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The Ravenels #1

Cold-Hearted Rake

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A twist of fate.

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house—along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills.

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains: can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

419 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 27, 2015

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About the author

Lisa Kleypas

148 books27.9k followers
LISA KLEYPAS is the RITA award-winning author of 21 novels. Her books are published in fourteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband and two children.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,929 reviews
Profile Image for Daniella.
256 reviews528 followers
November 3, 2015
Lisa Kleypas is so important to me as a fan of historical romance. She was the reason I got into the genre in the first place, and it was [most of] her books that became the standard by which I judged others. The latter, of course, changed once I broadened my horizons and got acquainted with the works of Amanda Quick, Elizabeth Hoyt and Monica McCarty, but LK is still definitely a legend in her own right.

That was why I waited patiently for her comeback to historical romance. And we're talking about years, here, man. I was so freaking happy when I heard about Cold-Hearted Rake that it was all I could do not to dance around the house with my hands in the air, mimicking a lunatic on crack.

And this is the reason why my disappointment over this book cuts so deep. I expected so much, only to be sorely disappointed. No, I take that back. The appropriate term would be "devastated".

Like in my usual reviews, I first make it clear that reviewing a book is a matter of opinions and preferences. I'm judging this one--as with every book I judge--according to a set of parameters, which may or may not correspond with yours. So if you can't tolerate criticisms about this novel, feel free to ignore this review. I don't want any fanatic commenting shit about my feelings about the story.

So anyway, I judge according to how well the story was written, how the characters were developed (and how likeable they are), and how the plot was executed. Cold-Hearted Rake is, without a doubt, well-written. I could not find a fault in the prose; it was exactly the way I remembered an LK novel should be.

However, the story's downfall was caused by its characters--especially the hero, Devon--and the poor execution of the plot.

First, let's talk about the characterisation. This is actually the main reason for this 1 star rating.

For one, I cannot respect Devon as a man, as a character, and definitely not as the hero of this story. I can't say that I hate him, since he never did anything that crossed the line like, say, bodily harming the heroine or cheating on her; but, damn, "dislike" is far too bland and tame a word to describe my feelings for this asshole. And he was really just that: a fucking asshole.

Look, I know that LK's heroes are usually very human; there are always big flaws in their personalities that are glaringly obvious to the readers on the get-go. And what's beautiful about it is seeing these guys come into terms with their humanity to become a better man, someone worthy of the heroine's love. The best example of that would probably be Derek Craven in Dreaming of You. Or Sebastian in The Devil in Winter. These guys are on the top of my list of favourite heroes. They were crass, uncouth, and immoral.

But they changed for the better because of love.

And that's what's wrong with Devon. Like the usual LK hero, he's characterised as having a rather unsavoury personality. Well, for one, he's a Ravenel, a family that is described as follows:
They yielded to every temptation, indulged in every sin, and scorned every virtue, with the result that they tended to die faster than they could reproduce.
Now there were only two left.

So they're a reckless, immoral and bad-tempered lot. Nothing really new there, for an LK fan. I just brushed this off, having full confidence that LK would somehow, someway, change Devon into a better man.

And so I read on.

And became increasingly concerned, and, later on, incensed at the man.
With effort, Devon swallowed back his outrage. Deliberately he stretched out his legs with relaxed indolence and glanced at his brother. “West, are we quite certain that Cousin Theo perished in a fall?” he asked coolly. “It seems far more likely that he froze to death in the marital bed.”

West chuckled, not above the enjoyment of a malicious quip.
Totthill and Fogg, for their part, kept their gazes down.
Kathleen crossed the threshold and sent the door shuddering with a violent slam.
“Brother,” West said with mock chiding, “that was beneath you.”
“Nothing’s beneath me,” Devon replied, stone-faced. “You know that.”


You'll understand my outrage once you know that at this point in the story, Kathleen, the heroine, and Devon had already established some kind of a rapport with each other, albeit a shallow one. They've chatted in what seemed to me as a friendly manner, and I definitely don't think that Kathleen deserved such an cruel insult. Especially since Kathleen and Theo's marriage, despite the imperfections, was not a marriage of convenience; they went through proper courtship and Kathleen liked the man.

Unfortunately, Devon's bad temper and unsavoury personality is consistent in the story. After Devon and Kathleen's spat, Helen, the sister of Kathleen's dead husband, tried to appeal to him to send for her. Our heroine went to a villager who was suffering from a fever, and was expected to be caught up in the impending storm. And you know how Devon reacted?
There was nothing in the world that Devon would love more than the sight of Kathleen rain-soaked and bedraggled. He had to restrain himself from rubbing his hands together in villainous glee.
“There’s no need to send a footman,” he said casually. “I’m certain that Lady Trenear will have the sense to stay at the tenant farm until the rain passes.”

“Yes, but the downs will have turned to mud.”

Better and better. Kathleen, wading through mud and clay. Devon fought to keep his expression grave, when inside all was joy and exploding Roman candles. He went to the window. No rain yet, but dark clouds seeped through the sky like ink on wet parchment. “We’ll wait a bit longer. She could return momentarily.”



And this just keeps on going on and on, really, this bad tempered streak of his. This fucker lashes at people every time he got mad. I became so fucking disgusted at him that I detached myself from the story. I just finished the novel because I hoped--I really hoped--that he would redeem himself.

But he did not.

In the end, he just realised his feelings, gave a pledge of eternal love and that's it. No soul-bearing, life-changing redemption in his part. I demand more pining, for fuck's sake, especially after everything Kathleen went through! One bucket of tears for every tongue-lashing he gave wouldn't even begin to satisfy me. I demand so much more, especially after seeing awesome LK heroes like Derek and Sebastian toil for their redemption.

The worst part of this is that I can't see Devon changing his spots. I can't imagine him becoming less of an asshole everytime he was angry. And what kind of a relationship with such a man would be? I'm sure as hell it wouldn't be a healthy one. Sigh.

Kathleen, herself, is far too inconsistent and indecisive to be likeable. I thought she was a strong character at first, especially with the way she stood up to Devon in the first chapter, but as the story progress, she becomes more and more obedient, pliant and a downright push-over. At one point, I was sorely tempted to call her an invertebrate because of her lack of willpower. My God. She frustrated the hell out of me. Instead of apologising to Devon like she did, I would have kicked him in the balls and left him for good.

And all this brings me to my second point: the romance is far from convincing. In fact, I've never seen two people more ill-suited for each other than Devon and Kathleen.

I think another factor that made their love unconvincing is the fact that there was no proper build-up to their relationship. Every single thing in the story seems orchestrated in order to make things convenient for Devon. Some events don't really make any sense. For instance, when the two first met, Devon said something about throwing Kathleen and his cousins from the house, a remark which our heroine overheard. They had a huge fight. Okay, so they were arguing, and because of the widow's veil, he couldn't see her face. When he lifts it up, BAM. He was transfixed by her "original" beauty and then... they stopped arguing. Kathleen was the first to speak, and shocked the fuck out of me when she actually obeyed him and answered his question.

