Thursday, 30 August 2012

Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Scandal in Spring (2006)
Lisa Kleypas
Grade: B+
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: hot-tish
Source: own
Wallflowers: (1) Secrets of a Summer Night, (2) It Happened one Autumn, (3) Devil in Winter, (4) Scandal in Spring

At twenty-two years old, Daisy Bowman is in great danger of becoming a spinster. Considering all the time she has spent as a ‘Wallflower’ with her sister and friends, Daisy has resigned herself to the idea of staying unmarried forever. She would be very happy to live with her married sister Lillian and spend all her time reading and pursuing her own pleasures, but Daisy’s father has vowed to have her married to his protégé, Matthew Swift if she doesn’t find herself a husband of her own in three months. As Mr Swift is the last person in the world that she would want to be married to, Daisy is very keen indeed on finding her own match.

Mr Bowman might have three sons of his own, but none hold a candle to Matthew Swift. He’s business savvy, knows Bowman’s Enterprises inside out and is the son that Mr Bowman wished he had. Mr Bowman has no desire to pass his business on to his sons, but the only way that Matthew will be able to run it is if he marries Daisy.

Matthew Swift may have secretly lusted after Daisy ever since he saw her the first time at twenty, but that doesn’t mean that he wants to marry her – or anyone else for that matter. Thrust together at a summer get-together at Lord Westcliff’s Stony Cross mansion, Daisy and Matthew can’t help but collide into one another. As they spend more time in each other’s company (including a hilarious game of bowls), Daisy soon discovers that marrying Matthew might not be such a horrifying prospect after all, and Matthew finds himself falling dangerously in love with a girl who is completely off-limits. He has a secret that might come back to haunt him at any moment and he won’t put Daisy in the centre of the danger that might result …

As the last Wallflower book, Scandal in Spring was always going to be something special; I might not have loved it as much as Devil in Winter, but SiS has managed to secure a place as my second favourite Wallflower book.

Daisy is awesome. She loves to read, which is always a plus in my book (ha!) and isn’t averse to reading what would have been viewed at the time as ‘trashy novels’ – which is still the general attitude towards the romance genre today. Sure, she’s not the most productive of heroines, having only been taught to pursue ‘female’ hobbies such as drink tea and walk around in gardens, but I love her enthusiasm and carefree attitude to life. It’s easy to see why Matthew has fallen so easy and so hard for her.

There was a very intriguing encounter between Daisy and Cam (later hero of Mine Till Midnight) in Devil in Winter. It would have been interesting if something had become of it, but I imagine that the other Wallflowers – not to mention Daisy’s parents – would have had several coronaries between them. Besides, I much prefer Cam with Amelia.

Like many of Ms Kleypas’ other heroes, Matthew Swift is a self-made man. I love all the heroes who are Dukes, Marquesses, Viscounts, Earls and so on, but it is refreshing sometimes to have a historical romance hero who isn’t titled and has made something of himself in his own right without a financial cushion to start off with. Matthew is funny, caring and utterly devoted to Daisy; what more could you ask for? Other than that pesky part where he won’t reveal his secret, it’s almost perfect.

There were a few really funny scenes in this book. Lisa Kleypas isn’t an author that I would automatically associate with funny, but she does have her moments. Two scenes come to mind in SiS: firstly, the game of bowls. Matthew will consider the slope of the grass, the angle of the wind and the possibility of a sudden cross-wind and who knows what else, but Daisy just whacks the bowl as hard as she can. It’s one of the best courtship leisure activities that I’ve read. Secondly is the scene where Daisy is trying to seduce Matthew. He doesn’t want to touch her, but when Daisy puts her mind to something, she won’t let go. When she sees a key in the door, what does she do? Lock it and drop the key down her chemise, is what. A brilliantly written undressing ensues.

All four Wallflowers were reunited in this book and I liked that Ms Kleypas allowed us to revisit their stories and show how they have flourished after finding true love. Too often, authors let characters who have found their happy endings fade into the background with nary a mention; Ms Kleypas isn’t one of these authors. Tbh, I could have done with more involvement from Evie and Annabelle, but it wasn’t a major issue. Annabelle is my least favourite Wallflower and so I’m not too fussed, but it was nice to see the shy Evie get a slightly bigger role after her HEA with the delectable St. Vincent in Devil in Winter. She’s my favourite Wallflower.

This was a great end to a good series. There was a great book and some not as good ones, but that’s just my take on it and I’m sure that lots of people will think differently. Anyway, Scandal in Spring has been a long time coming: I read Secrets of a Summer Night in September 2009 and book four has long been the book that I’ve never been able to find in any library. I found it a few weeks ago in a bookshop and couldn’t grab it off the shelf any faster. I’m definitely glad that I read it and it’s nice to be able to tick off one more title in AAR’s Top 100 Romances lists.

Image courtesy of Book Depository

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