Saturday, December 28, 2013

#68 (2013/CBR5) "Suddenly You" by Lisa Kleypas

I picked up Suddenly You (2001) by Lisa Kleypas because I was still craving some romance after finishing Julie Anne Long's I Kissed an Earl. It's not that I disliked I Kissed an Earl, but I kept waiting for a comforting kind of intimacy that I never found. Apparently I have very specific needs for my romance. Thus, with my romance craving unfulfilled, I tried another one.

Suddenly You is the story of Amanda Briars, a 30-year-old, self-described spinster and famous novelist. She spent most of her twenties taking care of her ailing parents and moved to London after they died. Her fated love is Jack Devlin, a bastard child from a noble father. After his mother's death, Jack was sent to a notoriously abusive boarding school to keep him out of the way. Jack Devlin is the typical bad boy, damaged from his past and unwilling to love. Amanda has built up walls as defense to her self-perceived stodgy spinsterness.

Meet cute: Amanda orders a male prostitute from a famous local Madame for her thirtieth birthday because she is determined to lose her virginity. At the appointed time, Jack Devlin appears at her door and hijinks ensue. They hook up, but Jack shows some minimal restraint because going all the way would be wrong with Amanda ignorant of his true identity. When she spies him later at a party of a mutual acquaintance she is embarrassed and angry, but he coerces her into working with him and they slowly build a relationship.

This one was well written and interesting throughout. The love scenes were especially steamy and detailed. I didn't really mind, but I was surprised by the almost pornographic nature of it. On the whole, it was pretty good, but like I Kissed an Earl, it didn't really grab me. It's not one that's going to stick with me.

I've figured out that my favorite romances involve some kind of action or adventure. I like the hero to be really good at something that somehow helps their situation, and I like the hero and heroine to work together against whatever outside force is working against them. I don't like it when the characters are fighting each other unless the author is really good with funny, witty dialogue. This was something of a problem with Suddenly You. Amanda is often mad at Devlin and Devlin is often pushing Amanda.

Kleypas throws an alternative love interest to mix things up a bit. I can't recall his name, but he is the perfect man: a widow who loved his wife, kind, tolerant, understanding, honest, trustworthy, and a writer as well. The only problem is that Amanda is not attracted to him. This may be one of the only romances I've read where part of me wanted Amanda to end up with her alternative. SPOILERS. Amanda feels safe telling this guy everything that's going on with her and he doesn't judge her for it. Devlin has had such a horrible history that he doesn't know how to love. In reality, that's not the kind of thing that will change overnight. Also, Amanda is afraid to tell Devlin that she's pregnant and doesn't even admit to it until he bullies her. That doesn't seem like a basis for a good relationship. It's possible the physical attraction for her alternative would grow if she just gave it some time. Oh, I also got tired of Amanda continually talking about how ugly she was. Her insecurities were relatable, but so obviously untrue that they became irritating.

I thought Amanda treated both Devlin and her alternative lover pretty badly. She dismisses Devlin without even thinking that she could have hurt him, and then she immediately jumps to the other guy who is willing to do anything for her. After waiting until her alternative is completely besotted, she dumps him to go back to Devlin. Now Devlin, of course, turns into the perfect husband and Amanda, obviously, makes the right decision. It just didn't always feel that way while I was reading.

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