And then they had a "friendly" chat. And Devon started lusting after her. And Kathleen agreed to tour him around his estate.

In the first chapter.

Way too early. It's fucking way too early for a friendly chat between those two. Hello? The man just told you he wanted you ass off the property and HE DIDN'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOUR AND HIS COUSINS' WELFARE and THIS IS HOW YOU ACT, KATHLEEN??????

DEAR GOD. I would have bloodied his nose for his remark. Blech.

Overall, this book's just a big let-down. I love LK but no amount of loyalty could make me stomach Devon. Kathleen, while annoying with her inconsistent and flimsy character, is more tolerable. Sigh. Some may like this, but I sure as hell will not be reading this again.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,163 followers
February 6, 2017
I've hated main characters before, and I'd feel absolute glee if some of Kristen Ashley's alpha assholes were slowly tortured and killed - by a girl scout troop. But, this main female character is definitely on the very top of my most-hated females list. She is the biggest hypocritical, self-righteous bitch I have ever had the misfortune to read in HR. I hope she dies of a minor fever.

The story is about a guy, Devon, who inherits a title and land from his jackass cousin who dies from a fall from a horse. The horse hated him, and it seems that his bitchy widow, Kathleen hated him just as much. They were married for a total of three days before his death. Maybe he just realized what a shrew he married and fell off the horse on purpose. I wouldn't blame him.

Devon's inheritance is actually a giant money pit because the estate is in debt, the house is in disrepair, and the whole thing is a money-bleeding mess. He thinks he may just sell the whole thing, and cut his losses. It is definitely the wise choice. Oh, but the widow of three days, Kathleen, won't have it. She freaks out and blames Devon for all of the problems of the estate that he barely knew existed until days ago. Of course it's his fault! How dare he not come in and take on all the problems and debts of a cousin who hated him..... and by the way, he wasn't even invited to the wedding..... I'm sure his invitation just got lost in the mail, right? A beloved family member who will inherit everything would certainly be an important guest on the big day.

For a completely unknown reason, Devon crushes on Kathleen. Because bitchy widows who constantly preach about how horrible someone is must be irresistible. Therefore, he decides to try and fix the house and make things work out. He also allows Kathleen to continue living in HIS house as well as his female cousins who lived there. He's a pretty nice guy for doing this. Does Kathleen appreciate it?

Well, let's see. He decides to fix up the house that has floors literally falling apart and she is pissed off that there are workers in the house. He has indoor plumbing installed so they no longer have to pee in bowls and use an outhouse, and she freaks out. "I won't have it!" is her reaction to the plumbing being installed. Oh, so, it's YOUR house and YOUR decision? Um, no. Plus, for someone who was supposedly sooooo concerned about the welfare of others, she doesn't give a shit if servants have to cart around her..... shit.... in a bowl. Not her problem. It's inconvenient for her to have plumbing installed in not-her-house. As a matter of fact, even though she guilted and cajoled him into keeping the place, she bitches, complains and freaks out about everything he does to try and make things better. It is exhausting.

And, then, midway through the book, we find out that she has been lying the whole time. Mrs. Self-righteous Bitch is the biggest hypocrite ever. She has even less moral ground to stand on when it comes to..... everything. Her "marriage" of three days, her "mourning" that makes everyone miserable, her staying around this house as a parasitic shrew - it's all a bunch of bullshit. When this was revealed, I was done. She was bad enough before the "big secret" was revealed, but when it was? Um, no. I hated her with as much passion as Devon mysteriously has for her.

The romance was so not believable that it was a joke. Devon decided he loved her within minutes of seeing her. It was literally ridiculous. He hated his cousin, and his cousin had bullied him when they were younger. I think his real motivation is to screw his cousin's widow and have the last word in that battle. And, if he had said that, I would have actually believed the romance... and kind of liked him for being nefarious. But, for me to believe that any actual male would be attracted to this bitch? No. not buying it.

I got more than halfway through this frustrating read, and then just skimmed the rest for mentions of Helen, Winterborne, and West.
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,597 followers
November 20, 2015
Lisa Kleypas is back, and back in a big way with Cold-Hearted Rake, her first historical romance in years, and it's everything we long time fans have come to expect from her storytelling: It's romantic, poignant, funny, and oh, so very sexy!


A twist of fate...

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills...

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

My thoughts...

I have to say, I was over the moon when I learned Ms. Kleypas had teamed up with Avon Books again and would be giving us a new historical romance series. Many will agree with me when I say she's easily one of the best romance authors out there - and it's stories like Cold-Hearted Rake which bear proof of that.

Devon is a bastard, and I couldn't believe I'd ever come to love him. But love him I do. He's honorable, sexy, compassionate - but before those things surfaced he had to open his eyes to the world around him to find that he's not the only person who matters. Fortunately, there was a red-haired beauty to help him see the err of his ways.

Kathleen has had it rough, but that's only served to make her a strong, independent woman; the kind of woman who can stand up to a rake like Devon Ravenel.

I could be wrong, but this might just be the steamiest book Ms. Kleypas has written. Kathleen and Devon's sexual chemistry sizzled throughout their story and made this one very hot read.

The supporting cast - Helen, Cassandra, and Pandora - are all ladies needing their stories told, and I can't wait to read their happily ever afters. Helen is up next and wow. Just wow. I can already tell her's is going to be one roller-coaster ride of a tale!

An ARC was provided by Avon Books. In appreciation I'm giving them an honest review.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,051 reviews49k followers
August 10, 2021
can't decide how i feel about this one. i really adored the set up for the series and i ADORE west. but the core romance was just kinda eh for me. i will be continuing on with the series though :)
Profile Image for [Aengell].
218 reviews91 followers
October 27, 2015
4 stars

Okay, so here it is. A new Historical Romance by my queen of Historical Romances. I'm also a firm supporter and believer of her Contemporaries, but yeah, The Historicals, right?

I loved this story, not necessarily because it was spectacular or breath-taking, but because this is the second opportunity this year where Lisa Kleypas takes us on a ride to her romance-land again. And from the oil-rich high society in Joe's Brown-Eyed Girl, we come to Hampshire, the motherland of the Hathaways and Lord Westcliff.

It's not necessary to summarise a detailed plot, since it's a fairly simple formula:
Cold-hearted Rake, Devon, inherits an earldom and has to take on the responsibility of a title, with all it entails, being in debt. The widow of the late earl, Kathleen, doesn't want Devon to interfere and to leave her and her three sisters-in-law alone. Huh, think again, Kathleen.

The story doesn't start off very smoothly, since there's a lot of tension between Kathleen and Devon. Both hate each other, quite fiercely, and it got to a point where I was squirming in my seat because I feared that it would break any chance for them to develop tender feelings. But it turned for the better before I got frustrated, so everything was fine.

