On Apologies, Forgiveness and West Ravenel

I listened to Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas recently and I loved it so much I decided to read the book as well. If anyone has been following my Twitter feed at all, it won’t be a surprise that I have fallen hard for West Ravenel, the hero of Devil’s Daughter. I’m not alone. Janine from Dear Author is similarly obsessed – I believe she’s re-read the book three times now. Her review of the book is here and my review of the audiobook is at AudioGals here. Janine and I also had an epic email thread going where we gushed and squeed and reveled in the West Ravenel goodness so it’s clearly a book which has captured our imaginations.

Gold toned cover with a picture of a beautiful red-haired woman in a creamy-gold ball gown evening dress trimmed with peach coloured flowers

As much as I enjoyed the audiobook, reading the print/digital version is a different experience again. Things I’d forgotten or somehow glossed over come into sharper focus in print for me. Whereas on audio I feel better able to understand certain subtext (I believe this is because the narrator does some of that interpretation for me and thank god for it I say – it’s not something I’m really good at. Or, maybe hearing the words produces a more instinctive emotional response than seeing the words? Or if not more instinctive, different? Who knows?). In any event, the other night when I was reading, a particular line stood out to me and it was kind of a revelation.

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

Back view of a red-haired woman in an ice-blue off-the-shoulder evening gown looking out a window.Why I read it:  I had just listened to Devil’s Daughter and I wanted to understand what all the fuss was about.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  “I’m Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. I can’t be celibate. Everyone knows that.”

Desperate to escape her scheming relatives, Evangeline Jenner has sought the help of the most infamous scoundrel in London.

A marriage of convenience is the only solution.

No one would have ever paired the shy, stammering wallflower with the sinfully handsome viscount. It quickly becomes clear, however, that Evie is a woman of hidden strength—and Sebastian desires her more than any woman he’s ever known.

Determined to win her husband’s elusive heart, Evie dares to strike a bargain with the devil: If Sebastian can stay celibate for three months, she will allow him into her bed.

When Evie is threatened by a vengeful enemy from the past, Sebastian vows to do whatever it takes to protect his wife… even at the expense of his own life.

Together they will defy their perilous fate, for the sake of all-consuming love.

What worked for me (and what didn’t): When I listened to Devil in Spring last year I had no idea who Sebastian Challon was. I gathered he was one of the author’s most popular heroes however and that he was a reformed rake. I like reformed rakes well enough but usually their behaviour (at least in romance) extends to heavy drinking, womanising and gambling. So I kind of expected Sebastian would be like that. I decided to see for myself. I started off with It Happened One Autumn because Sebastian’s behaviour in the latter part of the book is the big issue and I needed to understand it before I could go ahead and read Devil in Winter. (As it happened I read It Happened One Autumn last year but got distracted by the shiny and have only just gotten around to reading Devil in Winter.)

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