Devil in Spring
by Lisa Kleypas
#3 The Ravenels
Audio narrated by Mary Jane Wells (Excellent)
1870s – London
Superb example of an historical romance and a really fun read! Chock full of humorous banter, characters you’ll absolutely adore, and a romance between two likable characters that is heartwarming from the first time they meet.
Lady Pandora Ravenel has always been a precocious girl who does things her own way. After being orphaned by her neglectful parents, she was cared for by a loving older sister who tried to smooth her rough edges but didn’t want to dampen her spirit. She’s considered a bit wild or odd because she does things her own way and is often impetuous.
She has a habit of combining the meaning of two words that fit a situation and making up a new word (this is fun to see in usage). This habit, and her penchant for speaking quickly and always two steps ahead of everyone around her, reminds me of Lorelei Gilmore (for you Gilmore Girls fans who will get it). Her mind is always going a mile a minute and she is incredibly smart and imaginative. She is easily distracted, has no patience for things or people who bore her, and is often clumsy (the reason why is explained in the book) which makes her seem a bit addlepated.
She is in the process of marketing a string of board games (a new and unique concept in England) she has designed and will be selling in her brother-in-law’s department store (Rhys Winterborne from the previous book in this series). She plans on being a successful businesswoman. As a single woman, she can be in control of her own company, make business decisions and sign contracts, etc. If she were married, all that control and the ownership of the business would legally go to her husband. For this reason, she knows she will never want to marry.
After Lord St. Vincent (Gabriel) hears her curses and gallantly helps Pandora get her head unstuck from a settee (a true I Love Lucy moment), an embarrassing predicament for Pandora turns into what looks like something indecent when they are caught together looking disheveled and alone during a party. Because Pandora has now been “compromised,” Gabriel is pressured to do the honorable thing and marry her.
Gabriel proves himself and his genuine concern for her in many ways and is pretty much a perfect romantic hero. Pandora’s charming personality immediately wins him over, but it takes her a bit longer to trust him not to dash her dreams for her future. While she’s stealing his heart, she’s also charming his big brute of a bodyguard, Drago (nicknamed Dragon). He doesn’t stand a chance as she immediately wraps him around her little finger as well. That was another cute secondary storyline.
Although there was some last-minute drama that didn’t seem entirely necessary to the story and the resolution was too pat, this book was completely enjoyable and will go on my list as a favorite.
On a side note, this is an interesting article about the progressive woman Pandora’s character was loosely based on, Elizabeth Magie Phillips, who invented “The Landlord’s Game,” a teaching game designed as a protest against the big monopolists of her time–people like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. Patented over 30 years before the idea was used by Charles Darrow and Parker Bros. and developed into the well-known “Monopoly”. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/business/behind-monopoly-an-inventor-who-didnt-pass-go.html?_r=0
Devil in Spring, #3 The Ravenels