Published by Avon on February 21st 2017
“You do not want to marry me, my lord. I would be the worst wife imaginable. I’m forgetful and stubborn, and I can never sit still for more than five minutes. I’m always doing things I shouldn’t. I eavesdrop on other people, I should and run in public, and I’m a clumsy dancer. And I’ve lowered my character with a great deal of unwholesome reading material.” Pausing to draw breath, she notice that Lord St. Vincent didn’t appear properly impressed by her list of faults. “Also, my legs are skinny. Like a stork’s.”
FINAL DECISION: So rarely does a highly anticipated sequel live up to expectations. While not as good as DEVIL IN WINTER, this book is a worthy successor. Will take a place on my favorites’ shelf.
THE STORY: Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent has accidentally compromised an unusual young lady, Lady Pandora Ravenel. Neither, however, wants to marry — Gabriel because he sees that Pandora is completely unsuitable to be the type of dignified wife he needs; Pandora because she has no intention of allowing any man to control her fate and life. Gabriel is fascinated with Pandora and finds himself drawn to her. Pandora finds in Gabriel a man who listens to her and respects her opinions, but the risk of becoming essentially his to control is something she doesn’t want to risk even as she falls for him.
“No matter how she had tried to make herself want what she should want, she knew she would never be happy in a conventional life.”
Pandora is an amazing creation. She is neurotic, opinionated, intelligent, oh so clever and yet sweet in a unique way. I loved just about everything about her. She is a different kind of wallflower. A woman who is so brilliant that she has difficulties with the social niceties that society demands. Always the odd person in the group, she has managed to forge a future for herself as a game designer. (I absolutely loved her devotion to her budding career). Everything about her character felt fresh and new and oh so lovely, especially for all of us who feel out of step with what people expect from us.
Gabriel is a hero who is so different from his father and yet has the best qualities of both his parents. He manages to be so incredibly caring and supportive of Pandora. She is a special person and Gabriel knows exactly how to care for her. He is kind and so so dreamy. Sexy and definitely a man in charge, he also has the gentleness of his mother and the benefit of having grown up in a loving family. He is a man who doesn’t need to be reformed to be a wonderful man — he just is.
“Your problem,” his sister continued, “is that you’re too good at maintaining that facade of godlike perfection. You’ve always hated for anyone to see that you’re a mere mortal. But you won’t win this girl that way.” She began to dust the sand from her hands. “Show her a few of your redeeming vices, dear. She’ll like you all the better for it.”
I rarely love a book as much as I loved this one primarily because Gabriel was such a warm loving man and he made it his mission to balance out all the jagged edges of Pandora’s life. His giving nature and willingness to put his own needs and desires aside to help fulfill Pandora was so wonderful to read about. He finds Pandora incredibly charming and she brings something to him that makes him want to protect her. And yet, he cannot crush her by forcing her to conform and be “safe”.
“It was insane to let a creature so perfectly beautiful and artlessly spirited and vulnerable as his wife venture out into the world that could crush her with casual unconcern, and he had no choice to but allow it. For the rest of his life, he would feel a stab of dread every time she walked out the door, leaving him there with his heart wide open.”
I loved this book and if I liked it a smidgen less than the book on Gabriel’s parents it is only because the timeless trope of that book — wallflower and rake — is probably my favorite. But this one is original and fresh and very wonderful.
“Their marriage would be a partnership, just like their waltzing…not perfect, not always graceful, but they would find their way together.”
Just incredibly lovely!
WORTH MENTIONING: I would buy this book for the Prologue alone where Evangeline and Sebastian from DEVIL IN WINTER are most prominent. One of my all time favorite books and the prologue shows why.
CONNECTED BOOKS: DEVIL IN SPRING is the third book in the Ravenels series. This book is much better if read as part of the series, but a new reader should also include DEVIL IN WINTER which is from Kleypas’s Wallflowers series. This book is a direct sequel from that book as it tells the story of the son of the DEVIL IN WINTER couple (who make appearances of their own).
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.