And then, for the biggest body part of the novel, I downright loved it. Loved it in a way that reminded me of my dear old favourite author and her characters, her narrative voice and her sheer talent when it comes to creating a rounded up, well developing story. Her humour has developed in a nice way over the last few years, with the result being a laid-back, smooth and simultaneously enticing humour. And above all else, the secondary characters were what held my interest the most and kept the entertainment level very high.

Weston. He starts off as an overweight drunk, who hasn't a care in the world except, well, his next drink. And because this is not the first character in Lisa Kleypas' re­per­toire who starts out as a drunk or nearly drunk, I can emphasize that it's a beautifully optimistic process to watch them take a turn for the better. Weston turns out to be a funny, hardworking man with high scruples and a way of charming himself out of every bad situation. I can't wait for his story, since there's still much of the cynical man behind the smooth talking comedian, and this author certainly knows how to write about those heroes.

Kathleen's sisters-in-law were adorable. There are the hellion twins, Pandora and Cassandra, and the slightly older and more quiet and demure Helen. I connected to them all instantly, to both twins with their endearing quirks and their never ending flow of conversation stuff, but even a bit more to Helen. She's shy, doesn't talk very much and stands mostly in the background, but there are some progresses in this novel where I think that she is really well matched already.

Helen with Cassandra and Pandora

Rhys Winterborne, a department-store-owner from London, was introduced, and I must say that the suspense level was held very high until the very end, I was honestly not sure how to judge his character until the very end, and this was despite the fact that it's Lisa Kleypas we're talking about here, and she can pull off the Byronic Hero like no other.

The body of the story with all the side characters is really splendid and an true artistic act of creating a world with believable, true characters who form a close-knit family with all their individual traits. Sounds familiar, right? Yes, seeing how the Hathaways, the Wallflowers, or the Travises turned out to be wonderful families who grew on us, I can see this happening here, too, especially since Kleypas succeeded in making me excited for the story of every last one of them.

I'm not able to give it more than 4 stars because Kathleen and Devon just didn't grow on me very much, I had the feeling that their chemistry took away room for proper, innocent feelings to develop. Most of the time they were either bickering or handling the physical side of their attraction, but I couldn't see a deep knowledge of each other, or even a deep-going respect, to be honest. Their characters, individually, were drawn well enough to be realistic, but they didn't bring out the best in each other.

But the fact that I wasn't excited about the relationship between Devon and Kathleen doesn't shadow my excitement for the novel as a set-off for a new series with complex and classical Kleypas characters getting their own Happily Ever After. And I do hope that Helen's story is coming next, because that last paragraph, phew.

It is clear for me that after such a long break from a certain genre, one is entitled to not doing it 5-star-worthy in the first try. but I'm fairly sure that my fellow Kleypas-fans will like this just as much as me, if not even more, since we have now a new series to hang on to and satisfy our Kleypas-addiction.

ARC via NetGalley
Profile Image for Christina ~ Brunette Reader.
187 reviews309 followers
March 13, 2016

A ruined estate, a depleted fortune, and a woman he couldn't have.

Or better, an inheritance he's too selfish and immature to appreciate, not enough somebody else's money left for him to squander, and how to bed a woman silly while carefully remaining the same jerk you were on page one and then wanting to pass off as a romance novel hero at the end of the book.

Devon Ravenel, of the infamous hot-tempered Ravenels, a man unrepentantly bent on living off the glorious ancestral badass charm but only good at exercising the attached lousy reputation to a more disenchanted eye (mine), is not happy at all about inheriting Eversby Prior, the Hampshire rundown estate entailed with the title. His cousin Daniel, relatives being the obnoxious lot that they usually are, had the bad taste of dying young thus suddenly making a broke earl out of him... not to mention making him also responsible for a household full of querulous females Devon is already plotting to boot out a soon as possible. Starting with the newly minted widow, Lady Kathleen... but... wait!! She's hotter than he thought, so let her stick around some more and see if we can pull a half-baked love story off where the obstacles standing in the way derive exclusively from our own pettiness.
This, the plot in a nutshell, and no, not much else happens. And no, it cannot be considered a character-driven romance either, since the main couple had such inconsistent, annoying and forgettable personalities reflecting in all their interactions to the point of leaving no chance for real growth. Though I have to admit they fully deserved each other by the end.
Many things about this book have managed to irritate me. From the hero's boorish attitude to the heroine's mood swings and hypocrisy. From the lack of effective wit to the insufferable twins, Cassandra and Pandora, with their stilted originality ("splendicious!"). From the lack of substance in the plot to the rather wallpaperish setting (must be 1875 if there's a train). Way more interesting than the main couple the secondary romance, West the hero's brother... and Hamlet the pig.

If I had to rate based solely on the hero and heroine's romance arc, Cold-Hearted Rake would have been a one star for me, but for the occasional glimpses that reminded me of the wonders this author can be capable of (see, for example, Dreaming of You), I decided to upgrade to two. Maybe many years away from the historical sub-genre have taken their toll or maybe it's just a coincidence, but there was a mood decidedly "off" about the whole package going from the uninspiring main relationship to a narrative style which surprisingly succeeds in being old-fashioned, with an often quivering heroine and an often overbearing hero, and anachronistic at the same time, with expressions such as "bitch" and "adolescent drama" casually thrown around. And with two protagonists conveniently remembering of being Victorians, social norms and classism included, only when meddling in other people's lives. The storyline was not well-balanced either. The sections with Kathleen and West working on restoring Eversby Prior's conditions and Helen and Winterborne's secondary romance, while intriguing and promising for the next book, take up too much space, especially when compared to a main couple who doesn't spend a lot of time together after all, not enough to make their developing feelings believable or achieving something beyond lust.
The reasons behind Devon's dislike of marriage and sentimental engagements, let alone the ones behind his resentment toward his cousin which sound ridiculous, and Kathleen's emotional block and fear of intimacy seem flimsy, contrived and are never fully explored anyway. More often than not, Devon appears self-serving, condescending and irascible, obsessed with the heroine but not in love. Kathleen, on her part, readily drops her initial token attempts at "feisty" and embraces the role of simpering woman overwhelmed by the hero's "robust masculine prime", and not only in bed (old-fashioned, like I said).
No truly meaningful dialogues, no truly equal recognition, no truly sensual sex-scenes between them. Few pages to the end and we're stuck at this:
"When I return," he said, leveling a steady stare at her, "you and I are going to have a long talk. Alone."
Her lips tightened at his severe tone. "Am I to have a choice in the matter?"
"Yes, you'll have the choice of whether we go to bed before the talk, or after."

Why, of course your jerkship. Good luck, Kathleen.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,918 reviews69.3k followers
June 14, 2016
If you (like me) enjoy a good piece of fluff every now and then, you could do a lot worse than Lisa Kleypas' Cold-Hearted Rake
Is it perfection?
I didn't think so. <--Personal opinion!
But, like I mentioned, at this point...I'm just in it for the fluff.


