Published by Avon on Feb. 18, 2020
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: the publisher
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Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Marrying Winterborne, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil's Daughter
Also by this author: Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, Rainshadow Road, Dream Lake, Crystal Cove, Cold-Hearted Rake, Marrying Winterborne, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil's Daughter
Everything has a price...
Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.
Everything except her...
Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.
When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:
Never underestimate a Ravenel.
The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun...
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
I absolutely loved Chasing Cassandra! I admit that I was worried going in, given what we have seen of Severin’s ruthlessness and near-lack of emotions in previous books. But it turns out his emotions are absent, just suppressed, locked away by his own choice. I really should have trusted Lisa Kleypas. She — and Cassandra — do(es) an excellent job of humanizing Severin in this book.
I loved the role novels play in Tom and Cassandra’s relationship. I love the banter between them. I love their negotiations over the nature of their marriage. And I love the fact that Severin (like all of Kleypas’s recent heroes) truly respects the woman he desires — respects not just her intellect, but her autonomy as well. He is scrupulous about consent, although it doesn’t have to be verbal. The contrast between Tom’s attitude and that of a cad that Cassandra encounters is stark. The cad objectifies her; after his first overwhelming reaction to her, Tom never does. He loves her curves — and says so, in a scene that made my heart swoon — but he never presumes anything about her morals or desires because of them. (As a well-endowed woman, can I just say how much I appreciate that?)
I also appreciate Cassandra’s family. We’ve seen before how they love, support and accept one another, and now they are completely there for Cassandra. They are unequivocal in their support for her, and in granting her the autonomy to make her own choices. (Devon and West take a little while to come around on the latter point, but they do eventually.)
Cassandra really comes into her own in this book. She is gentle and kind, but also clear and forthright about what she wants from life, and she values herself enough to stand firm on those wishes. She’s insightful and intelligent, but a little naive about the dangers some men pose to her reputation and her person. And she sees a side of Tom that no one else sees, both because he drops his guard a little with her, and because of her innate empathy.
Tom and Cassandra’s relationship progresses slowly in the beginning, with long stretches of time apart. (Thankfully, Kleypas condenses that time, focusing on it only insofar as it sheds light on the two main characters and their relationship.) But although Tom is clear he can’t offer love, and Cassandra won’t settle for less, neither can get the other out of their minds despite months apart. So it’s not surprising that Tom steps in when Cassandra finds herself embroiled in a scandal.
The book gives a nod to the Cinderella theme, and the cover supports it, but in the end it’s only a nod. Yes, there’s a dance and a dropped shoe and a departure near midnight, but that’s about as far as the parallels go. As I already mentioned, Cassandra’s family are completely supportive, she herself is more proactive than Cinderella ever was, she is neither poor nor mistreated, and Tom is far more complex and interesting than Cinderella’s rather generic prince… though his own background is closer to Cinderella’s.
If I have an single quibble with the book, it has to do with the orphan boy that both Tom and Cassandra take an interest in, in their own ways. It is a common trope, and I enjoyed Kleypas’s handling of it. But as a trope, it always seems a bit unbelievable to me, and this was no exception. Don’t get me wrong; I like Bazzle… but in this case, I couldn’t quite see why Cassandra took to him so quickly.
I assume this is the last Ravenel book, because… well, we’re out of Ravenels. And that’s a disappointment; I have really loved this series, and hate to see it end. But it seems to me there’s room for some adjacent books featuring the Wallflowers’ offspring. I’d love to see Gabe St. Vincent’s brother Raphael get his own romance, perhaps with a Wallflower daughter?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER with Friends (Winter 2019-2020)
- POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2020