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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review - - Devil in Spring

Devil in Spring
By Lisa Kleypas
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Reviewed by PJ








An eccentric wallflower  . . .
Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.
A cynical rake  . . .
After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.
A perilous plot  . . .
After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy—and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven . . .


Lisa Kleypas's Devil in Winter, book 3 in her Wallflowers series, is one of my favorite Kleypas novels, telling the story of one of my all-time favorite couples, Evie and Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent.  It's understandable then that when I began reading Devil in Spring, the story of Evie and Sebastian's son Gabriel and another wallflower, Lady Pandora Ravenel, my expectations would be high. By the end of the first chapter, I was certain those expectations would not only be met but far exceeded. 

Gabriel, the current Lord St. Vincent didn't fall far from the family tree, inheriting his mother's kindness and strong sense of responsibility along with his father's charm and golden good looks. His path most likely never would have crossed with Pandora's had he not come to her rescue when she becomes entangled in the furniture in the hilarious opening chapter of this story. His honor compels him to do the right thing but it isn't long before he's intrigued by this unusual young woman who is his intended. However, she's so far removed from the society wife he had envisioned she may as well be from another universe. Then there's the dark secret he carries that makes it impossible for him to believe they could ever be truly happy together. I fell in love with Gabriel right along with Pandora. I loved that he was attentive and caring enough to discover hidden facets of Pandora that even her own family hadn't guessed. He was everything I had hoped he would be and, as a bonus, I was thrilled that we got to see him interact with his close-knit family. 

Pandora is that rare creature who has zero interest in a London Season and marriage. A brilliant young woman who was raised far from society by negligent parents, her life is focused on becoming a successful, independent businesswoman producing the games she creates and intends to sell at her brother-in-law's store. She's not about to hand control of her business and the money she earns over to a husband, even one who seems to see and appreciate her for who she really is. She's a breath of fresh air and an absolute delight but also unpolished, outspoken, clumsy (though there's a hidden medical reason for that), quirky, with a tendency to make up amusing words (swirladingles, anyone?), and easily distracted (I sense that in today's world she would be classified as ADHD). I found her funny, smart, vulnerable, determined, and endearing. Here's a small example of what makes Pandora such a delight, taken from her journal entries during a train journey to spend time getting to know Gabriel and his family:


Journey to Heron's Point
OR
The Impending Matrimonial Doom of Lady Pandora Ravenel

Facts and Observations

#1 If people think you're dishonored, it's no different from actually having been dishonored, except you still don't know anything.

#2 When you've been ruined, there are only two options: death or marriage

#3 Since I am gravely healthy, the first option isn't likely. 

#4 On the other hand, ritual self-sacrifice in Iceland cannot be ruled out.


I adored this story. There's no other way to put it. It made me laugh, made me sigh, and kept me smiling throughout. It's vintage Kleypas, filled with the swoon-worthy, heart-tugging romance, witty banter, humor, and emotion that made me fall in love with her historical romances years ago. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, highlighting more passages that I wanted to remember in the first two chapters than I usually do in full novels. It's a keeper that I will undoubtedly be re-reading time and again and would have been a Top Dish review if not for one issue. The last quarter or so of the book introduces a suspense plot that was a bit jarring in its disconnect from the rest of the book; not enough to take me out of the story completely but enough to make me stop and wonder about the shift. I was so in love with these characters and their journey to love by that point that I was willing to go wherever Kleypas took them but it did disrupt the flow of the story for me enough to scale my rating back from a Top Dish to a 5-Star review. Still, Devil in Spring is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. It's earned a spot on my Best of 2017 book list as well as a place of honor on my All-Time Favorite Comfort Reads keeper shelf. I'm looking forward to more books in this series and am hoping that Gabriel's widowed sister, Phoebe is in line for a story of her own. More page time for Evie and Sebastian would, of course, be much appreciated! 


Do you ever make up words? 

What's the last book that made it to your keeper shelf?

Do you enjoy second generation stories?

Have you read Devil in Spring yet? How about Devil in Winter? What did you think?


One randomly chosen person leaving a comment before 11:00PM EST, March 12, 2017 will receive a signed print copy of Devil in Spring. U.S. and Canadian addresses only.




41 comments:

  1. I just finished reading "Devil in Spring" last night and it was a total delight. It is one of those books that will become a classic. Congratulations to Lisa Kleypas on a real winner.

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    1. It is one of those books that will become a classic

      I agree, Connie. It's wonderful!

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  2. Yes, I have always made up words. I have many books that I treasure. Second generation stories are wonderful. I haven't read Devil in Spring but want to very much. Devil in Winter was captivating.