In other words, while I didn't fall in love with the hero or the heroine, I have to say that Kleypas can spin straw into gold. I mean, I didn't even realize that I wasn't crazy about the couple until after I finished the book!
So. Yeah.
Well done!
By the way, I read the teaser for the next book in this series, and it looks pretty cool!
Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,156 followers
December 26, 2015
Not so cold-hearted after all.

Cold-Hearted Rake was everything I hoped it would be. Ms Kleypas has the remarkable ability to make you want to step back in time and live it. You forget about the lack of modern conveniences, medicine and rights of women. You don't mind the idea of no phones or computers and instead have communication that takes hours or days instead of seconds to deliver. It seems extravagant to have someone dress you and set your hair to attend breakfast, instead of seconds to slip on a t-shirt and shorts. The indulgence of a man to hold your hand as you are helped into a vehicle, instead of him hitting the button on the remote and expecting you to open your own bloody door. Lisa Kleypas reminds me that acting and being treated like a lady can seem like a fairytale.

Our Cold-Hearted Rake Devon, has been lumped with the title of Earl, a crumbling estate and huge debts. He doesn't want it and at first makes attempts to sell off whatever he can. He has no desire to manage the estate or the tenants who live there. Modernization hasn't been introduced, which means both the servants and tenants have to work extra hard to do their jobs. He knows that lives would be improved if a few thing were upgraded, but he also knows that funds are needed that he just doesn't have. Surprisingly, his attitude changes when a little, spitfire widow named Kathleen lifts her mourning veil, looks him in the eye and gives him hell.

Kathleen meets Devon and doesn't like what she sees...actually, she likes what she SEES, she just doesn't like what she sees in him. The two of them butt heads frequently and struggle to agree on the best course of action for the estate and the people who live there.

Kathleen was made a widow when her husband of 3 days falls off a horse that he shouldn't have been riding in the first place. Theo, her deceased husband, and Kathleen had been having a disagreement when he went off in a huff. She feels a huge amount of guilt when he dies, and is traumatised because she witnessed the event. Theo's three sisters have been left in her care and she feels responsible in helping them move on. She doesn't like the idea of leaving them with a man who doesn't seem to take their well-being into account.

I enjoyed watching this couple come together. The passionate way they love and the fiery way they clash, makes every time they come together exciting. Devon is stubborn and selfish, while Kathleen can be narrow minded and judgemental. Both of them must learn to curb their impetuous behaviour and think before speaking, to avoid hurting each other.

I enjoyed meeting Devon's brother West, the three sisters, Helen, Pandora and Cassandra and Devon's friend Rhys. Even though he acted wrongly at the end, I felt that Rhys may have been judged too harshly. I hope we haven't seen the end of Rhys and Helen together.

I loved Cold-Hearted Rake from start to finish. Lisa Kleypas has a talent for taking me out of my reality and placing me in a time where men stand when a lady walks into a room and department store shopping is new and exciting. I can't pinpoint the exact reason why her historical romances are one of my favourites, but it's kind of like my first cup of coffee in the morning. Puts a smile on my face, leaves me content and hopeful that there will be more in the future.

To purchase from Amazon - http://amzn.to/1O9kFwP

Profile Image for Alp.
736 reviews373 followers
January 8, 2017

Not what I expected.

Had it not been for the fact that I couldn't warm up to the heroine, Kathleen, throughout the whole book, I would have had no problem rating this one higher than 3 stars. Apparently, Cold-Hearted Rake had so much potential to be a great read, too bad, it ultimately fell short. Honestly, I loved everything about this book. Everything, except Kathleen! In my opinion, it was obvious that there was not enough depth to her character so that I couldn't connect with her. There was nothing appealing about her, nothing to make me care about her!

There was evidently no chemistry between Devon and Kathleen. I don't understand why he was strongly attracted to her. I genuinely don't know what he saw in her. Alright, I understand where she's coming from, but damn, she's such a difficult, bossy, bitter, stiff, and cold woman. As I read further into the story, I found that she became more and more annoying. But what put me into an instant moment of rage was that she interfered with Helen's relationship with Winterborne on her behalf without her knowledge, which in fact, was none of her business. That was totally unacceptable. Helen was a grown woman. She was capable of making her own decision about whom she wanted to marry. Kathleen not only ripped that choice away from Helen, but she also caused the rift between Devon and Winterborne who used to be best friends.

And by the end, I didn't care about their HEA at all.

Much as I wish Kathleen didn't exist in this book, I 100% enjoyed the other characters and I'm certainly looking forward with enthusiasm to finding out more about them in their own stories. However, the premise of the next book sounds very promising. And now I need to know what will happen between Winterborne and Helen. Hopefully, their story will not disappoint!

I could go on and on, but I think I'd better end my rant here. Perhaps it was my fault for setting my expectations too high.
Profile Image for Didi.
865 reviews288 followers
November 2, 2015

It's been a while since LK has written a HR. She's among my top 3 fave authors and she writes beautifully. I enjoyed this book, but I didn't love it. If I'm comparing it to other HR books she's written, most notably The Wallflowers series, then this isn't AS good. Why?

Let's get the good stuff out of the way. The writing was flawless, of course. The descriptions, the emotion, the use of prose...I enjoyed all that.
The hero, Devon Ravenel, was alright. He was quite an asshole at the beginning, but I like that since it opens up so much room for improvement. He did improve, but I wasn't always impressed by him. When you have previous heroes that slayed me, Sebastian St. Vincent from Devil in Winter is the most notorious, comparing Devon to him was like comparing a dandelion to a rose.
Really, the whole lot of heroes from The Wallflowers series were amazing and memorable. For me, Devon was okay.

The heroine, Kathleen, was the fiery and independent type. She was headstrong and stubborn. I don't mind that, but I prefer my heroines like Evie from Devil in Winter, or Daisy from Scandal in Spring. I love the quieter heroines, the Unlikely ones, the underdogs. I love how they accomplish what the stubborn ones do, but effortlessly through their strength and merit.
I became annoyed with Kathleen many times and found her to be abrasive with her remarks.
As a couple, Devon and Kathleen fought too much. They weren't as convincing as they could have been.

The funny thing is, I loved Helen and Winterborne. Theirs was a secondary story line, but the next book is devoted to them. They reminded me of Evie and Sebastian!! Helen's shyness hides a passionate woman desperate for a chance to get out. I think Winterborne is the man to help accomplish that, with his unpolished nature and hard edges. I honestly can't wait for their book, Marrying Winterborne, and I felt LK's trademark magic with those two, as apposed to the main characters.
Anyways, I did like this, and am so glad LK is back. Even not being a fan of the main characters, you can't help but fall in love with the story and how it's written.
Profile Image for Beatriz.
829 reviews706 followers
September 14, 2020
¡Me ha encantado! Aunque probablemente mi reseña no sea muy objetiva, ya que Lisa Kleypas es por lejos mi autora favorita de romántica, pero con esta novela he vuelto a disfrutar de la misma forma que con sus anteriores series históricas. Una vez más me ha conquistado con las situaciones que crea, sus personajes (con sus secretos, sus miedos, esperanzas), sus diálogos, el ambiente ¡todo!

