It Happened One Autumn, by Lisa Kleypas

>> Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It Happened One Autumn is the second in Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower series, after Secrets of a Summer Night.

Four young ladies enter London society with one necessary goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So they band together, and a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.

It Happened at the Ball...

Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.

It Happened in the Garden…

When Marcus shockingly -- and dangerously–swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed…thank goodness they weren't caught very nearly in the act!

It Happened One Autumn...

Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly unsuitable…as his bride?
Oh, yes, as I was hoping after reading the first book in the series, Lisa Kleypas is back! IHOA continues in the direction SOASN seemed to be taking, and is one lovely book. A B.

The best thing about this book was seeing the straight-laced, apparently cold-blooded, low-sexed Marcus go wild for Lillian. I loved seeing him change from a guy who thinks once a week is enough, or it will interfere too much with work, to a sex-crazed maniac, who can't keep his hands to himself whenever he gets a whiff of Lillian. And good for Simon for driving the point home later, LOL!

Marcus was just a sweetie of a hero. I loved the way he reacted to a pretty hellish past, with a real prince of a father, not by becoming as much of a bastard as his father was, but by becoming much kinder and gentler (if quite arrogant) man, someone his father wouldn't have approved of at all.

Some of his scenes were among the most romantic I've read lately. I especially appreciated the way he opened up and told Lillian why he needed her so much. I also loved how he didn't try to change her into the perfect, bland aristocrat, but rather appreciated exactly those characteristics that supposedly made her so inappropriate for him and which made her Lillian.

Oh, and I liked that the perfume thing became a non-issue. It would have been very tedious if things had degenerated into either "oh, no, I've been betrayed, you used an aphrodisiac" or "can't accept you, you only want me because of the perfume". As it is, this was a wonderfully charming book, even if I did like SOASN a bit more, and had trouble with the ending.

About that ending: I think the only thing I liked about it was seeing Marcus go even wilder when he realized what had happened, and especially the way he confronted his mother after it. Other than that, I didn't think what was actually happening was particularly plausible. My main problem was with the motivations of the "villain" in helping the countess with her plot. I'm afraid that, while those actions were perfectly in character for the countess, I didn't think it made any sense for that other person to do what he did.

What he risked to lose with his actions was huge, while what he won, it was pretty obvious that he could have got in other simpler and less dangerous ways. Of course, it's very possible that we don't know everything that was going on on that person's side. Maybe there were other reasons other than those that were stated, and they are going to be revealed in the next book. Thing is, for the purposes of this book, this person's actions were poorly motivated.

And then, very related to this, there are those last two pages, the very bald setup of the next book. It's a small thing, and easy to ignore, but I really don't appreciate it when an author seems to be trying to manipulate me like that to buy her next book! It was especially silly, because there's the excerpt from the following book in the next couple of pages, and that's where this should have gone. And really, it was pointless, at least in my case. I didn't need any added impetus to make me buy The Devil in Winter!

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