Friday, July 30, 2010
HE WAS EVERYTHING SHE'D SWORN TO AVOID...
Poppy Hathaway loves her unconventional family, though she longs for normalcy. Then fate leads to a meeting with Harry Rutledge, an enigmatic hotel owner and inventor with wealth, power, and a dangerous hidden life. When their flirtation compromises her own reputation, Poppy shocks everyone by accepting his proposal -- only to find that her new husband offers his passion, but not his trust.
AND SHE WAS EVERYTHING HE NEEDED...
Harry was willing to do anything to win Poppy -- except to open his heart. All his life, he has held the world at arm's length -- but the sharp, beguiling Poppy demands to be his wife in every way that matters. Still, as desire grows between them, an enemy lurks in the shadows. Now if Harry wants to keep Poppy by his side, he must forge a true union of body and soul, once and for all...
Quick review because I've had a hard time thinking about what to write about this book, and I've put it off because I didn't really like it. Coming off the second in the Hathaways Series, Seduce Me at Sunrise, which I loved, I was bound to be let down with Poppy's story. It wasn't just because Poppy was sort of a boring heroine, but I didn't like the hero in this story at all, and to me, that makes or breaks the book.
Is it me or is Harry Rutledge kind of ... awful? I'm not sure if I like this kind of ruthless hero. He's handsome and mysterious - the owner of the Rutledge Hotel that is the common setting for many of Kleypas' books in both the Wallflowers and Hathaways series. At first I thought, hmm, interesting... so Poppy will wind up with the Mr. Rutledge. But then as we got to know him more, I was thinking more along the lines of "Poor Poppy, the rabbit!" I think she's a bit out of her depth with Rutledge - the cat. He's an odd hero, no friends and he's a recluse. He ruthlessly ruins her plans to marry Michael Bayning, the man she wants and loves, and then has the effrontery to appear almost gleeful at the way he compromises her at a ball, resulting in their need to marry instead - all in front of her former fiancé, who has now taken to drink after having to give Poppy up. Granted, he turned out to be weak and unworthy of Poppy - but still! I didn't like the fact that Harry took it upon himself to manipulate everyone and everything - much too heavy handed for my tastes! I usually like alpha heroes and men in charge who call their women "Mine", but Harry just came across as mean. I don't like that.
I found their relationship and eventual love for each other a reach. Their marriage starts out on the cool side, Poppy is not crazy about him and she has to get used to his odd ways. She's forced to marry him since they were seen kissing at a ball (just like with Win and Merripen). So, why all of a sudden did Poppy fall for him after a few weeks? What did he do to win her love? Nothing much, except maybe she just started to get used to him, but I can't see how she'd actually love him! Mr. Rutledge is not Mr. Romantic. He leaves her in the middle of the night after taking her virginity with no explanation, leaving her miserable and questioning the whole sex act to the point where she has to ask her brother about it! Then she leaves London (and Harry) to go to Hampshire with her brother Leo the next day. Not good for a new marriage - it took a long time to even consummate it, and then they both walk out on each other afterwards? Aargh!
Once in Hampshire, everything changes, all of a sudden Poppy realizes she loves him because she finds out what a rotten childhood he had and that her companion, Miss Marks, is his half sister. Huh? So that makes it all fine and dandy? I don't buy it. At least her family didn't like him at first, yet I was disappointed that they came around so easily, especially Cam and Merripen. Was it because he followed her to Hampshire (as they knew he would), and then took a holiday away from the hotel to have a honeymoon? I guess a little R&R and sex can miraculously change a man overnight - again, I don't buy it.
One shining point, I liked seeing bits of Merripen and Win here, for I love them as a couple. But I was surprised there was simply no mention whatsoever that Merripen and Cam are brothers and that their father was a lord. Only their Rom associations were referred to - perhaps not to spoil Seduce Me at Sunrise for those that haven't read it yet?
This was the weakest of the Hathaway series, Poppy has never been all that interesting and I can't say this book changed my mind about her. Harry was the villain through most of the book, and not even a really delicious villain like Sebastian from Devil In Winter. Sebastian's more of a reformed rake, IMHO, anyway. The sex was okay, nothing great. I got the impression this is a transitional book from Win and Merripen's story in Seduce Me at Sunrise to Leo and Catherine's storyline in the next book. There's quite a cliffhanger regarding them and it certainly makes me want to read the next book! I have high hopes that it's better than this one!
As a whole in regard to this series and Lisa Kleypas in general, I'm getting a little tired of the Hathaways and their quirky ways. The plots are a bit formulaic as well. Once the h/h finally fall in love and get it on, declaring their love for each other, some villain comes and kidnaps one of them and there is some sort of rescue at the end. They may not always be exactly like this but LK's books all follow this basic formula. I really loved it at first, but now that I've read a lot of Kleypas, this formula is getting really old - she needs a shot in the arm when it comes to her plotlines to give them some much needed zest. Don't get me wrong, I love LK, but this was a real miss!
Excuse my rant but I guess I'm just really annoyed with this book and it put me in a crappy mood. In sum, I don't like this kind of mean and ruthless hero. Harry came across as a jerk much of the time, and frankly, I felt sorry for Poppy and her lot in life with him. This was my least favorite of all the Kleypas books I've read. Harry Rutledge did nothing for me, as did this book. Too little build up with their budding relationship that shows the development of their feelings and Poppy's aha moment that she loves him! He just simply wants her, and then when it turns out she's the first woman to make it hard for him he realizes, "Gee, if I still want her so much, I must be in love!" Hmm. A disappointment, though I will read the next and the next and the next...