Bueno, una vez pasada la euforia inicial, sí reconozco que los personajes principales de esta entrega no son los más “queribles” de su repertorio, pero igual me gustaron mucho, cada vez son más complejos y no tan “perfectos”.

El que sí me robó el corazón fue West, el hermano menor de Devon, ojalá haya un libro para él en esta serie. Por mientras, ya me embarqué con la historia de Helen y Rhys.

Reto #39 PopSugar 2017: El primer libro de una serie que no hayas leído antes
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
January 5, 2019
January 2019 - re-read and also listened to part of it on Audible. A very enjoyable read, even the second time around.

A very enjoyable read and start to the series.

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities ...

"I am a scoundrel, and she is a heartless bitch who's entirely capable of looking after herself."

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her.

Devon, of course, is a rake about town. Loves his freedom. Is quite annoyed that this earldom has been thrust his way as he did not want any responsibilities.

Kathleen was a strong heroine.

We were introduced to Winterborne, the hero in the next book, who I found captivating and interesting.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,185 followers
January 5, 2019
4 stars!

“I know many scientific facts about the human heart- not the least of which is that it's far easier to make a heart stop beating entirely than to keep it from loving the wrong person.”

A fabulous historical romance to end 2018 with!

Devon Ravenel is a rake who just inherited a title and an estate, as well as debt and four women he has no idea what to do with. Three are his young cousins and one his cousin's widow. Firmly intending on selling the estate to settle the debts and dust his hands of the woman, Devon visits the estate and realizes this may be one problem he cannot just get rid of.

Full of Kleypas charm, I was so happy to fall into one of her historical romances again. I swear I didn't enjoy this genre until I read her, these books have become a wonderful escape from reality. I love the bickering that happens with her main characters, the descriptions of the surroundings anf of the time. Kleypas takes the past and makes it magical.

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Profile Image for Cam (justabookeater).
141 reviews274 followers
February 24, 2021
DNF @ 74%

How the fuck do you come inside the heroine then GET MAD AT HER because she might get pregnant. FUCK OUTTA HERE.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,219 reviews2,051 followers
April 2, 2022
I really enjoyed this author's Wallflowers series so here I am starting The Ravenels. (plus I needed a title starting with C for a challenge!)

Cold-Hearted Rake turned out to be really good start to a new series. We are introduced to a number of interesting characters and it was worth reading the book for the character growth of West and Devon alone. The section concerning the train crash was also great reading.

The book faltered a little towards the end with two romances progressing or not progressing at the same time. I thought the author should have concentrated on Kathleen, but on the other hand she leaves the reader with a need to find the next book soon to discover what happens to poor Helen.

An enjoyable read for anyone who likes a Regency type romance.

2/4/22 Read for the second time because I am going to read the whole series with a Book Group and I needed to remind myself of the characters. I stand by my comments above though - a very enjoyable read for anyone who likes this kind of book.
Profile Image for Carol Cork *Young at Heart Oldie*.
425 reviews203 followers
July 30, 2021
3.5 rounded up to 4 stars

Like every other Lisa Kleypas fan, I have been waiting eagerly for this book, which heralds her return to writing historical romances after a gap of five years. Well, I have to confess that I had mixed feelings about the book. Some aspects I really enjoyed but others I found disappointing.

At first, Devon’s actions seem to confirm him as totally heartless and selfish. He simply wants to be rid of his inherited responsibilities without any concern for those people his actions will affect, but gradually he comes to the realisation that…

The sword had been suspended above him from the moment he’d been informed of Theo’s death. There was no choice to make. Whether or not he wanted the responsibility that came with the title, it was his.

The scene where he holds a weeping Kathleen shows that he is compassionate while dramatic events later in the story reveal a man willing to sacrifice himself for others. However, the notorious Ravenel temper erupts on more than one occasion.

I love the funny exchanges with Kathleen when he is discussing his plans to modernise the plumbing at Eversby Priory.

“The plumbing is adequate,” she said defensively.
One of his brows arched. “Sufficiently adequate for me to take a shower bath?”
She hesitated before admitting, “You won’t have a shower bath.”
“A regular bath, then? Lovely. What kind of modern vessel shall I find myself soaking in tonight? A rusted pail?”

Kathleen’s high-handedness and rigid adherence to rules is irritating at times, but I understood how much she was influenced by her upbringing with Lord and Lady Berwick. I admire her genuine concern for the fate of the servants and tenants when she believes Devon intends to sell the estate, and her pluck in standing up to him.

“Welcome, my lord. And Mr. Ravenel. I will provide a list of the household inventory as soon as possible, so that you may loot and pillage in an organized fashion.” Her voice was refined, the cut-glass syllables frosted with dislike.

Her willingness to look after her late husband’s sisters shows a considerate and compassionate nature.

My main problem is that I never fully believed in the romance between Devon and Kathleen. It seems to lack coherence and there is no steady development of the relationship. In fact, they spend a good proportion of the book apart. I never felt there was a defining moment when I truly believed they were in love. Yes, there were some steamy love scenes but, for me, I didn’t sense the deep emotional connection between them and I kept asking myself – Whatever happened to those heart-stopping, sigh-worthy moments that have always been such a memorable part of her books? Even Devon’s declaration of love failed to stir a little flutter in my heart.

I often found the secondary characters more interesting than the main ones. I adore Devon’s younger brother, Weston (West). He has a major drinking problem but, when Devon puts him in charge of managing the tenants’ drainage problems, he finds a purpose in life (after hearing some home truths from Kathleen) and becomes a sober, fit, hard-working man. There is an amusing scene where Devon goes to meet him at the station and fails to recognise him at first. I also liked the amiable relationship that develops between West and Kathleen.

I was definitely interested in the tentative romance between quiet Helen and ruthless, department store owner Rhys Winterborne, and I am seriously wondering how Ms Kleypas will redeem him in the next book, Marrying Winterborne , given his actions towards the end of this book. Then I recall a certain St. Vincent who badly needed redeeming at the start of The Devil in Winter and look how he turned out!

I love the quirky, irrepressible twins Pandora and Cassandra, who reminded me in many ways of Beatrix Hathaway and, of course, not forgetting Hamlet, the pig!

MY VERDICT: This may not be her best book but there were still many things I enjoyed about it and I certainly intend to read the rest of the series.

