Review: I Will

Review: I WillI Will: A Christmas Novella by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Capital Theatre #2.5
Published by Avon Impulse on December 13th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 144

“She was pure. He was tarnished. She was honest. He tailored the truth to fit his own purposes. She was self-disciplined. He had never restrained himself in any regard. She was calm and serene. He had never known a moment’s peace in his life. Andrew envied her, and so he had mocked her mercilessly on the few previous occasions when they had met.

“Now Caroline hated him, and he had come to ask for a favor — a favor he desperately needed.”

FINAL DECISION:  Enjoyable followup to BECAUSE YOU’RE MINE about the younger disreputable brother.  A reformed rake story, this is sweet but a little rushed as a novella.

THE STORY: Andrew, Lord Drake, dissolute rake, has been disinherited by his dying father.  In order to regain his inheritance, Andrew devises a plan to court a thoroughly respectable woman in order to demonstrate to his father that he is reforming his life.  The only woman he can imagine helping him is his friend’s older sister, the proper Miss Caroline Hargreaves.

OPINION:  This was a very enjoyable read, but I think it is better as an add on to the previous book in the series. To truly understand Andrew’s journey, I felt I needed to know what he was like in the previous book.

I did like the relationship between Andrew and Caroline (although I wish we had seen more of their developing relationship which occurs mostly offstage).  There is a long distance for Andrew to travel to be a good man.  This novella has some quite funny moments, including Caroline’s Christmas wish which might be one of my favorite moments I’ve read in a while.  Funny and a sense of justice.

I’m glad that Andrew got his redemption and it is even better that it is as a result of his own attempts at outsmarting his father.  Instead he managed to get his own comeuppance.  This book had a little flavor of DEVIL IN WINTER (a superlative book).  This novella doesn’t reach the heights of that book, but the rake who finds his schemes with an innocent woman resulting in him wanting to turn his own life around to be worthy of her is very similar here.

I enjoyed this story especially for readers who enjoyed BECAUSE YOU’RE MINE.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This novella was previously published in the anthology WISH LIST.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  I WILL is book 2.5 of the Capital Theatre series.  It can be read as a standalone, but is better after reading book two of the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this novella 3.5 stars.


Review: Because You’re Mine

Review: Because You’re MineBecause You're Mine (Capital Theatre, #2) by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Capital Theatre #2
Published by HarperCollins on February 8th 2005
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384

FINAL DECISION:  The strength of this story is the compelling Logan Scott — a self made man with deep conflicts and desires.  The sweet but strong Madeline is a match for him. I loved their story.

THE STORY:  Lady Madeline Matthews is on the verge of being married off to a lecherous old peer by her father. Determined to avoid that fate, Madeline runs away to London intending to meet with the famous actor Logan Scott and become his lover. In that way, Madeline intends to make herself marriageable and thwart her parents ambitions.

OPINION:  Kleypas has a wonderful way in depicting men who are self-made.  While Logan Scott isn’t up the standards of the marvelous Derek Craven, I found Logan a compelling character.  I was fascinated by his rise from a farmer’s son to the most celebrated actor and theatre owner in London.  Such a journey has taken ambition, talent drive, discipline, determination, dedication, desire and will.  Logan’s hard focused exterior hides a man who has been deeply hurt in his life. Abused by his parents, betrayed by the woman he loved, Logan has opened himself up only on stage in his characters.

Things begin to change, however, when he meets the sweet and innocent Madeline who appears honest and open with nothing to hide.  But, of course, Madeline has much to hide. As she begins to discover the real Logan, she feels guilty about her deception. Madeline is a bright and generous woman who faced her own emotional abuse at the hands of her parents who are cold and do not understand their lively daughter.

This book is divided into two parts which makes a nice narrative break because there are truly two relationships between Madeline and Logan — before and after the revelation of Madeline’s secrets.  I loved how each of the parts worked as its own story and yet they are part of a whole journey for these characters.

Some books just hit the right spot and for me I loved the setting of the story (regency theatre), the character of Logan (and this book is really his story) — a good, forward thinking, damaged, self-made, brilliant man — and the love story between Madeline and Logan which is filled with sweetness, angst and drama.  When you fall in love with the hero, it is often easy to really like the book.

WORTH MENTIONING:  For readers of the first book in the series SOMEWHERE I’LL FIND YOU, there is a nice update on the couple.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  BECAUSE YOU’RE MINE is the second book in the Capital Theatre series.  Although there are overlapping characters, this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.


Review: Somewhere I’ll Find You

Review: Somewhere I’ll Find YouSomewhere I'll Find You (Capital Theatre, #1) by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Capital Theatre #1
Published by Avon on October 1st 1996
Genres: Historical
Pages: 377

FINAL DECISION: A different type of story about child marriages, a marchioness turned actress and two people who have to learn to compromise.  Don’t read this if you are going to nitpick the story.

THE STORY:  Julia is an actress who has finally gotten a position in a respectable theater.  She is living her dream of independence. Her heart stays her own, and she has a big secret. Damon, Marquess of Savage is searching for the bride his father married him to as a child.  The heiress has fled her family. Damon is shocked to find out that the woman he has been married to for years is none other than the actress he wanted for his mistress.

OPINION: I really enjoyed this book.  Is it unrealistic? perhaps, but if you regularly read my reviews you should know that I will forgive a lot of historical inaccuracies, plot holes, grammatical errors, etc for a good story with characters that I fall in love with.  Does it seem reasonable that a aristocratic woman would abandon her family, become an actress and eventually become a duchess.  Maybe not, but this is one great story anyway.

Julia is a woman who wants to make her own independent decisions. If she was born in modern times, she would fit right in, but in her times, she is disinherited by her father and on the run from her “husband”. Is she too obsessed with her independence? Perhaps it seems so to our modern sensibilities, but in her time, when men owned their wives, is it unreasonable to be worried about losing your independence when your husband could control everything that you could do? Or when your father could marry you off when you are a little child.  I loved how Kleypas brings the opposing forces of Julia and Damon each wanting control. After both were stripped of control by their parents each wants to be in total control of their lives.

Damon has made himself into a completely responsible predictable gentleman because his father was irresponsible — resulting in Damon being offered in marriage to Julia (when both were small children) in order to save the family coffers.  The lesson Damon learned from that was that he needed to control his circumstances.  He struggles with Julia who will not submit to his control. Even worse, he ultimately realizes that she would not be the Julia he falls in love with if she did.

The story of how Julia and Damon navigate their desire for control and their trust issues was what kept me turning pages. The characters sparkled off the pages, their pain and struggle and intense attraction to one another kept me interested until the very end.

The secondary characters also were full of life. The best story is one where I could imagine all the relationships and intrigues involved and this one does a great job at that.

I only took of a star because I have read better books by Kleypas, so I know that she has pushed these boundaries even further with even better characters.  I can’t wait for the next book about Logan Scott.  He’s got some story.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I loved the epilogue which was necessary for this book to show how these two adapted to one another and continued to evolve their relationship.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SOMEWHERE I’LL FIND YOU is the first book in the Capital Theatre series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.