Genre: Historical Romance
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Let me begin by pointing out that the hero of this novel is none other than Gabriel Lord St. Vincent, son of a previous hero from a Lisa Kleypas novel, Sebastian, Lord St.Vincent. I nearly swooned when I discovered this some months ago. After all, Sebastian is the very definition of le sigh. Suave, intelligent, charming, handsome--well, if you want my full thoughts on this character, see my full review for the novel Devil in Winter. This review is about Gabriel and Pandora, and I couldn't wait to meet Gabriel.
I think I'll start with sharing my thoughts about Pandora however. I love her! She is so quirky, so independent and so utterly herself that she is very hard not to love. She defies convention so much, and yet she is not a character others shun and she's not seen as radical. I liked that she wanted to live a life where she was a person instead being essentially dead in the state of marriage. It made perfect sense. To be so defined by a man is intolerable and yet, I knew that Pandora loved Gabriel too much not to marry him. After all, he's Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, every bit as handsome as his father, and every bit as tender. And he was perfect for her because he knew how to love her without trying to change her.
I can't say I love Gabriel just as much as Sebastian. Because he's different, very different. Sebastian was more sardonic, and he was a rake and far more vulnerable than Gabriel. Gabriel is swept off his feet by Pandora, very much against his will, but he doesn't try to fight it at all, he spends a great deal of time courting and seducing Pandora. There is something of his father in him there, wink wink. He is also incredibly passionate and loves Pandora with every fiber of his being. But he is not at odds with himself in the ways that Sebastian was, and in this way, he made for a very different character, lacking Sebastian's irony that I loved so much. It was Gabriel's passion that adored and the easy, sweet way that he accepts and loves Pandora despite the fact that the rest of the world sees her as peculiar. True acceptance is hard to find, and I adored that quality in Gabriel.
There is something about this series that is different from others by this author, and I love it. It's likely a more honest representation of the society and world of the times it is set in, and I appreciate that Lisa KIeypas doesn't gloss over the unpleasant realities of it, or the injustices--such as being considered legally dead once a woman marries. What a horrible law, what a horrid way to view living persons! I like that this novel and series is highly romantic while maintaining these realisms. Hat off as always to this gifted author for penning a novel that is rich in romance, filled with wonderful characters, tender and moving scenes and honest about society and human nature. I loved every word I read.