Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Publisher & Release Date: Avon, October 27, 2015
Time and setting: 1875, Hampshire, England
Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian
Length: 416 pages
Heat Level: 2 Scorching Hot Flame
Rating: 4 Gold Crowns
A twist of fate . . .
Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.
A clash of wills . . .
Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:
Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?
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It has been quite some time since I have read/listened to one of Lisa Kleypas’ books. The Victorian era is not my first go-to historical romance. When I saw this one, I decided to purchase the audio version on Audible. I am glad I did.
Devon Ravenel inherits title of Earl of Trenear from his cousin. He is not thrilled and breaks the entail, intent on selling everything. He is a pleasuring-seeking rake and does not want the responsibility of the earldom and the crushing debt that comes along with it.
Lady Kathleen Trenear, widow to the previous earl, is in deep mourning although she was only married three days when her husband died while riding. She must protect her late husband’s three sisters from the heartless rake, no matter the cost.
Can Kathleen convince Devon to keep the estate and accept the responsibility of his three nieces without giving away her virtue and heart? Will Devon change his mind and step into the role of earl, while avoiding the temptation of the lovely widow?
Cold-Hearted Rake is an emotionally-charged read from start to finish. Kathleen and Devon are like water and oil. They do not mix. At first, they hate each other vehemently to the point that at times, it was very annoying, but then one of the characters would do or say something to pull me back.
Kathleen’s character is fearlessly loyal and determined to do right by her three sister-in-laws and is willing to go toe to toe with Devon. I loved her devotion. She feels a lot of guilt over her husband’s death, blaming herself. I could feel her emotions as she tried to deal with the grief because she had a huge argument with him right before he died. Her pain brought tears to my eyes.
Devon is not an easy character to love in the beginning because he truly is a cold-hearted bastard to Kathleen and is ruthless in his determination to get rid of the burden associated with the title. Being the rake he is, he sets out to seduce Kathleen. However, his heroism during a pivotal scene, which is so well-written it stole my breath, turned the tide.
By the end of the book, I truly wanted Kathleen and Devon to find their “happily ever after.” Even though there is a huge amount of angst between the couple, the sexual tension sizzles on every page. While I do not like the extreme amount of conflict between the pair, it did ultimately work for them and the book.
The narration by Mary Jane Wells is astonishingly good. She reads with a great deal of emotion and does an outstanding job giving each character their own voice, especially the male characters. Her performance kept me engaged, even when I wanted to shake Kathleen and Devon. I will be looking for more books narrated by her.
I am glad I decided to read/listen to Cold-Hearted Rake. The book is totally worth the time and effort of dealing with the antagonism between Kathleen and Devon. The secondary characters are endearing, especially Helen and West. If you enjoy a heart-wrenching story that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride, then you will love Cold-Hearted Rake. Happy reading!