Bite Sized Books // Wallflowers: I Finally Read Some Lisa Kleypas

12 February 2018

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So, last month I finally read some Lisa Kleypas. Nick has been going on at me to read her books for a while and then Danya started in I figured I should probably go ahead and get reading, I did own two of the books in the series anyway so it made sense. I ended up loving the series and I’m not totally sure why I waited to read them. I figured a small handful of quick bite-sized review was appropriate in case anyone (like me) has yet to read them and needs a little convincing.

Secrets of a Summer Night (wallflower #1) – Lisa Kleypas
Published: 26th October 2004

Source: Purchased

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing - and persistent - admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition... but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.

Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon - and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses... and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.

The first book centres around Annabelle. There is literally no reason she should be a Wallflower. She is extremely pretty, she knows how to behave as a lady should and she’s good at faking a smile. Unfortunately, her family is poor and they are relying upon Annabelle to marry well to help support her family but the rich men? They are circling like sharks waiting for her to be desperate enough to act as a mistress to one of them. Those men include Simon Hunt. He doesn’t wish to marry but continually he is around Annabelle and can’t seem to get her out from under his skin.

I admit I was a little wary of the pairing. Annabelle could have potentially been unlikable, so confident in her looks searching for a rich man, but she was so sweet and nice and she had an attitude she didn’t always let folks see (unless she was with the Wallflowers who allowed her to be herself). And Simon may have been a working man (shocking, how dare he get rich from a hard days work) but him being unwilling to marry seemed a bit weird. All doubts were cast aside when they were together. Their little digs at one another were brilliant. And the care Simon showed when Annabelle was sick! I am a sucker for one half of a romantic pairing caring for the other when sick, I don’t know what it is.

I found this romance didn’t follow the path I expected. I expected them together and for a nice little HEA to happen. Instead, the two married but that was by no means the end because the end was when they admitted their care and love for one another. I even enjoyed how overly dramatic the book got. Turns out I love the OTT drama in this historical romance. I adored Annabelle and Simon not understanding their depth of care for one another until they almost lost one another. It was perfect.

7. It Happened One Autumn
Published: 25th September 2005

Source: Purchased

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
It happened at the ball...

Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.

It happened in the garden...

When Marcus shockingly - and dangerously - swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed.

It happened one autumn...

Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly his bride?
I went into this book with high expectations. I’d already been told by Danya and Nick it was good and Danya claimed Lillian and Marcus as her favourite couple. Thus, I was nervous to read because what if I didn’t like them?

I admit I found Lillian to be far too forceful a personality in the first book. She was very set in her mind and she very much stuck to her guns even when she was wrong. I wasn’t sure such a headstrong personality would appeal to me. I was wrong, she was brilliant. She was American and thus way too free and outspoken for British society but the fact she shook things up made her interesting to me. She was fun and just blew into things without much thought.

On the other hand, Marcus was stereotypically British, the perfect gent really. He was restrained and proper and although he was far more understanding than a lot of the British elite he was still stuck in his ways. He didn’t try and break too much from the elite and instead mostly blended except when it came to his business affairs. I didn’t like how he spoke about Annabelle in the first book and so I was a little wary going into this one. He was too quick to judge (much like Lillian) and so I was wary of both.

Turns out, two people who I potentially didn’t like trying to get together in a romance (whilst both being adamant they didn’t want each other) is a great recipe for romance. I thought they were hilarious, especially Lillian’s drunk scene that was hysterical. And when they did get together? Look, their path was never going to be easy and they were brilliant together. Once they were set upon each other no one else would do. They were perfect together.

8. The Devil in Winter
Published: 28th February 2006

Source: Purchased

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest Wallflower, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

Sebastian's reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden's good name. Still, Evie appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie's proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become another of the Viscount's discarded broken hearts - which means Sebastian will have to work harder at his seductions . . . or surrender his own heart for the first time in the name of true love.

This was one of the Wallflowers books which I’d heard most about. Everyone raved about how brilliant it was and how it was one of the best in the series. I think I may have to agree, Evie’s transformation from an actual wallflower (she was shy, retiring and had an overbearing family) to a confident woman who went after what and who she wanted was great.

It picked up right from the end of the last book with Evie approaching Sebastian and proposing marriage. What we saw of Sebastian in the last book did not shine him in the best light. I was wary of any romance involving him because although I’d like him up until the end as he may have been an inveterate rake but he was honest about it. Until he acted like a dick. I couldn’t see how he would redeem himself with this one. Turns out I need to get more imaginative because he most certainly redeemed himself.

Sebastian is utterly charming but he was also honest in his own way. He never hid who he was and so the relationship between Evie and Sebastian was brilliant. I knew he was a good egg as soon as Evie stopped stammering around him. If she could feel comfortable around him then he can’t be all bad. And seeing him slowly reform himself and become a hardworking gentleman running a reasonably respectable gambling club… well, I was all for that.

I loved that Evie stuck to her guns and made Sebastian work for her and her love. She didn’t let him off the hook simply because he was charming. The simple fact Sebastian was willing to sacrifice that which he loved to try and woo Evie (without realising that was what he was doing) was pretty damn awesome. my only complaint is we didn’t get more of Sebastian’s backstory. I feel like there could have been way more depth to him. That is my only grumble really, though.

9. Scandal in Spring
Published: 25th July 2006

Source: Purchased

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
After spending three London seasons searching for a husband, Daisy Bowman's father has told her in no uncertain terms that she must find a husband. Now. And if Daisy can't snare an appropriate suitor, she will marry the man he chooses - the ruthless and aloof Matthew Swift.

Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, and she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone . . . anyone . . . other than Matthew. But she doesn't count on Matthew's unexpected charm . . . or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams.

But right at the moment of sweet surrender, a scandalous secret is uncovered . . . one that could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy's wildest fantasies.
The final one (apart from that Christmas book which I’ve not read) in this series is one I was nervous about. They’d all been so good and I questioned if Daisy’s book could possibly be as good. Especially as it seems to be a lower rated book in general. After all, this book follows on from three really good books.

I actually really enjoyed it despite all my doubts. Daisy was the youngest of the wallflowers and a dreamer. Far more likely to be found with her nose in a book than actually actively pursuing a future husband. It’s no surprise that her father becomes exasperated and gives her an ultimatum to either marry someone or she will be forced to marry Matthew Swift, a man who seems to go against everything Daisy hopes to find in a husband. Except, what she remembers of him is a little different to who he was when he came to England.

I think, after the drama of the first three books the calmer atmosphere of this book was appreciated. I mean, even the major drama at the end was a touch less dramatic and I liked that. What made this book great is that it was all about the competitive nature of the couple. Daisy is convinced that Matthew isn’t for her, even if he has miraculously grown hot in the time since she last saw him. He is far too rigid for her liking, but she is determined to prove him wrong and be better than him whenever possible.

Matthew, he was the one I truly loved. He had been head over heels for Daisy ever since he met her. He may not have always put things in the right way to her but he did love her. Even though he was in denial about it as he major secrets of his own. A secret I totally guessed but that’s neither here nor there.

This book was perfect really. Matthew and Daisy were great. I especially loved their competitive game of bowls. And the glimpses of the other ladies in their happily married lives. It was a great end to a great series and I have been informed I have to read the Ravenels series.

Have you read any of Lisa Kleypas’s books? And have you read any of the books in this series?
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