Series: Ravenels #1
Published by Avon on Oct. 27, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: the publisher
Also in this series: Marrying Winterborne, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger
Also by this author: Marrying Winterborne, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger
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?
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Lisa Kleypas’s long-awaited return to historical romance is cause to celebrate! And she’s done it in fine style with Cold-Hearted Rake.
Kathleen is caring, protective, with a keen sense of responsibility toward both her sisters-in-law and the estate’s tenant farm families. Fostered out as a child by her uncaring parents, she tries diligently to maintain the proprieties, even when they grate upon her. The rakish Devon, on the other hand, has never worried overmuch about either responsibilities or social strictures. On discovering that he has inherited, along with the title, an estate that is deeply in debt and a house in dire need of repairs, his first impulse is to wash his hands of it: throw the widow and the former earl’s sisters out, sell off what he can and ignore the rest. His dissolute brother Weston agrees.
Kathleen, of course, does not, which puts the determined young widow at odds with the apparently ruthless new earl from the start. Of course there is also a strong attraction between them, and I loved that Kleypas neither rushes their relationship nor minimizes the differences between them. I also appreciated that it’s actually West who reforms first (or at least, most obviously); given responsibilities of his own and a familiarity with the people and the land, he becomes a genuinely likable young man–without losing his sense of humor and enjoyment of life. (I need West to have a book of his own. Luckily, this is the start of a new series, so hopefully we’ll get one eventually.)
I thoroughly enjoyed Devon’s growing obsession with Kathleen. Kleypas has always written emotional and sexual tension with consummate skill; watching Devon fall for Kathleen without recognizing the real nature of his feelings was delicious. As for Kathleen, she has her own reasons to avoid getting involved, but her heart and her body have other ideas.
There are a few scenes and situations that I was uncomfortable with, but for the most part they stem as much from the societal attitudes of the time as from anything in the writing. For instance, arranged marriages were very common among the aristocracy, so the fact that one is contemplated for one of the former earl’s sisters isn’t so surprising. In another instance, Devon comes a little too close to not taking “no” for an answer in one scene, when he’s in the grip of the infamous Ravenel temper, but it’s more in words than in action; it’s clear he would never harm Kathleen.
This series has the potential to rival the Wallflowers and the Hathaways in my affections, and I can hardly wait for the next book! But be forewarned: The epilogue deliberately leaves the next Ravenel’s romantic situation quite unhappily unresolved.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2015 Historical Romance Reading Challenge