Cold-Hearted Rake (Cold-Hearted Rake #1) by Lisa Kleypas

by Kristen D · 27 Oct 2015
Cold-Hearted Rake (Cold-Hearted Rake #1) by Lisa Kleypas
Perhaps you are new­er to the genre of romance and are most familiar with Lisa Kleypas from her Travis Family series. Maybe you most recently read Brown Eyed Girl and loved it and have now tagged Kleypas as one of your ‘auto authors’. So you’re looking at the cover of this book and thinking “is this about a costume party?” Well, petal, let me let you in on something: before Kleypas was writing amazing contemporaries, she was crowned a queen of Regency romance with her Wallflowers series. At least in my heart, anyway. So, buckle up and enjoy; this book is a delight.

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When it was announced a bit ago that Lisa Kleypas was going to once again write a historical romance, all the klaxons in all the lands sounded. Joy was palpable in my heart. I love her contemporary works, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something freaking magic about her ability to write the regency world. And y’all, Cold Hearted Rake did not let me down.

The premise is thus: Devon Ravenel comes from a long line of folks more known for their tempers than their adherence to responsibility. When his cousin Theo dies, he inherits an earldom which has been left to ruins and is saddled with debt. He is convinced he’s simply going to sell it and rid his hands of the bloody thing until he actually shows up at the estate.

For at the estate lives not only Theo’s widow, Kathleen, but his three younger sisters whom Theo has made no financial provisions for and are not yet out in society. And they are all, in their own rights, forces to be reckoned with. (And, I desperately hope, the heroines of future novels in this world and from the cliffhanger at the end of this one, I may just be correct!)

What you need to know about Devon: he’s your archetypal rogue. Carousing, high on priority list. Managing estates, low. But, like a good hero and a great man, he steps up to the challenge before him. Armed with his trusty brother, West, and Kathleen serving as their conscience, they all work together to revitalize the estate without destroying the lives of any tenants.

I loved the discussions of that process; how do we help all without sacrificing any? What is the deal with mineral rights? How do we deal with railroads carving up the land? How do you talk to farmers using out of date farming techniques without hurting their pride? Fascinating. I loved how passionate Kathleen was about their people and how Kleypas described their relationship with the household staff (I also got the feeling she’s been watching a bit of Downton Abbey but who could blame her!).

That part of the book was awesome. The hero’s journey, as it were, was incredibly satisfying. If this was all the books was, lands above would it be worth the price of admission. It would not, however, be a historical romance. And, as we all know, Kleypas is one of the queens of historical romance.

So, chickens, let’s talk about the romance.

Holy hell steaming buckets of tension and sexy times is this a romance. Y’ALL.

This is pure Grade­ A, get your motors humming, out of the park home run type of stuff. You will be rooting for Kathleen and Devon so hard your fists will hurt from pumping once they tumble into bed together. This is one of the best balances of emotional intimacy and physical I’ve ever read, along with the treatment of her stifled sexuality and his expertise and the balance there. I think this is one of the historical romances I’d enter into the list of “books to give doubters of the genre”. It’s a fantastic example; sassy heroine still bound by the realities of the day but a fully fleshed woman nonetheless and a hero who steps up to the demands put upon him, but does so out of love and devotion to both his title and his lady.

Also, this book makes a great case for riding horses in a bid for a better sex life. Just saying.

I simply cannot wait to see where Kleypas goes with the next three books. I also need her to write them faster. SERIOUSLY FASTER.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes their happily ever afters to involve corsets, their sexual tension to involve witty banter, and their books to end with the promise of more.

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