Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review: Cold-Hearted Rake

Cold-Hearted Rake #1
Lisa Kleypas
Historical Romance
416 pages
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
A twist of fate . . .

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills . . .

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

Cold-Hearted Rake starts out strong, sparks (of the antagonistic variety) flying the moment Kathleen and Devon meet as Devon's intense dislike of both his cousin and an honest day's work spills over onto his cousin's widow. Their tempestuous relationship brings a smile to our faces from the get-go, allowng us to settle in immediately as we brace ourselves for what is sure to be one hell of a ride as these two prepare to do battle over whose temper runs hotter.

After a flurry of entertaining enmity in the opening chapters however, the pace of this romance slows to a crawl, Kathleen's obligatory mourning period for her late husband as well as Devon's responsibilities in running his newly inherited estate keeping them apart for months here and there. As a result, the initial fire we felt between them has time to cool, all the details about the various repairs the manor needs as well as the day to day household activities (which are at least entertaining thanks to Kathleen's hilarious sister in laws) keeping us more removed from the romance than we might like. Once Devon returns to the estate, their relationship becomes the focus once again, but his arrival also brings the hero of the next book into the mix, and thus our remaining time becomes split between Kathleen and Devon and the buildup between book two's hero and heroine.

The introduction of an additional budding romance wouldn't have been a problem in the least save for the fact that Lady Helen and Winterbourne far outshine Kathleen and Devon, a beauty and the beast-type pairing between quiet, reserved Helen and dark, injured and brooding Winterbourne capturing our attention more than the continuously hot and cold relationship between our current lead couple. The back and forth between Devon and Kathleen comes to an expected head toward the end–tempers flaring and emotions serving as collateral damage–but their hurt feelings are soothed with shocking speed before their story is wrapped up with a happy bow. We're then given an epilogue that shifts the focus once again to Helen and Winterbourne, leaving us looking forward to their story with far more excitement than we'd been able to generate for Devon and Kathleen during the entirety of their relationship.

That being said however, there's still plenty to enjoy about this historical romance, a cast of secondary characters including Devon's brother and Helen's hilarious younger twin sisters making up for a bit of the spark missing from the primary relationship. Helen and Winterbourne are of course highlights as well, and their book cannot release soon enough.

Rating: 3.5/5

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This book was sent to me by the author  free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.


  1. So the epilogue rocked, that is weird

  2. I am pretty excited for this one, just skimmed the review since I haven't read it yet. But planning on reading it this weekend.

  3. Hmm. I'm more intrigued about book 2's couple. I've found that Lisa Kleypas is hit or miss with me, although I'm sure I'll read this at some point... because historical romance.

  4. Oh she should have kept Helen and Winterbourne in their own book then! I'd be much more interested in that coupling too!

  5. Oh she should have kept Helen and Winterbourne in their own book then! I'd be much more interested in that coupling too!

  6. I completely agree with you, Jenny! Helen and Winterbourne completely destroyed the main couple in this one. I did really enjoy all of the characters, especially the twins who were such a delight and Devon's brother, but that lag in the middle where Kathleen and Devon had zero interaction seemed a little strange to me. Still, I liked the writing overall, but I'm DYING for book two! It's going to be full of angst (the good kind of course!) and passion! I can't wait. :)
    Lovely review!

  7. I already want to read about Helen and Winterbourne and I haven't even picked up this book! I'm sad that this romance doesn't truly compare to Kleypas's other novels. Separated the hero and heroine for much of the novel seems counter-intuitive and I can totally see how these leads would be eclipsed by others so while I'm definitely going to be reading this one soon, I think I'll lower my expectations quite a bit. Thanks for such an honest and helpful review, Jenny!

  8. Glad there was still a lot to enjoy with this one Jenny! Great review!

  9. Even of some points, it sounds like a nice one. One day I'll have to try the author!

  10. Sounds like it had its high points, you can't go wrong with an antagonistic romance, right?

  11. I think I'm be more excited to read book 2 myself after reading your review, so I'll wait for that one Jenny!

  12. This sounds good, but boy, when you have two characters like Helen and Winterbourne - it's hard to resist not wanting their story now! :)

  13. Hmm ... I was immediately on board just from the title. I love a cold heart. lol. An antagonistic relationship? Hell yeah. That stinks that it cools like that though.

  14. It’s not a good sign, when the second character’s romance is more interesting that the main one. I don’t read historical romance often. If I do, I choose very carefully, usually after my friends’ approval. So I don’t think I would be picking up this story. Great honest review, Jenny!