4.5 “The Lady Behind the Earl” Stars and 5+ Stars for the narration!
She’s back!! It’s been years since I’ve read a Lisa Kleypas historical romance, but I remember at one time absolutely loving her writing. Well, I’m happy to report that Ms. Kleypas is back and Cold-Hearted Rake is one of her best romances yet!
Moreover, Mary Jane Wells’ divine narration (a top-favorite) makes this a must-listen title for the HR enthusiast! This was my first listen by Ms. Wells’, and I will now be looking for more to add to my queue. She had such a beautiful voice, and I thoroughly enjoyed how she had unique, personality specific voices for each and everyone of the characters. Moreover, her attention to the mood of the scene and enactment of emotion was magnificent!
I thought Ms. Kleypas handled the romance between the young widow (who was only married 3 days), and the cousin who assumes her deceased husband’s earldom, with delicate taste and with just the right touch of chemistry driven, inevitability even while she fully developed the other bonds that drove this story. The constant banter and headstrong nature of both of these characters, worked well to heighten the emotion filled nature between this equally matched couple.
Not only is the romance superb, but I loved the careful attention that Ms. Kleypas paid to describing the land owning, feudal system. I felt like even as the hero was becoming familiar with the deep responsibilities of being an earl, and how his attention to his position impacted hundreds of others, so did I begin to see how the system worked. Moreover, I loved that it was the feisty heroine in this story who challenged the hero to pay due attention to the vast responsibility that came along with his unexpected inheritance of the earldom.
There was also a ripe plenitude of the secondary characters that made this a truly engaging and deep listen. From the hero’s brother, who perhaps matured just as much, if not more than the hero with the assumption of acting as the hero’s right-hand man to solve the economic plight of the vast estate, to the heroine’s 3 sister-in-laws, who added their own wrinkles to this impactful tale, there is so much room for potential follow-on stories to add to the Ravenel Series!
Next up is Helen and Winterborne’s story, and I for one can’ wait to see how Ms. Kleypas handles the class differences that will no doubt impact the tale between Lady Helen and her merchant suitor.
Source: Library loan.