Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas (Oct 2015)
When Lisa Kleypas was strictly a historical romance writer, I read everything she wrote. I didn’t follow her when she switched to contemporary romance because I’m selective about the books I read from that subgenre. Then about 18 months ago she jumped back into historical romance with Cold-Hearted Rake. I’m not really sure why now, but at the time I wasn’t interested in reading the book. I know I sampled the first chapter and didn’t fall in love with it, so I put it aside. However, when it was announced that Kleypas would be publishing a sequel to her much-loved book Devil in Winter this year, I knew I wanted to read that. Turns out that book, Devil in Spring, is actually the third in Kleypas’s newer trilogy so a colleague talked me into starting at the beginning with Cold-Hearted Rake.
I was not disappointed. I had forgotten what an awesome writer Kleypas is. The one word I would use to describe her writing is: Rich. She includes so much detail, whether it’s setting, characters, emotions, actions. She does not skimp on anything and reading one of her books is like enjoying a layered confection–with icing on top.
This is the story of Devon, the new earl of Trenear. His cousin died, leaving Devon an ancient house in need of repair, tenants farms that are struggling, a mountain of debt, and oh yes, a young widow, Kathleen. Devon and Kathleen get off on the wrong foot when Devon initially decides to sell the estate and kick Kathleen and his 3 female cousins out the door. He eventually softens and puts his heart and soul into trying to revive the estate. Along the way, he and Kathleen fall for each other of course. I came around to liking Devon a lot sooner than I did Kathleen, though honestly I wish the two of them had spent more time together. While I enjoyed reading about Devon’s brother West (please tell me he gets his own book), I thought there might have been a little too much time spent on secondary characters and their issues when the book should have focused on the main couple.
I wouldn’t say that this book is as good as Kleypas’s older historical romances, but it’s still really good. I finished this one and immediately downloaded the next one, Marrying Winterborne. I’m not going to blog about that one but let’s just say that I was never captivated by it and ended up skimming through the end. I’m hoping for better things from Devil in Spring.