girl, were the mixed/negative reviews for this, most of which were centered on Devon. To me though, he was a typical Kleypas hero with rough edges and surly temper so I fail to understand what he did that was so offensive when compared to things that St. Vincent, Derek Craven or Harry Rutledge did when it came to winning the women they love? This guy is a puppy compared to them and I don’t remember hearing any complaints over those guys. ;P Just saying. Devon’s biggest flaw throughout this story would be his arrogance so otherwise, I’m kind of at a loss over what the big deal was and what made him so despicable?
And FYI the title of the book is highly misleading, there is nothing cold-hearted about Devon. He’s a selfish lazy jerk for 2 chapters total. That's it.
Kathleen- You know when you are enjoying this wonderful euphoric snuggly warm moment and then someone bursts the bubble and sucks all the air out of the room? That's Kathleen for you. Queen Killjoy. She is waspish, judgmental, overbearing and so supercilious that I kept struggling to understand what Devon saw in her. I found her steaming outraged reactions to certain things a bit much and absurd because she knew nothing about the subject at hand. She seemed to want to keep putting the hero in the title role of a 'devil' even when he's trying everything he can to clean up the mess her lazy selfish husband left behind, which I did not understand. He's helping you yet you want to blame him for everything? I tried and kept giving her chances but the further I got in the book, the more fed up I became with her. She had no substance or warmth where I was hoping to see a softer nurturing side underneath that brittle superiority complex. I don’t mind stubborn headedness but when it veers into irrational seething nonsense then I take issue.
She also really confounded me because she was so inconsistent. She didn’t love her husband or know him as much as she thought she did but is clinging to propriety and her widows weeds like her life depends on it and is convinced she will burn in hell if she takes pleasure in anything. She’s supposedly never cried since she was a little girl but bursts into tears suddenly just days after meeting Devon over her wastrel dead husband. Like huh? I did not understand that scene at all. She never consummated her marriage to her husband and feels like a fraud but insists on keeping her title and name (I could have sworn taking vows still makes the marriage legal, not consummation). She loathes for anyone to overpower her or telling her what to do yet turns around and does exactly that with her sister-in-laws, Helen in particular.
"When I said that I felt like never seeing Mr. Winterborne again,” she had said to Kathleen unhappily, “that was how I felt at the moment. My head was splitting, and I was very distressed. But I didn’t mean that I never ever want to see him again.”
Kathleen had been in such glowing good spirits that she hadn’t seemed to appreciate the distinction. “Well, it’s done, and everything is back to the way it should be. You can take off that hateful ring, and we’ll have it sent back immediately.”
Bish what? To break off someone else's engagement when you had no right or business to, to break it off without even asking the person if they want to end it and then not even having the decency to apologize or be sorry for meddling? WHO. DOES. THAT? I wanted to strangle her. And to act annoyed and affronted when Helen confronts her over it because her ass doesn’t want her happy buzz to end...... UGH. Do you even have a heart? Or a conscience? This is not Amelia Hathaway or Catherine Marks who takes their charge's feelings into consideration and listens. Not even close. Kathleen's continuous condescending belittling attitude towards Helen was unbearable to say the least. SMH.
And if that wasn’t enough, we also discover our heroine had a little surprise she wasn’t planning on telling the hero if he hadn’t confessed his love or proposed to her. (view spoiler)[It turns out she lied to Devon about getting her courses and she was planning to run away and not tell him about the existence of his baby. Rage rage RAGE! If he hadn’t poured his heart out, girlie would have kept her mouth shut. (hide spoiler)] I do not tolerate deceit like that ever unless it’s justified and I’m sorry it was not justified here. Devon does not deserve that kind of betrayal. I can’t stand lies like this when it involves a child. There was no reason whatsoever for her to do that to him. Raising a child alone? Fine. But not telling the father of the child? I do not accept that. What harm would it have brought to tell Devon he was going to be a father? Was he abusive? Holding her against her will? Threatening her? No no and no. So I thought her plan and sheepish coy confession at the end like it was some silly joke really low and cheap. I just completely wrote her off after that. To me the selfish overbearing asshole was Kathleen in this duo. *shrugs*
Rhys Winterborne & Helen Ravenel "Cariad," he said hoarsely, "there's nothing gentle about how I want you." Why do you do this to me? The potential! My gaaawd the potential. I’m already half in love with Rhys. Please please please don’t disappoint me sir. Your broad shoulders and Welsh accent are just begging to be put on my Harem of Men List. Him and quiet Helen were giving me major Kev & Win and Harry & Poppy feels. Gah. I am a *little* nervous with how things left off with these two. Just a smidge. One because of Rhys's bull headed hurt reaction when Kathleen called off his engagement to Helen. I get the feeling Kleypas wanted to St. Vincent him in that confrontation scene and I was slightly put off by that simply because it felt a little forced and out of character for him. I personally didn’t find it necessary, he’s surly and can be ruthless yes but he is Devon’s friend first and foremost. He can’t be put in the careless rakehell slot like Sebastian, that's not in his character makeup from what I've seen so far IMO. And secondly, I'm nervous because I really truly hope we see quiet shy Helen flower and bloom in her book and not have overbearing people walk all over her *coughKathleencough*. I also really have no interest in seeing her turn into a sobbing mess every time she’s hurt or scared. I feel something fierce for this girl already because I see myself in her in many ways. Being misjudged and misunderstood by outward quiet reserved appearances is a bitch of a bug to shake off. I feel your pain girl!
West-Very much a work in progress character. Kleypas is so very good with those. West showed echos of Leo Hathaway in some areas but much more rough around the edges. I honestly was ready to write this character off the minute he was showing signs of permanent rudy-faced alcoholic bloating and dragging his feet around. But once again, give this author time and she can build something brilliant and beautiful out of the most hopeless messy thing. With such grace. I loved seeing his entanglements with Kathleen and not letting her walk all over him, that was great to see.
Ravenel sisters-Adorable and charming. Oh the fun places these 3 could go. Again, I was reminded of the Hathaways here with the orphaned siblings who are so different yet such a close-knit family and endearing to each other. Innocent souls yet wild in many ways. I LOVE THOSE! The twins are kinda young to be paired off now so I’m wondering if there will be time jump between books or other characters getting stories before them? I kept having to remind myself that Cassandra and Pandora are 19. Their wild rambunctious curious ways make them come off extremely young and wild but again, endearing and charming and so smart. They reminded me a little bit of Beatrix Hathaway who I adore. I can already sense one of them being pared off with Devon’s other mysterious friend Serven?......I see you Lisa. lol
Overall: Obviously the writing and supporting cast of characters is what made me enjoy this book. The leading couple may not be my favorite and the heroine I didn't like, but the writing was still exceptional and drew me in. I always say this, if the writing and story is there to the point than I can overlook flawed/annoying characters then that's pretty major. And I'm usually very particular and critical when it comes to obnoxious characters. I just hope and pray for brilliant things for Rhys and Helen. I want so much delicious goodness for these two, like epic Kev/Win level. I honestly am glad I dragged out reading this cause the wait for the next book isn't as torturously long if I had read this when it first came out. ;) Hee hee... ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more