Why haven’t I discovered Lisa Kelypas sooner? So recently I’ve been devouring one Kelypas novel after another. They are as addictive as crack or, since I’ve never done crack, they are like… a big bag of hot Cheetos: spicy and finger-licking good. Not that I go around licking my fingers after I read these novels. I checked them out from the library and they came to me severely abused and covered in germs. Ick!
SQUEAL!!!!!! The Wallflower series! This post is a little premature since I am still on waitlist for Scandal in the Spring, but dudes! I cannot get these books out of my mind. Here’s the whirlwind set-up: sick of being snubbed by all the eligible bachelors in upper-crusty Victorian England, four young women band together to help each other catch husbands. Each heroine has a social defect (too poor, too American, too shy) which has previously branded her undesirable in the marriage game until she finds the right man.
For the week, I have been in bliss! So much so that I’ve made collages of my two favorite books in the series (The Devil in Winter and It Happened One Autumn). While I liked Secrets of a Summer’s Night, I didn’t love it enough to make a collage and you should know by now that a collage from me means business! Fair warning, the following will probably make sense for those who have read the books. I will now commence with my fangirl rambling…
The best thing about IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN (pictured below) is the hero/heroine mash up. The key to good romance is all the pairing and the best pairings are always between polar opposites. Lillian Bowman is a brazen American soap heiress who can cuss like a sailor and ride like a man while Marcus, Lord Westcliff is the most proper gentleman in all of England and he WILL look down his aristocratic nose at YOU. In fact, his is exactly like Mr. Darcy right down to the “My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever.” This book IS Pride and Prejudice except with sexy times in secret gardens and abductions involving handcuffs and very proper British men fighting, which in it self is hilarious! Think Hugh Grant and Colin Firth’s fight in Bridget Jone’s Diary…yeah, it’s that kind of fighting.
And because Lord Westcliff reminded me so much of Colin Firth, who is, in my opinion, the perfect British gentleman, I’ve put him in my collage
Next up THE DEVIL IN WINTER. This book skyrocketed to one of my top romance picks in such a short time. Sebastian St. Vincent (the villain from It Happened One Autumn) is the most beautiful man in England. In today’s terms, he is a notorious man whore until he is brought to his knees and redeemed by the shyest wallflower: stuttering Evangeline Jenner. Theirs is a marriage of convenience (he is an impoverished aristocrat in need of money, she is an heiress in need of a husband’s protection from her abusive guardians). So yes, I’ve seen this match-up a million times. It’s been done. And yet, so much of Romance depend on the telling and in this case, it was told exquisitely. There’s so much to love about this book, but if I had to choose, I’d say what really got me was St. Vincent’s character transformation from a callow rake to a man of substance. He pretends not to care for Evie and she’s all “You’re not the villain you pretend to be” while he insists “Yes I am!” but then secretly wears her wedding ring around his neck. Ohhh!!!! This reminds me of The English Patient in which Ralph Fiennes is carrying Kristen Scott Thomas’ battered body to their secret cave and he discovers that thimble around her neck and he’s all *Sniff sniff* “You’re wearing my thimble” and she’s all *in proper British accent* “I’ve always worn your timble. I’VE ALWAYS LOVED YOU…” And Ralph Fiennes descends into wrenching man sobs, which I think is utterly HEARTBREAKING but my boyfriend thinks is a shameless bid for an Oscar nod. But you know what? I like to see men cry!!!! Bravo Ralph Fiennes! Bravo! Oh, I am such a sucker when it comes to reading about these indirect displays of affection. P.S. Redemption is my favorite word. During the reading, I pictured Rupert Friend as St. Vincent, who is described as a feral tomcat. The picture of Rupert Friend with his hair blowing in the wind is definitely…feral.
P.S. I wish we could play in real life. We could spend the afternoon acting out scenes from The English Patient. One more for the road. Me as Kristen Scott Thomas. Imagine that I still look good after a fatal plane crash: “Promise you’ll come back for me. PROMISE…” And you could be Ralph Fiennes. You’ll look at me with your signature piercing stare and say “I promise…” I’ll die and you’ll carry me into your plane. Then we’ll get shot down by Nazi gunners TOGETHER and I’ll perish in the flames and you’ll have your beautiful face INCINERATED and look like Voldermort for the rest of the movie. Fortunately, The Devil in Winter has a much happier ending. Nobody’s face gets burned off.