Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Devil in Winter, by Lisa Kleypas, is the third book in the Wallflower Series, which follows four unsuccessful debutantes and unlikely friends through a year on the marriage mart. 

Evangeline Jenner is the wallflower of wallflowers. Evie is painfully shy, and her stutter makes her an easy target for mockery.  With a sizable inheritance, Evie realizes she finally has the leverage to escape her abusive relatives through marriage.  All Evie needs is a groom as desperate as she is.

Luckily for Evie, she knows just the man.  Licking his wounds after the failed abduction of Evie’s friend, Sebastian St. Vincent is shocked when the wallflower he’s barely noticed proposes a hasty marriage of convenience.  She needs the protection Sebastian’s name affords, and he needs Evie’s money.  It’s a match made in heaven (or Gretna Green), except for the fact that they will have little to do with one another after the wedding. 

Once their marriage is consummated, Evie has no intention of allowing the notorious rake back into her bed.  It’s the only way she knows to ensure her emotions don’t become entangled with a husband who barely knows the meaning of fidelity. To his own amazement, Sebastian St. Vincent quickly realizes one night with Evie will never be enough. Unable to seduce his way back into his wife’s bed, the pair come to an agreement.  If Sebastian can be celibate for three months (and be faithful after that), Evie will be his wife in truth.  Is St. Vincent finally learning that some things- and some people- are worth sacrificing for?

If you’ve read my review of Dreaming of You, you’ll know that I only revisited Kleypas after Sarah and Jen from the Fated Mates Podcast convinced me I needed to know more about Derek Craven (the hero from Dreaming of You).  I really enjoyed that book and decided to give the Wallflower series a go, despite being unimpressed with a few other Kleypas reads.  Once again, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The entire Wallflower series is well-written and engaging.  Devil In Winter might even be my favorite of the four. My praise for this book might have something to do with the delectable Sebastian St. Vincent, who is another dearly beloved Kleypas hero. 

There’s a lot to enjoy in this book. It is a pleasure to see Evie come into herself and take charge over her own destiny. She is tender hearted, but stubborn where it counts.  Kleypas also does a great job redeeming St. Vincent, who was the villain of book two. Let’s be honest with ourselves- Who doesn’t love it when a licentious womanizer finally meets his match and discovers how much better sex can be when love is part of the equation? The sexual tension is sizzling (it’s a fairly steamy book), and for those of us who find nineteenth century medicine interesting, there’s a fair dose of that, too! My only real criticism is that the conflict with Evie’s relatives felt somewhat unresolved.  I really wanted to see those baddies get their comeuppance. Alas, my vengeful streak went unsatisfied. 

On the whole, it’s a delightful read, and I’m revising my opinion on Kleypas!

Favorite Tropes: Rake and the Virgin, Marriage of Convenience, Morality Chain

PS– If you hurry over to Amazon, you can find Devil In Winter for just $1.99 in kindle (I’m not getting a kick back for this.  It’s just a good deal, and you’re welcome)!  Like any series, the experience is richer if you read them in order, but you can also enjoy this as a stand alone. 

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