Auntee's Reviews > Love in the Afternoon

Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas
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Sep 12, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-romance, lisa-kleypas, part-of-a-series, 2010_reads, made_me_cry, tortured-hero
Recommended for: Fans of the series; Fans of the Wallflowers series
Read from September 11 to 12, 2010

I'm stumped. Writing reviews for books you enjoy is soooo much harder than for books that were a disappointment. Phrases like "I loved it" seem so inadequate. So I'm sort of dragging my feet figuring out what to say. I'm also delaying because this was the end of a wonderful series, and I feel like I'm leaving a bunch of good friends behind, and that makes me a little depressed.

What sort of surprised me about this book was how much I loved the character of Beatrix. I've always liked her, but in the previous books there was something about her that made me think...she wasn't all there! Maybe she seemed a bit too immature, too quirky, too much of a free spirit, too "in her own world" for me to see her ever having a chance for a HEA. Boy was I wrong. In Love in the Afternoon Beatrix Hathaway came into her own, and she proved to be an intuitive, charismatic, engaging, compassionate force to be reckoned with! She was the kind of girl who you would want as your best friend (although why she was ever friends with shallow Prudence Mercer is beyond me!)

Anyway, to sort of summarize, Beatrix (now 23) is the last remaining unmarried Hathaway, living at the family estate in Hampshire with oldest sister Amelia's family. And with her menagerie of unusual pets that no one else wanted (hedgehog, three-legged cat, mule). Beatrix, although quite beautiful and charming, knows she's headed for a life of spinsterhood, because although she doesn't want for male admirers, none are eager to propose marriage. Her family background is suspect (being on the fringe of society), and most people find her a bit unusual, if not downright strange. But that's okay with Beatrix, because she much prefers the company of animals over humans. She has a few close female friends, and one of them is a shallow, vain girl named Prudence Mercer.

Prudence is on the hunt for a husband, and the richer, handsomer, and more popular the better. She begins corresponding with one of her suitors who's off to war in the Crimea, and one of the most popular bachelors in Hampshire, Captain Christopher Phelan(age 30). But Prudence is bored with Christopher's rather melancholy letters about the war, and she shows one to Beatrix. Beatrix knows Christopher, but ever since she overheard him telling a friend that she's better suited for the stables than the drawing room, she has a grudge against him. She thinks he's the most arrogant man in England. But after reading his letter, something touches her heart. She feels great compassion for what he is going through on the battlefront, and urges Pru to write back to him. Prudence has no interest in doing so, and insists that Beatrix does it. Bea knows it's wrong, masquerading as the beautiful Pru, but she can't help herself--Christopher needs someone to care about him! So Beatrix and Christopher correspond, with Christopher telling about how the war has changed him, and damaged his soul, and Beatrix reminding him of what's waiting for him back home. When Christopher relates a story about his loyal battlefield companion, a scruffy terrier named Albert, the reader knows that Beatrix and Albert are destined to meet.

Photobucket
My vision of 'Albert'

All this gets a bit tricky, when Beatrix feels herself falling for Christopher, and Christopher declaring his feelings for who he thinks is Pru. Christopher is surprised that there is a deeper side to the superficial Pru, and he's delighted, never suspecting that it's really Beatrix Hathaway who he's writing to. When Christopher makes it home from the war, eager to court the woman who stole his heart and gave him a reason to live, will it be Pru waiting for him (who takes a renewed interest in him when Chris becomes a war hero), or Beatrix?

I have to say that Beatrix stole the show in this one. Don't get me wrong, I liked Christopher, and by the end of the book I loved him, but he was rather uptight and a bit stuffy in the beginning. I didn't like his attitude towards Beatrix and I wanted him to realize that it was Bea who he loved and not that airhead Pru! It sure took him long enough to figure out that the woman he was courting was not the same as the one who wrote such heartfelt letters. But to his credit, when he came around, he really came around!

Christopher was quite the tortured hero, suffering from some post traumatic stress and survivor's guilt regarding a terrible choice he had to make in the heat of battle. War was a lot different in the 1850s--more up close and personal, so my heart broke for what Christopher went through. And Christopher absolutely detested being regarded as a war hero--he grieved for the lives that he took in battle. It would take a very strong, loving and patient woman to help Christopher deal with his problems, and I was so happy when he finally realized that Beatrix was the woman he was looking for, the woman who would stand by him always, make him smile again and be able to put the past behind him.

I also enjoyed all the scenes with Beatrix and her cast of unusual pets. Beatrix would be a hot commodity in this day and age because she has all the makings of an outstanding "pet whisperer"! I loved how she was albe to turn poor Albert around from a fearful, on the edge dog (even dogs can suffer from PTS), into an obedient, happy pet. I thought it was interesting that she could use these same talents on Christopher to help calm and center him.

The love scenes? Very hot and well done (although not as hot as Married By Morning). Although Beatrix was a virgin and a bit naive, she was an eager and willing pupil, ready to learn all that Christopher could teach her! I just loved their romantic honeymoon night (I think that's when I really fell for Christopher), and I was hoping that Chris would really open up and trust Beatrix like she so desperately wanted him to. It took a while before Chris was ready to take that final step, and there were a few bumps in the road and a bit of suspense thrown in, but the reader knows that this couple is in it to the end.

Once again we get a return or the mention of all the Hathaways and their offspring. Amelia and Cam get the most page time, followed by Leo (God this guy is witty!) and Catherine, a mention of Harry and Poppy (who contributes something sinful for the wedding night), and a late arrival from Ireland of Merripen and Win. I just love when the quirky and irreverent Hathaways get together--I think LK should do what she did with the Wallflowers and write A Hathaways Christmas. She did leave us with a couple of cliffhangers that could surely be resolved in a Christmas novella!

