AUTHOR(S): Lisa Kleypas
SERIES: Ravenels #2
GENRE: Historical Romance -- Victorian England
PUBLICATION DATE: May 31, 2016
FORMAT: Mass Market Paperback
LENGTH: 416 pages
DATE READ: July 2016
READING CHALLENGES: Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge
THEMES/TROPES: Alpha Hero, Class Differences, Big Secret
RATING: 4.25 Stars
A ruthless tycoon...
Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…
A sheltered beauty...MY THOUGHTS:
Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable… the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…Marrying Mr. Winterborne.
While the first Ravenel book didn't complete grab me, the secondary plot of Helen and Rhys's courtship was one of my favorite aspects. So I got a copy of Marrying Winterborne as fast as I could and I am happy to say that this is what I expect from Lisa Kleypas's historical romances. It was not perfect, but I was engrossed in the story from page one and finished it in one day.
While Rhys Winterborne was recovering from a train accident in the first book, Helen became the only person who could sooth him and eventually found themselves betrothed. Their future of their relationship was left hanging at the end of Cold-Hearted Rake and this book opens with Helen arriving at Rhys's department store, determined to get him to see reason.
Helen is the quietest and sweetest of the Ravenel sisters. She also a stubborn streak a mile wide. I love it when authors provide heroines who are so much more than they first appear. I admired how secretly strong Helen is and that makes her the perfect woman to upend Rhys's life. Lisa Kleypas excels at self-made heroes and Rhys is another example of this talent. He is ambitious and arrogant, but also secretly insecure and very sweet around Helen. I always enjoy reading about heroes who think they have life figured out until someone special walks in and shows them what they are missing.
The romance between Helen and Rhys was surprisingly sweet and beautiful. They are great for one another and help each other grow as people. Helen learns to take chances while Rhys learns to trust others. I did feel like there were times (especially towards the end) where the love story got shafted due to the secondary plot of Helen's Big Secret which she refused to divulge until the last minute. I am not a fan of this type of conflict and felt like the romance was compelling enough without it.
The use of Winterborne's as a historical setting was another highlight. I am fascinated by how different one-stop shopping was to people of the time and what changes it brought to society. I felt like Kleypas really brought the store to life and it gave the book that something special to make it stand out even more.
Marrying Winterborne was a beautifully written story with two stubborn people who were perfect for each other. They had some obstacles to overcome to get their happy ending, but it was definitely worth it. I cannot wait for the next Ravenel book, Devil in Spring, which features the unorthodox Pandora Ravenel and...Gabriel St. Vincent, son of Sebastian and Evie from my all-time favorite Kleypas historical, Devil in Winter.
“My heart only beats as an echo of yours.”BOOKS IN THE SERIES: