Rating: 4.5 stars
I should put a spoiler here. Although I am going to try my best not to give away any plot points, I don't want to chance that something I say might ruin it for anyone, so if you haven't read the book yet (and you should if you haven't), then you might not want to go any further.
Let me start off by saying, Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite authors. She's one of the ones I turn to when my brain gets stuck and I need to refuel the muse. And the hero in It Happened One Autumn is one of my favorites of all time. Marcus, Lord Westcliff is awesome. A man's man. A woman's man. Sadly, not my man, but perhaps if we can finally figure out this cloning thing...
Anyway, I digress. The book--Book 2 in the Wallflower series--was fabulous. It put two head strong characters together--one the freedom loving hellion Lillian, and the other, Lord Westcliff, known for his stodgy, moralistic manner, not to mention his prowess in all things...uh...physical. These two started butting heads in Book 1 so watching the fireworks spark between them in their own adventures was a lot of fun. Lisa Kleypas managed to fill the book with humor and depth, creating characters that stay with you long after you've finished reading and who you'll be happy to revisit in Books 3 and 4.
I rated this book 4.5 stars out of 5. Why the missing 0.5 star? Well there was one little glitch that held me up. (Okay this is where the spoiler may come in, so for those of you who don't want to be tipped off to anything look away now...look away I said! Okay, don't say I didn't warn you...)
It had to do with the character St. Vincent, Westcliff's friend since childhood. You see, she described him as a rake of the worst kind, a seducer who cares little about anyone or anything. But she gave hints through the book that there was much depth behind this uncaring façade, a depth that Lillian saw hints of and the reader as well. You know the guy is damaged, you know there's a whole book in itself just waiting to happen (which it does, Devil in Winter - out now and sitting at the top of my TBR pile).
But then he does something, and while this something is heinous, you can explain it away with the desperation he is faced with, so while I'm not happy about the sudden turn of events, I can live with it. But then he threatens to do something to Lillian (sorry I know I'm being vague but I don't want to ruin it for anyone), and that something is so out of the character, so personal, that it stopped me cold. I felt betrayed, not by the character but by the writing. There was no explanation given for the sudden turn in that direction. I just could not reconcile him doing that to Lillian or to Westcliff, regardless of any petty jealousy or desperation he may have felt. Even though we knew the dire straits that led to the decision, there were actions and threats that made it seem less about desperation and more just because he was an evil guy. Which in truth he isn't. Damaged yes, hopeless, perhaps. But not the level of evil required, I think, to do what he planned in the way that he planned.
So that's where the missing half-star comes in. And in truth, it in no way hinders the overall enjoyment of the book, and I have every confidence that Lisa Kleypas will work it all out to my utter satisfaction in Devil in Winter.
But first I am going to read The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh. That one has been tempting me every time I walk past my TBR pile in my bedroom. And this way, I can draw out the Wallflower series a little longer, the final installment, Scandal in Spring, isn't out until July.