Where Dreams Begin, by Lisa Kleypas

>> Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I did some rereading this weekend. One of the books was Where Dreams Begin , by Lisa Kleypas

Zachary Bronson has built an empire of wealth and power -- now he needs a wife to help secure his position in society...and warm his bed in private. But not just any woman will do for a man whom all of London knows is not a gentleman. Then he unexpectedly swept Lady Holly Taylor into his arms for an unasked for -- but very alluring -- kiss, and suddenly he knew he had found a woman whose fierce passions matched his own.

Lady Holly Taylor was beautiful, generous, and, as a widow, destined to spend her life playing by society's rules, even when they went against her bolder instincts. But Zachary's kiss had aroused her, and though the shocking offer he made didn't include marriage, she was compelled to risk everything and follow him to the place where dreams begin.
This one was a B. This was a very emotional, angsty story, but one with an imperfect ending, which lowered the grade somewhat.

I liked the conflict in this one. First husbands in romance novels are either first-class bastards of nonentities who the heroine didn't love, but here, Holly's first marriage was very good. She truly did love her husband, and mourned him when he died. We, of course, know that she's better off with someone like Zachary, but she probably would have been content with George. Her reluctance to love someone again was realistic, and made for some really heart-wrenching scenes.

I didn't much like Holly at first. She was a bit too much of a prude and I don't find following rules for rules' sake particularly admirable. But then she started rebelling a bit, in her own way, not completely leaving every stricture behind, but starting to indulge the part in her that told her that she hadn't died with her husband and that she needed to live and be free. And that's when I started to like her better!

I liked that the people who disapproved of her relationship with Zachary weren't presented as evil. George's family was just trying to protect her, and their desire to do so stemmed only from their not understanding her fully. There are no villains here, just people who don't understand that what they think is best for others might be mistaken, and Holly's main conflict is internal.

Zachary was a great character, and one I admired. He did sound a bit exhausting and larger than life, but there were all those instants of vulnerabilities that made him more human.

BTW, I was a bit uncomfortable with the fact that he slept with other women when Holly was already living in his house. I know, there was nothing between them yet, so it wasn't technicaly infidelity, but I didn't like it. He was a bit too much of a slut for me.

The book would have been an A- - B+, but the problem is that it flagged near the end. The last 60 pages or so were like an extended epilogue. Part of it was necessary to show Holly choosing Zachary over George, yes, but there was no urgency in it, and it was too drawn out, a lot of it just showing how Holly and Zachary's life was after they got married. It felt a bit like the ending of another Kleypas, Someone To Watch Over Me, in that way, and it's just not good storytelling. I lost interest in what was going on.

Other than that, beautiful book.

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