So I finished this series with a lot of sadness, knowing that I may never read anything about them again. IMO, each book in this series was a winner, filled with plenty of humor and romance, each hero sigh-worthy, each heroine feisty and likable. It would be very hard for me to recommend one book over another, or one character over another, but of all the Hathaway sisters, it was Beatrix who won my heart. And that totally surprised me. 5 big stars for the entire series!
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Reading Progress

09/12 page 258
78.0% "So good..."
09/12 page 332
100.0% "Couldn't put it down..." 2 comments
03/08 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-31 of 31) (31 new)

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message 1: by Nissie (new) - added it

Nissie Great review,Auntee! I'm really looking forward to reading this series. I know how you feel about reading that last book. It's so sad!


Keri I felt the same way, not ready to say goodbye to the Hathaways.


Dina Another wonderful review, Auntee! Beatrix is my favorite Hathaway heroine - and that was a surprise because, like you, I thought she was slightly addlebrained in the previous books. Trust LK to turn things around. :)

BTW, I just loved Alber's pic, but where's Christopher's? No luck finding one that fits him?


Auntee Thanks ladies! Beatrix certainly grew up (although she still maintained some kookiness!)

The problem with finding the pics is first of all they have to be head shots (no modern clothing allowed!) so it's very difficult. Also, Christopher is blond--another difficulty!:) I thought I found my Chris, but he was wearing jeans (can't have that!) And I need an unknown--don't like to cast well known actors.:)
I'm still lookin'...


Dina Okay, Auntee, keep lookin'. It's a hard job, but someone's gotta do it and you're verrrrry good at it. ;)


Rane Great Review Auntee!
*huggles Albert* So cute!!! Am looking forward to Chris eyecandy when you find him ;D


Beanbag Love Great review, Auntee! I'm so glad you fell in love with the Hathaways too. There's just something about that family that gets me.

I also hope for a Hathaways Christmas, or Easter, or New Years, or anything. I really want to see how they're all getting along later. :D


Auntee ****spoiler***
Yes! And did Beatrix have a boy or a girl...or a hedgehog?
And did Audrey get together with Mark?


Dina LOL at the hedgehog, Auntee!


Jasmin ♥d ur review. It made me all anxious to start off w/ the series. :D


message 11: by UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish (last edited Sep 13, 2010 01:46PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish One of my favorite things about this series is the inclusion of the animals. I laughed when I turned the page and saw Christopher's sketch of Albert.

Many of us are hoping that the next historical series will focus on either Audrey's or Mark's families, and that we'll get to see their HEA play out.

Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall when Audrey cures Mark's "war injury"??? LOL


Cheryl Yay! I'm so glad you loved this one too, I knew you would! Great review!

And Dhes, that was soooooo hilarious!!!!!! One of my favorite parts of the book! I too want to read more about when Audrey realized that Mark had been cured! HA!!!


Auntee Thanks ladies!

Yes, she can't leave us hanging here--there has to be some sort of spin-off!


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Well, I'd say we need to launch a writing campaign and insist she write that story, but there's no way to contact her.


Cheryl I wonder why Dhes? Most authors enjoy hearing from their readers..


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish I know... I have no explanation.


message 17: by Keri (last edited Sep 13, 2010 05:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Keri She just might do it. She responded to remarks made on that very subject on All About Romance and our very own Seton made a comment that Ms. Kleypas herself responded to. She said she did have another historical that needed to be wrote with her current contract. You can read all her remarks here:

http://www.likesbooks.com/boards/view...


Auntee Wow, thanks for that Keri! I think she's going to do it! Way to go seton too for alerting LK to a plot point!:)


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Yes, thank you! I sure hope she takes that direction, but it sounds like it might be a stand alone. While I'd LOVE another series, I would happily take what we get.


Ragus Auntee, somehow I missed this review last year!! As always, you covered so many great reasons why I loved Beatrix and the series. Albert was a clever and unique character that beautifully made Beatrix' personality shine and even softened Christopher! Thank you for sharing an excellent review. I wish I had time for a reread :o))


message 21: by Auntee (last edited Jul 11, 2011 04:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Auntee Thanks Ragus! I would love to spent time rereading The Wallflowers, The Hathaways, and the BDB series, but one look at my TBR mountain...*shakes head*


Brittany B. I love this review!


Auntee Thanks Brittany!


message 24: by Emma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emma wonderful review!
the images you picked always goes into my mind and heart. Give Christopher a try, we like him!


Auntee Thanks Emma!
I was stumped when it came to Christopher...all I could come up with was an image for Albert.:)


Ragus Finished a reread of The Hathaways recently, and I can't thank my GR friends enough for recommending this and the The Wallflowers series!! There is a special 'something' in LK's writing that goes directly to the heart ... and stays there!! :D


Auntee Absolutely, I feel the same way. She is a storyteller like no other.


dintyrk Auntee, you write the best reviews! I must admit I don't read historicals but Lisa Kleypas is such a talented writer she, unknowingly, pushed me to read one and of course your reviews helped me dipping my toes in the water, so to speak. And now I'm hooked! :)

I'm about to start reading the last Hathaway book and although I'm very eager to do it right away, it's also sad knowing this is the final one in the series. But it's also comforting that there are other LK historicals I haven't read and her Ravenels are still ongoing so there's that :)) Hope you're well.


Auntee Ooh, thank you so much dintyrk!:)
Please savor that last Hathaway, and do give the rest of her catalogue a look--plenty of winners there! She's the one HR writer who's a must read for me.:)
Enjoy!


message 30: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Excellent review Auntee! You reminded me that I have to get back to reading this series :)


Auntee Thanks Brenda--I would love to do a reread of this series!:)


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