Ebook Review: “The Devil in Winter,” By Lisa Kleypas
As it is December and officially cold as hell outside my door, I thought it would be the perfect time to read the third book in the Wallflower series – “The Devil in Winter,” so named for its devilish hero.
Yay! Bring on the bad boy lit!
In this excellent read, we follow the story of Evie – the terribly shy wallflower with a stutter and a family that tortures her. Evie is desperate to escape the clutches of evil relatives and to tend to her father in his sickbed (she lives with extended family and not with her father).
Unfortunately, during this time period, there are not many options open to someone like Evie to escape from domineering and abusive relations, who just might kill her once she inherits her father’s fortune. If she runs away to stay with one of her married friends, her male relatives can come and force her to return. Her only real option is to marry a man with enough power to protect her, and also one who will let her live without trying to dominate her – not an easy task for a lady back in the day. She turns to a man who is desperate to marry (for money), rakish Sebastian St. Vincent. In his last desperate attempt to solve financial issues, he kidnapped the heroine of our last Wallflower book, Lillian, to try to marry her and gain her fortune. Viscount St. Vincent, bruised and battered by Lillian’s now-husband, accepts Evie’s proposal to elope quickly.
St. Vincent is my favorite kind of romance novel bad guy – a sharp-tongued, sneaky, snarky rake who (we all know) is secretly a decent man and falls in love with our lovely heroine.
In the Wallflower series, Kleypas created heroines that are smart and bold individuals that buck the old romance standards, with Evie being no exception. Usually in historical romances, our heroine would consummate her marriage with the hero and fall in love with him very fast. Then, she would resign herself to the fate of loving a man, who doesn’t (yet) love her, but decide to make the best of it by having sex with him all the time. (Eventually, the hero admits his love and then they gain their happily ever after).
However, in “The Devil in Winter,” Evie tells St. Vincent that she will only have sex with him once – to make sure that her evil relatives cannot have the marriage annulled and make her go back home. After that, they’ll have a sham marriage. St. Vincent (again, a rake) agrees and says he doesn’t usually sleep with women more than once anyway. Oh the plans of mice and men…
Of course their interlude together is amazing, life changing even. But the next time our hero tries to seduce Evie, she tells him no and reminds him of their agreement. He, of course, is annoyed. I can almost imagine him turning to the reader at this point, flabbergasted by the situation. He would point at the heroine and mutter to me, “can you believe her? Does she know what kind of book she’s in? This isn’t how it’s supposed to go!” Heehee. Evie tells Sebastian that she’ll let him return to her bed if he can prove he can be monogamous by being celibate for 3 months.
<Cackling with glee> Oh, I love this book. 🙂 For an excellent heroine, a delicious (as well as redeeming) hero, and a great plot – I give 5 out of 5 stars.