Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blue-Eyed Devil, by Lisa Kleypas


Well, well, what do you know? Lisa Kleypas can write contemporary romance, but it takes her two tries to get it right.

Blue-Eyed Devil is actually the sequel to Sugar Daddy, the author's earlier attempt at contemporary romance.  I have to say that that particular novel left me cold. The writing reminded me of another very prolific contemporary author (Danielle Steele to be specific) whose work I, quite frankly, do not enjoy.  However, as a set-up to this far superior attempt, Sugar Daddy does serve its purpose.

After being introduced to Hardy Cates, the blue-eyed devil of the title,  in Sugar Daddy, his story continues in this novel.  While attending the wedding (uninvited, I might add) of his childhood love Liberty and her new husband, Gage Travis of the Houston Travises (a wealthy and influential Houstonian family) he meets and  seduces the sister of the groom, Haven Travis, in the family wine cellar.  Haven is practically engaged to another man, and when she refuses to leave the party with Hardy and returns to Nick, the two do not see each other for another two years.

Unfortunately for Haven , those two years with her now husband Nick are filled with physical and emotional abuse.  When the abuse finally escalates to the point where Haven has to run away to save her own life and returns to the protection of her family, her path and Hardy's intersect once again.

Ms. Kleypas fills this book with present day situations that may well have occurred in Regency England but they were definitely  not talked about, nor were they  analyzed in any depth like they are in this novel. We are actually privy to the therapy sessions Haven undergoes in order to rebuild what her husband has destroyed. It's a fascinating peek into a prevalent problem in today's society.  And while this is a fictional romance,  a feel-good story so to speak,  it does take awhile to get to the point where not only does Haven trust Hardy, but the reader trusts him as well.  Haven's ex-husband has done such a number on her, that we, as readers, cannot trust her judgment either, even though we yearn to love Hardy like she does. Now that's a novel twist for a romance.  But love him we finally do. He's irresistible and just what Haven needs to heal all of her wounds from her marriage, both emotional and sexual. And in case you were wondering, Ms. Kleypas stays true to character and gives us plenty of that.

Once again, excellent writing by Lisa Kleypas. I would skip Sugar Daddy and go right to this one and then backtrack if you are curious. The book, written in the first person and narrated through Haven's voice, gives enough of a background that there is no need to read these books in order. I am a fan, and I continue to be one. With the Travis clan, the author has left room for many more potential stories for her readers to enjoy. I hope she continues in the present tense.

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