The Ravenels series so far (click on the book covers for more details):
Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1) by Lisa KleypasMarrying Winterborne (The Ravenels, #2) by Lisa Kleypas – expected publication date 31st May 2016

This review is also posted on my Rakes and Rascals blog:

Profile Image for Princess under cover.
570 reviews242 followers
January 22, 2020
Read the sample. Wasn't terribly compelling, nor was it bad. But went back to the reviews to see what ppl thought and it's just not good enough for me to continue, as much as I've liked this series from reading books 2-4. Wonder when she will come out with West's story.
Profile Image for Louisa.
497 reviews364 followers
November 6, 2015
Oh wow.

This has got to be my biggest literary disappointment of the year. I don't know what happened to Kleypas' usual wonderful characterisation, but what I know is that this is one of my least favourite HRs from her, and I usually love them to bits.

This was not worth waiting for. Devon was a bastard. Fluctuated way too much for me to believe he changed. Don't see how he and Kathleen were even attracted to each other. Too much focus on Winterborne and Helen. The main romance should've been front and centre, not drowned out by the sequel's eventual romance by the time the reader hits 60% in the book.

Will the other Ravenel siblings' books be better? I bloody hope so. I'm just hoping this is a case of me not liking the first of the series, as I usually do. Anything other than that would suck.



ALL MY LIFE (okay fine the last four years but whatever same thing) I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS!!! BEST NEWS EVER.

Profile Image for Hannah B..
796 reviews1,069 followers
August 20, 2022
I actually really liked this!! I can’t get over him making out with her after the train wreck 😌

I just think a lot of things were different on this attempt and there was definitely a looooot of stuff going on with side characters so I’m happy that I listened and happy that I enjoyed!

I must’ve been in a horrible mood on my first go around lmao. Devon was a dick but it really didn’t last long and then he was an absolute simp.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25/5 🌶🌶🌶/5

Initial review ⬇️

DNFed because Devon was an entitled prick from the beginning and reviews confirmed that he indeed did not get any better.
Profile Image for SheReadsALot.
1,838 reviews1,194 followers
March 22, 2021
Before Reading : I am living for this book.

I am all about it.

All of it.


After Reading :

4.5 Stars--It's been proven I'm a Lisa Kleypas fan.

So much so, I figured I'd give it time before trying her new historical after her years long break. I read her contemporary return Brown-Eyed Girl earlier this year and I could tell, it wasn't up to snuff. Close but no cigar.

But with Cold-Hearted Rake, the first of the Ravenel series...

I guess she was saving her magic for her historical.
"It's a sin."
"How do you know?"
"Because it feels like one," she managed to say.
He laughed quietly and pulled her hips farther toward him with a decisiveness that drew a little yelp from her.
"In that case...I never sin by half measures."

The Ravenel family has the magic like another famous LK family, maybe you've heard of them? They go by the name Hathaway. Every damn character in this book was just a joy to read, even the ones who were maddening, especially the ones who were brooding.

*coughs*Winterborne*coughs* <3 <3 <3

Kleypas hit a couple of tried tropes and she made it delicious to read. Kathleen, ginger haired Countess Trenear is a widow only after three days of marriage. The dead earl's cousin and now new earl, Devon is known to be a rake of the first degree. He and his rakehell brother, Weston inherit a massive debt, crumbling estate with a widow and their three female cousins (the former earl's sisters) and about two hundred tenants that are in desperate need. Devon did not ask for responsibility and he certainly doesn't want it in the tiny form of Kathleen.

Kathleen is a tiny force to be reckoned with. Her and Devon do not start on the right foot. In fact, they were combustible from jump. But you know what they say, it's a thin line between love and hate. All their arguments were just precursors to falling in love, flirtations if you will.

"You took Theo's title and his home," West continued in appalled disbelief, "and now you want his wife."
"His widow," Devon muttered.
"Have you seduced her?"
"Not yet."
West clapped his hand to his forehead. "Christ. Don't you think she's suffered enough?"

Devon and Kathleen write angry letters while Devon tries to fix the damn estate he didn't want. His drunk of a brother, West along with the rest of the Ravenels provide comedic relief and keep the momentum going. West, with his redeemed rake angle was just too awesome. He had some of the best lines!
"Has anyone been corrupted or defiled?"
"Since the age of twelve," West said.
"I wasn't asking you, I was asking the girls."
"Not yet," Cassandra replied cheerfully.

Lady Helen, serene, quiet and unassuming...I know still waters run deep. Can't wait to read her book. Marrying Winterborne See who she's paired with?

The twins! They are infuriatingly adorable with their antics - Ladies Cassandra and Pandora.

All of the Ravenel magic was mixed in the stubborn-enemies falling in love.

Good God, were Devon and Kathleen hard-headed. First it wasn't kicking the ghost of Theo out of the way, then it was them figuring out their fighting was because they had chemistry - though Devon was away in London for periods of time. I felt like his presence was still there in Hampshire with the girls. Add in a near death experience to slowly turn Devon's head in the right direction:
Brooding over the past wouldn't change the fact that Kathleen had belonged to Theo first.
But she would belong to Devon last.

And when they got together?


Tropey but I could care less.

“Time is what I'm giving you," he said, staring down at her. His hand curved beneath her chin, compelling her to look at him. "There's only one way for me to prove that I will love you and be faithful to you for the rest of my life. And that's by loving you and being faithful to you for the rest of my life. Even if you don't want me. Even if you choose not to be with me. I'm giving you all the time I have left. I vow to you that from this moment on, I will never touch another woman, or give my heart to anyone but you. If I have to wait sixty years, not a minute will have been wasted--because I'll have spent all of them loving you.”

Because Kleypas can trope with the best of them in my opinion.

So Kathleen was a ball buster and her pigheadedness got in the way at times. Didn't care.
So Devon wasn't as cold-hearted as the title suggests. Didn't care.

The reader could see they were meant to be together before they finally realized it. And these two crazy kids make their path to love entertaining to read.

There was a little OTT-ness in the last 15% or so but if made the story move. I'm for it.

As for The Ravenels #2: Marrying Winterborne, starring that broody, asshole-ish Welsh hero?

June 5, 2016

Well I'm very glad I decided to give this book a second chance and listen to it instead.
I had a go at it earlier this year but had to DNF because I didn't like the characters very much. Honestly though, I may have been a bit rash in my decision because while they may have been a bit caustic to each other in the beginning as the story progressed they became much more agreeable. In the same breath I will say Devon and Kathleen were possibly the most argumentative couple I have ever read.
Kathleen especially *snickers

“Never apologize to women. It only confirms that you were wrong, and incenses them further.”

Having finally finished this book and thoroughly enjoying it. I will say that I feel like it is best read as an introduction to the Ravenel's and the characters we will read about in future books. While I enjoyed reading about Devon and Kathleen's relationship it was suddenly over shadowed by the entrance of Mr Rhys Winterborne. Winterborne's character had such a strong presence that I found myself wanting to read more about him and his interactions with Helen.

“Helen spent three days in Rhys Winterbornes's room babbling incessantly while he lay there feverish and mostly silent. She became heartily tired of the sound of her own voice, and said something to that effect near the end of the second day.
"I'm not," he said shortly. "Keep talking.”

