July 7, 2016
Yes, my little Petunias, I have issued a Gigantic Girth And Growing Alert for Marrying
Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas. You betcha - "Hey now, hey now, hey now, hey now - It's finger pop poppin' time" or should I say almost finger poppin-time because our heroine's fingers just cannot touch while they are encircling our hero's gargantuan Mr. Toad.
Welcome to Ms. Kleypas' world of gigantic guys with gigantic whatsits. Ladies and gents let me remind you that if you are picturing our hero Rhys Winterborne as a current film star, remember just 'cause those stars look big on the screen doesn't mean they are in real life. Ms. Kleypas made me waste a whole lot of time trying to find big hulking film stars who were also handsome. Some tall ones I found were Aidan Turner, Gerard Butler (get past the spitting and growling), Richard Armitage, Liam Neeson, and Dwayne Johnson. You could also look to the past for John Wayne and Gary Cooper but I wouldn't really call them hulking. Anyway, we have a handsome, hulking Welshman by the name of Rhys Winterborne. He's a big guy. How do we know he's big? We are reminded that he is huge about a gazillion times in this story. I became a little irritated with the reminder, especially when he worried a lot about ripping the heroine apart with his big kazoo. I sometimes tire of heroines with big scaredy eyes focused on those tumescent tent poles - one could almost think that those poles were the only pain females ever had in their mommy parts. Or should I say pressure? Anyway, Rhys is big - everywhere.
Rhys is also a delightful character. He's a strong, self-made man and not an aristocrat - although he's awfully rich. Rhys is more of a typical Romanceland Alpha hero. He's stubborn, controlling, manipulative and a tad bit omnipresent. However, even with all of that he's a very likable guy - he never became oppressive with his controlling. Rhys is also a very loyal protective man - he is totally a terribly swoon-worthy man. With Rhys we know that our heroine Lady Helen Revenel will always be protected.
Lady Helen Revenel is an innocent, shy heroine. Don't think that Helen's shyness means she is weak - she is not. Ms. Kleypas has endowed Helen with strength of character - she is just what Rhys needs. They balance each other. Together they make a great couple who we, the reader, know will have their HEA. They are a complete pair.
Helen's innocence. I found Helen's innocence very charming and at times humorous. The "first-time" scene in the book made me smile. Usually the heroines have big eyes because you-know-what is so huge and of course our hulking hero is big. However, instead of saying the standard "it won't fit," Helen wasn't sure which of her openings his Mr. Toad was supposed to be "inside of." I found Rhys' frustration comical as he tried to explain the facts of life to Helen while all the time keeping his overwhelming arousal under control. It was a scene that could have been the same-ol-same-ol but this time there was a little bit of a twist to it.
Plotline. Here's the plotline for those of you who can keep track of those kind of things. In Cold-Hearted Rake Rhys and Helen were secondary characters who almost stole the show. In that book they became engaged and then Rhys overwhelmed Helen with his passionate kiss. One can only assume it was quite a kiss or some really bad breath because Helen ran from the room in hysterics - had palpitations and all kinds of trauma. The engagement was off. This story begins with Helen arriving at Rhys' doorstep saying it was all a mistake and she wants to marry him. Now, at this point Rhys is in Helen's family's black book, so he concocts this wild scheme to ruin Helen and force her family's hand. She agrees. They get the big bang over with at the beginning of the story and the rest of the story is taken up with Rhys and Helen trying to get married with a few stumbling blocks along the way. That's about it. Oh sure, there is a minor boo-boo problem that pops up midway through the story, but it doesn't really do too much. The problem doesn't add that much tension to the story and in my humble opinion I'm not sure we needed it. And, that's about it for the plot.
A math challenge. Okay, Ms. Kleypas - just how are you going to do it. There were so many interesting secondary characters in this book: West, Mrs. Fernsby, Dr. Garrett Gibson, Pandora, Cassandra, Severin and Dr. Havelock. We already know that the next book will be about Pandora and Gabriel St. Vincent (Sebastian's son). Then there is one more book in the series after that; the math doesn't work out. What about all of the rest of the people? I want to know allll of their stories! What are you going to do, Ms. Kleypas? Sure, sure, there are novella's but both West and Severin are just screaming for a full-length novel. What we have here is a conundrum.
So, my little Petunias, Marrying Winterborne is one you don't want to pass up. It's very rare that Ms. Kleypas presents us with a stinker and she hasn't in this case either. While Marrying Winterborne may not reach the glorious heights of The Devil in Winter or Dreaming of You, it's still a good read. It's filled with a boat-load of memorable characters and a wonderful romance couple. Go ahead - take this book to the beach and have a great time reading - you'll like this one.
Time/Place: Late 1800s England