My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lady Helen Ravenel has been raised far away from the glittering world of the ton and has little experience with men. Thus, when wealthy self-made retail tycoon, Rhys Winterborne, sets his sights on her, she is overwhelmed by his attentions. Nevertheless, Helen’s need for love and adventure is too strong for her to deny and she is willing to risk everything – her virtue, her reputation and her heart – in order to marry Mr. Winterborne…
Series note: The beginning of Helen and Rhy’s relationship is described in detail in Cold-Hearted Rake and it is, therefore, necessary to read it before this one.
Helen and Rhys have amazing chemistry although it is never quite clear which of the two is the seducer and which the seducee. Helen one of those heroines who comes across as timid and shy only to reveal a backbone of solid steel. Her determination to win Rhys back no matter the consequences is a highlight of the story. Rhys is an amalgamation of opposites at once both a ruthless businessman overriding all obstacles, yet at the same time a gentle and considerate lover who is completely besotted with Helen.
Of course, there is the inevitable obstacle to Rhys and Helen’s ultimate happiness and this is where the story goes somewhat awry as the conflict is based on a trope that annoys me no end, i.e., keeping secrets. Thankfully, Kleypas manages to avoid the accompanying silly misunderstanding and all is resolved quite satisfactorily. It should be noted that the villain of the piece is one of the more smarmy in Kleypas’s works and he does get a little too lightly for my tastes.
All in all, a wonderful romance that would be a 5 star read were it not for the pet peeve trope. The next installment focuses on Pandora Ravenell and her hero, Gabriel St. Vincent (yes, the son of Evie and Sebastian from A Devil in Winter – can’t wait!)
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