What's more, is that I absolutely fell in love with the twins, Pandora and Cassandra and I cannot wait to read Pandora's story since she seems to be the more eccentric twin.

Another character that stole my heart was West, Devon's brother. Which was a complete surprise since I disliked him in the beginning and wasn't even sure if I could trust him. You may wonder why I'm waxing poetic about every character other than the two main characters, Kathleen and Devon...

While I didn't hate Kathleen or Devon even if did find Kathleen unnecessarily argumentative. She bull-dosed past many of Devon's decisions. And when it came down to Helen and Winterborne she made up her own mind without even consulting Helen. Angel that Helen is, would never tell her off. But still. Sighs. Kathleen tended to act like the wet dishrag in most situations even going as far as seeming like a nagging fish wife or a boring aunt. At her age. Good grief.

“The purpose of society is to prevent natural behavior.”

If you're reading this and wondering why the 4 star rating. It is for the story in its entirety, While Kathleen, did annoy me at times but she had her moments. And the rest of the characters managed to dim out her faults making this a top notch read for me.
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,203 reviews918 followers
April 8, 2022
Devon Ravenel is enjoying the aimless life of the entitled aristocracy until he inherits an earldom after his cousin Theo dies from an accidental fall. What also comes with that new title are Theo’s three unmarried sisters, his widow Kathleen and an estate burdened with debt and neglect. Even more incredible is that Kathleen and Theo had only been married three days. Devon is ready to sell Eversby Priory, the ancestral family home the sisters have lived in their entire life, but he’s finding it difficult to say no to the irksome but captivating Kathleen.

My very first historical romance in the modern age was written by Kleypas and I was hoping this book would live up to that experience. It was like coming home and I knew from the first few pages this story would capture that same magic. Devon was perfectly “imperfect” and I liked that the transformation of his younger brother Weston (West) who came along was also a reflection of what was happening to him. His developing relationship with Kathleen was fun most of the time, charged with tension at others. The spirited twin sisters, Cassandra and Pandora, provided lots of comic relief, especially around a pet piglet named Hamlet.

I’d forgotten how well the author develops multiple characters and storylines without it becoming weighted or convoluted. The foundation for future stories to come were built, stoking my curiosity and anticipation. But the romance between Devon and Kathleen managed to stay center stage and I loved who they were together. The narrator was simply wonderful, providing distinction for quite a few essential characters and was a gifted storyteller. I enjoyed everything about this first entry in a new series and am thrilled there’s six more. Why did I wait so long to start?

Posted on Blue Mood Café
Profile Image for Sher❤ The Fabulous BookLover.
865 reviews555 followers
May 21, 2020
I couldn't finish this one😩 I cannot believe I'm giving up on a Lisa Kleypas HR! I found myself skimming and you know it's bad when you've skimmed so much that you now have lost the gist of the story and you're like "What the hell is going on?". I'm sad about this book but I'm glad that LK is back to writing historicals. I mean Devil in Winter is in my top 5 all time fave HRs and she wrote thee Derek Craven😍! The Hathaway series is just amazing! So because of that I forgive Ms. Kleypas and I will move on to the next books in the series. Such a bummer though!😩

A Lisa Kleypas historical!!! So excited!


Profile Image for Jen.
1,654 reviews994 followers
June 18, 2016
I have always loved Lisa Kleypas's work, and "Cold- Hearted Rake" is no exception. I fell into this story quickly and stayed with it the whole way through! There were times when Kahtleen irked me; but for the most part I didn't hate her...LOL In true LK style, her secondary characters were all very entertaining as well. I love how she always seems to integrate humor into her stories and it just adds to the level of enjoyment.

My only complaint with this book was that I felt there was a lot more focus on the secondary characters; Helen and Mr. Winterbourne. Don't get me wrong though, I enjoyed every minute of their page time, and knowing that they were going to be the hero and heroine in the second book just added to my excitement. The truth is, I was way more interested in them for the most part! There is something about that Winterbourne fella that I can't wait learn more about!!!

All in all, an awesome read, and I have already jumped into the next book!!!! So glad that I have stepped back and started reading some HR books again. I love how there is such an adventurous story created with the love and sex thrown in for an added bonus!!!
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,841 reviews817 followers
November 10, 2015
This review was originally posted on Addicted To Romance

My Review
3dfc0949-307a-4721-baab-a4be5dca297d_zpsyptcwevb Devon Ravenel, a wicked rake with a reputation to span the country, has just learned that his cousin died in a accident, and now Devon is the Earl, which is his greatest fear! Now he has many responsibilities and all he craves is his freedom from it all. Devon, along with his brother Weston, are heading toward Devon's estate and make decisions. Upon arrival, all that Devon wants to do is to sell it, and sell of everything that is entitled to him as the newest Earl. He wants zero duties and responsibilities and wants to be able to return to his normal routine. But upon meeting his  cousins and the wife of his late cousin, Devon is startled into a new reality.
“Never apologize to women. It only confirms that you were wrong, and incenses them further.”

A reality that takes both Devon and Weston out by storm. He realizes that he needs to give this a shot, he knows its near impossible to try to save everything with a huge debt he has also taken responsibility of, but he also realizes that there is something more driving him to be more than what he has always been. He sees hope and affection and a life outside what he has always imagined.
The Hero
Devon is a hero that at first you don't like at all. Devon is irresponsible, cocky, arrogant and just wants to do what he wants with little or no consequence. Devon has never known affection apart from his brother. What Devon becomes in this story is a person that is remarkable and full of depth and strength of will that surfaces. We see a character that comes into his own skin, and finds purpose and meaning in life. Devon is a character that avoids anything serious, he is all about enoyment and being in the city. He can't stand country life or all that has been heaped upon his shoulders. What is truly miraculous about his character was the change that becomes evident from the very beginning. He starts as a young man that is determined to sell everything off and get as much as he can from it and move on. But then he meets a certain widow, and his whole perspective changes. It is truly wonderful to see this change happen, to see a character you don't like from the first page and become a hero to admire.
The Heroine
Kathleen married Theo out of duty and because she thought that they would suit well together. Kathleen has never truly known love of family. Her own parents shipped her from Ireland, so that she could be raised on a horse farm. Then she grew up in a home of hard work and dedication, but no love was there, but was something she had always hoped to find. Kathleen is spirited and strong diligence, she fights for what is right not what is easy. Kathleen is a heroine that impressed me. Because she is grieving her husband's death, dealing with guilt and she is able to fight for the estate and all those that reside there. She can put sense into Devon and she knows exactly what buttons to push. I loved her determination. She has a short fuse though, so when she gets riled---you better watch out.
Plot and Story Line
What a beautifully woven story that kept me warmed to the toes! This is the first time Kleypas has returned to writing historical romance, after being so involved in her contemporary series so I was impressed with what she has done with Cold Hearted Rake. Now not only is this a fantastic love story, but she also sets the stage for future books in the series and to set up the feeling of the Ravenel's. I loved the course that the plot takes in this story.

