Wallflowers #3

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

The following review contains spoilers (from It Happened One Autumn).

As I expected, this one turned out better than the last two, though still not as much as I would have liked. It started out really nice. The way St. Vincent took care of Evie on their way to Gretna Green was adorable. The later events were not so appealing, but I’ll come to that later. First, the characters…

Evie is a quiet, loving girl who’s had to suffer her relatives’ cruel designs since she was born. Years and years of repression, disdain and severe punishments have turned her into a shy, stammering wallflower. The only way out of the of her relatives’ clutches is eloping. And she is willing to do so with a man who, by all accounts, has no heart. It is really sad to see the extent of her desperation to get away from her cruel family. But she is determined, not to mention strong. Her relatives didn’t succeed in breaking her spirit (but their effort manifested itself in the form of her stammer). She tells the the other flowers at some point in It Happened One Autumn that she knows she’s not responsible from her mother’s death (her mother died while giving birth to her) although her aunt tells her otherwise. So if she has managed to preserve her essence all these years, she believes that she will be able to continue to do so as the wife of St. Vincent, who makes it clear to her from the beginning that he’s only agreeing to her proposal for the money.

I like Evie. She’s my type of heroine. Shy but courageous, loving and kind but ill-treated. Her stammer and the way she indignantly says “I don’t like that word” every time St. Vincent curses is adorable. And she is a redhead! OMG, freckles! How can I resist that? However, the fact that I like her puts all the more pressure on her character to outdo herself in the story, but, unfortunately, she doesn’t. I can’t quite put my finger on it but she doesn’t act the way I would deem appropriate to her character. But the intent is appreciated nonetheless.

As for St. Vincent…

“If your concern is that I may be overcome with manly ardor and ravish you in a moment of weakness… I may. If you ask nicely.”

Haha! Yeah, I know, he’s fun to read about with all his wicked and witty remarks (reading the quotes page on Goodreads has helped refresh my memory). In this respect, he’s like Leo (Lord Ramsay) from the Hathaway series. But I’m afraid, St. Vincent doesn’t have as much of an excuse as Leo does to act like the jerk that he is. Yes, he is a tortured soul, I get it, but there is a golden rule: Guys don’t betray their buddies. Period. And St. Vincent does exactly the opposite in the most despicable manner by kidnapping Lillian, Lord Westcliff’s fiancé.

Now, about the rest of the book… The ending held too many moral conundrums for me to digest, so I’ll just skip that. Cam Rohan was a welcome sight, although I’m not such a great fan of him from the Hathaway series. And again, the love scenes were kind of dull. However, for some inexplicable reason, Devil in Winter has a very high ranking in lists in Goodreads. For example, it’s voted the highest among Lisa Kleypas’ books. It is definitely better than the first two Wallflowers and it’s classic Lisa Kleypas goodness. But compared to any of the Hathaways, I don’t think it’s very deserving.

Sensuality rating: Hot (according to All About Romance)

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