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    1. The prologue to this book is a scene that features Evie and Sebastian along with one of their young grandchildren. I adored Pandora and Gabriel but, to be honest, I would have bought the book for that scene alone.

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  3. I look forward greatly to reading Devil in Spring. I so enjoyed Devil in Winter. I keepr so many books since books are my passion. Second generation stories give me great pleasure.

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    1. I've cut way back on the books I keep since moving to a condo. It speaks very highly of Devil in Spring that it's going straight to my keeper shelf.

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  4. I'm #3 on our library list for this one, can't wait! Although I will say, that Devil in Winter is not one of my favorites by her, don't get me wrong, I do still like it. I've loved all of the other Ravenel books though, so I'm sure I'll love this one too. I do not make up words, at least not intentionally. The last book that made it to my keeper shelf was The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins. I just started reading her this year, but I really love her style!

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    1. Kristan Higgins is one of my favorites, Frances. Have you read her full back list yet? If not, you have some wonderful books waiting for you!

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  5. I enjoy second generation stories as I'm already familiar with each family member, and following them from one book to rocks. I've got tons of books on my "keeper shelf", and Lisa's books are among them. "Mine Till Midnight" and "Seduce me at Sunrise" are two of my favorites.

    Who can forget this quote from Devil in Winter? "I want to fill every part of you, breathe the air from your lungs and leave my hand prints on your soul. I want to give you more pleasure than you can bear.” YIKES!

    ― Lisa Kleypas, Devil in Winter

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    1. should have read "following them from one book to another rocks"

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    2. ::Sigh:: I love that quote. The scenes between Evie and Sebastian, Sebastian and Gabriel, and Sebastian and Pandora in Devil in Spring are all wonderful. Let's face it, Sebastian is sigh-worthy at any age! :)

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  6. I'm almost finished with this book and you're right PJ - it's a keeper. It's vintage Lisa Kleypas. I was so happy to see Evie and Sebastian. I can't remember if I've read a romance that featured generations book to book - but I certainly enjoyed this one. I'm waiting for my next free moment so I can finish it!

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    1. It's a keeper for sure, Maria. Glad to hear you're enjoying it too!

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  7. Yes, I have inadvertently made up a new word. We went out for breakfast and I said I'd be having the "buffar" - combination of buffet and bar. I love second generation stories if I've liked the original, of course. My last keeper was Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen. I loved Devil in Winter, and would love this copy of Devil in Spring. Bonnie bonnieblue at wowway dot com

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    1. I have a friend who does it all the time too, Bonnie. She comes up with some pretty amusing words.

      Between the Devil and the Duke was a keeper for me too. Kelly Bowen is a newly discovered author for me. I love her writing!

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  8. I make up words all the time sometimes they are so hilarious I always have a good laugh the last book that made it to my keepers's shelf is Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James. I've never read this series by Lisa Kleypas before the only book I read by her before is Again the Magic

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    1. Seven Minutes in Heaven was wonderful, wasn't it?

      Oh my goodness, you've only read one book by Kleypas? Holy wow, you have some awesome reading ahead of you!

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  9. I usually don't read 2nd generation books but this is an exceotion

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  10. I am so looking forward to this novel! Even before reading it, I confess I am in awe of the brilliance of Lisa Kleypas in joining her much-loved Wallflowers characters to the Ravenels via the remarkably quirky and unique Pandora. My mortal brain can't find the appropriate words of interest, thanks, and appreciation for Kleypas. And this is before I've even read it! Thanks for the post and giveaway.

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    1. Wait until you read it! I was spellbound.

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  11. I am happy to say that this book is in my hands right now. I am starting it as soon as I can!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Cheryl!

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  12. Awesome review, PJ! I read it, loved it and read it again! LOL I'm with you, every scene Sebastian was in sparkled. I, too, would have bought the book for that scene between Sebastian and Evie. I also totally loved his interaction with Gabriel. I was a little skeptical that Lisa could keep him the devil that we love and still make him a great father and husband, but she did it. I was expecting him to be watered down but the spark was still there, even with his kids.

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    1. Ah yes, the spark. I too was worried he'd be watered down but, oh my! As you said, he sparkled in every scene yet Kleypas did a good job of not letting him steal the show from Gabriel and Pandora. But now that we've had a taste of Sebastian as a grandfather, I want more!

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  13. I loved it too, PJ, and like you, I knew as soon as i finished reading it that DIS was one of those books that I would be rereading. In fact, I am in the process now of rereading the Wallflower books and then I plan to move on to reread the three Ravenel books. So, the first rereading will follow the initial read rather quickly.