Its sets off with our hero and heroine meeting and hating each other from the beginning. There is no quick love match here. In fact, it takes time and work for these two to build something worth fighting for. It was quite interesting to see the tempers flare, and ignite into one hell of a fire. Oh boy, do these two like to go at it like wolves. No light playing here, full on and intense. But is there chemistry! This is what I admired so much about this book, is seeing the hate to love feeling develop. Now this isn't your average angsty romance, because it doesn't have that feel to it. Its fun and easy going at times, and the humor just hits the right spot with the tone of the story. This is what I have come to truly admire about Lisa Kleypas, is her ability to balance out variables and come out on top with a delectable romance.

The secondary characters were the icing on the cake for the Cold Hearted Rake here. First we have Weston. Now Weston was a hoot!! He is very much alike his brother, but in some ways worse off as far as how much he drinks and carouses around town. Started to get fat (from all the laziness and drinking) and has no real motivation to do anything meaningful. Then that all changes, when his brother challenges him with the estate and boy do we ever see a change. He takes to the country and farm life like a fish to the sea. A complete natural once he gets his hands dirty. He also has developed a close bond with the girls here...both the widow and his cousin's sisters. Then we have Helen, Cassandra and Pandora were such a unique aspect to the story and each of them play vital roles. Helen (which is our heroine in the next book) is wonderful. Talented, education but shy at times, which is probably why I was so endeared to her. But watch out, because this character has spine when you least expect it from her. Cassandra and Pandora are twins and what spirit these two have. In fact, they are 'heathens" don't care about rules at all, and love to play and do what they want. These two added a good energy level to the story that really aids in some other aspects of building of the plot.
“Time is what I'm giving you," he said, staring down at her. His hand curved beneath her chin, compelling her to look at him. "There's only one way for me to prove that I will love you and be faithful to you for the rest of my life. And that's by loving you and being faithful to you for the rest of my life. Even if you don't want me. Even if you choose not to be with me. I'm giving you all the time I have left. I vow to you that from this moment on, I will never touch another woman, or give my heart to anyone but you. If I have to wait sixty years, not a minute will have been wasted- because I'll have spent all of them loving you.”

The romance is slow and easy, and I love seeing this in romances. In my mind, it builds more depth and the reader is able to connect with the story on a deeper level. There are certain key points that happen in the plot that are essential to Devon and Kathleen truly coming together. This is a story that is enriching, heart warming and is a must read for any historical romance lover.
The Cover
Aww!! I just adore this cover...its so pretty. I just can't get enough of her dress especially since I love pink. And I like the manor in the background, with the garden and the teal colors....the cover almost has a "painting" quality to it.
Overall View
The Cold Hearted Rake is a phenomenal story that is sweet and full of laughs, plenty of endearing character to keep you asking for more, and a love story that leaves you breathless!! A TRUE GEM!!

Series Order

Cold Hearted Rake Marrying Winterbourne

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Profile Image for Pepa.
937 reviews237 followers
June 28, 2016
Reseña completa: http://masromance.blogspot.com.es/201...
sería 3.5 Pero me he quedado con ganas de más
A ver, es Kleypas y se nota. Te engancha desde la primera letra. Tiene su estilo, su frescura, sus diálogos, Es lo que más me gusta de ella y sobre todo, esos protagonistas masculinos que, aún con defectos, acabas medio enamorada de ellos. Porque en el fondo, por cruel que resulte en algunos momentos su actitud, es de aplaudir el realismo y la entereza que desprende.
La pareja no me ha emocionado, me ha faltado el amor... desde el principio se desean y prácticamente al poco tiempo ya parecen los dos enamorados y yo me pregunto el cómo el cuando y el donde. Ya me conocéis ;)
Y eso le ha bajado una estrella. Enterita.
Los secundarios me han encantado. Todos. Las gemelas, West y, como no, Rhys... promete tanto su relación con Helen!!!! Y nadie como Lisa Kleypas para dejarme con estas ganas del segundo.
Cuánto la echaba de menos y ha vuelto... aunque sigo teniendo la sensación de que me esperaba más
February 7, 2017

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Like so many others, Lisa Kleypas was my "gateway drug" into the historical romance genre. I loved her Gamblers series, and then her Wallflowers series. Then she took a hiatus from historical romance, working on her contemporary series, Friday Harbor and the Travises.  When she started writing historical romance again, I was so excited. But then the reviews for the first book in her new Ravenels series started coming in...and they were less than stellar.

I put off reading COLD-HEARTED RAKE for a while, but because I love Lisa Kleypas I wanted to give it a try. My tastes often don't align with what's popular, and Kleypas is such a great writer, that it really is shocking for me when I read something of hers that I don't like because it's such a rare occurrence. She's that good.

COLD-HEARTED RAKE features Kathleen, Lady Trenear, newly widowed after her husband, Theo Ravenel fell from an unbroken horse while drunk. His cousin, Devon Ravenel, inherits the estate upon Theo's passing, and he is less than pleased with the estate's conditions and debts. He intends to sell it piecemeal, and kick out its tenants, including Kathleen and his sisters, Helen, Cassandra, and Pandora.

The book starts out fairly well. I'm a fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, and Kathleen had good reason to dislike Devon because of his callous insensitivity and utter selfishness. The trouble is, he warms to her and changes his ways far too quickly, to the point where it seems unrealistic, almost to the point of being a near-overnight transformation. I also felt like there was some indecision about how Kleypas wanted Devon to be characterized. He isn't exactly a cold-hearted rake - he's far too easily manipulated and too quick to feel guilt - but at the same time, he isn't a beta hero either, since he uses his sexual wiles to overpower the heroine and ignores several "nos" said on her part.

Also, the virgin widow trope is a peeve of mine, and I wasn't pleased to see it here.

Some have complained that the secondary romance between Helen and Winterbourne (it's not really a spoiler since, I mean, come on - the summary of the next book) overpowered the plot, and while this wasn't exactly the case, it did feel a bit like filler, especially in the latter half of the book. I've never read a Kleypas book where the secondary romance featured so prominently - usually it remained in the background, so as not to diminish the main story line. Winterbourne was kind of an ass, too.

I did like the descriptions of renovation, the interactions with the tenants and servants, and the witty banter (especially when done in epistolary form at the beginning of the book). I was torn on Cassandra and Pandora - they acted way younger than 19, and were so self-centered that sometimes I really didn't like them, although they had some great dialogue, too. The introduction of a pig as a pet was an interesting touch, but I didn't really find him comical, as he was undoubtedly intended to be. The beginning of COLD-HEARTED RAKE was much better than the end, which felt disorganized and kind of landed all over the place in terms of plot. This isn't her best, but it isn't her worst, either.

2.5 to 3 stars
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