I have a confession to make… until last week, I’d never read the romance classic, Dreaming of You, by Lisa Klepas (originally published in 1994). Don’t hate me, but I’m not a huge Kleypas fan. I’ve started a couple of her books before, but never felt compelled to finish them. When the fabulous ladies of Fated Mates instituted Derek Craven Appreciation Day, and dedicated an entire podcast episode to this hero, I knew I had to give it a try.
And I’m glad I did.
Country girl and author, Sara Fielding, has made a career fictionalizing the seedier side of London society. During one of her research trips, she stumbles upon a back-alley assault. Intervening, she saves the life of Derek Craven, a self-made man who happens to own the gaming hell Sara wants to study for her next novel. Derek may be wealthy and powerful, but his impoverished childhood has left him a hardened man. Yet, there’s something compelling about Sara’s kind and curious nature… something that takes root in his soul. And Sara, devoted as she is to her family, is beginning to wonder if she wants more than her country life.
There’s a lot to love about this book. The main characters are well-developed, and the side characters add to the story, rather than distracting from it. Sara is a heroine we can all admire. She’s witty, tenacious, and not afraid of her own sexuality, despite being inexperienced. Derek is a top-notch alpha hero. He’s powerful, protective, and frankly- I’d like to have Derek Craven bossing me around. The love scenes were steamy, but not over the top. I genuinely enjoyed this read.
That being said, I wasn’t crazy about the villain of the story. Craven’s former lover is an emotionally unstable, married aristocrat, hell-bent on revenge. There were times where her plot points felt overdone. None of this spoiled the book for me though. The pages practically turned themselves, and it was good to the last word.
Is this a book that forever changed me? Not really.
Is it still a great read? Absolutely.
I heartily recommend Dreaming of You, and I guarantee you’ll be dreaming of Derek Craven with me!
Favorite Tropes: self-made hero, authoress heroine, virgin heroine, masked ball, forced marriage after a compromising
Content Warning: If you are sensitive to depictions of sexual violence, please know this book contains two rape attempts.