    I am a big fan of second-generation tales, and I too hope we get Phoebe's story. I know the Ravenel series was announced as a quartet, and I assume Cassandra's story will be the fourth book. Do you know what LK's plans are after Book 4?

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    1. I do not know her plans, Janga but Kleypas will be the guest author at Eloisa James's Facebook book club on March 21st. I plan to ask her then.

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  14. I have read Devil in Winter and have Devil in Spring to read in the next few weeks. I am a die-hard Kleypas and my heart was broken when she took the contemporary route (not my favorite) awhile back. I am beyond thrilled that she's back with some historicals!! She is an automatic buy for me in historical romance. I almost feel like I'm putting off reading Devil in Spring because I'll have another wait on my hands. A sad yet oddly happy fate! 😂

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    1. I liked her Travis series as well as Rainshadow Road but the rest of the contemporaries, not so much. I'm happy she's back in the historical realm. I understand the push-pull of reading Devil in Spring now or waiting but, if it helps, you'll probably want to read it more than once so there is that. ;-)

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  15. I have not read either Devil in Winter nor Devil in Spring. The last book I put on my Keeper shelf, Mary Balogh's Someone To Hold. I like family stories.

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    1. Mary Balogh is a wonderful writer. If you decide to tackle the Kleypas books, I recommend reading the Wallflower quartet first, or at least the second and third(Devil in Winter) books. Then start in on the Ravenel books. Devil in Spring is third in that series. This is a wonderful book on its own but carries so much more depth and understanding of the characters if you know their background.

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  16. I've read Winter and want to read Spring. I'll read anything Kleypas writes.

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    1. I read Devil in Spring on my Kindle at the beach. With all the chuckles and sighs that were going on, I'm sure the people sitting next to me were dying of curiousity to know what I was reading! LOL!

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  17. I think I probably have made up words - or at least mis-spelled some. I read Devil in Winter years ago and look forward to reading Devil in Spring.

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  18. I haven't read the Wallflower series yet - so no to Devil in Spring. I'm waffling about whether I should read it before I read Devil in Winter or not.... I've read the rest of this newer series and loved them of course!

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  19. I haven't had the pleasure of reading Devil In Spring but I've loved Winter ever since I read the Wallflower series. I enjoy reading second generation stories and seeing the growth of the characters and how their families have expanded. I always make up new words, it's just something weird that I do, lol! Thanks so much for the chance to win this giveaway!

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  20. I made up words but it was a long, time ago when our children were little. I have a habit of liking too many books. My house reflects that with 40 bookshelves and stacks of books. Not all have been read and i do get rid of some of those once aI fish them. The first books that made it to my keeper shelf were Julie Garwood's historical romances. They were the first romances I read and I have gone back to reread my favorites: THE PRIZE, THE WEDDING, THE BRIDE, RANSOM, THE SECRET, HONOR'S SPLENDOUR among my favorites.
    If done well, second generation stories are wonderful. We get to revisit characters we came to love and see them at a different stage of their lives. The next generation is a product of the strengths and weaknesses of their parents. It is enjoyable to see how old relationships have changed over the years and how the new relationships have formed.
    I have not yet started this series but look forward to it.

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  21. I can't help but make up words because I often mispronounce words! I have many books from my favorite authors on my keeper shelf ranging from Eloisa James, Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, Julie Anne Long and Julia Quinn. I'm really looking forward to reading Devil In Spring and seeing how Gabriel has grown up and revisiting with Evie and Sebastian.

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  22. love second-generation stories!

    denise

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  23. I'm not too big on making up words but I'm often messing up commonplace expressions by confusing them and not "hearing" they don't make sense: for example, I'll say it's just "water over the bridge" which I have to think twice about to realize is just wrong. I think the character, Mrs. Malaprop from a Restoration drama used to speak like this. At least that's what my mom goodnaturedly nicknamed me years ago when she first recognized that I have a tendency to do this. She still calls me Mrs. Malaprop on occasion.
    I have not yet read either book so I guess I had better pick up the parents' story first! I loved your review and look forward to reading this newest Kleypas story.
    As for keepers, I definitely have too many, but probably my most recent addition to my shelf is John Grisham's The Whistler. It was not a romance per se, but it was an excellent legal thriller with some elements of romance in it to keep me happy.

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  24. I enjoyed this book, too. Sebastian's scenes were well done. I didn't mind the suspense plot. It was sudden, but I like that it will be continued in the next book.

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