When Lillian Bowman and Marcus, Lord Westcliff meet each other first in Lisa Kleypas’s Secrets of A Summer Night, their dislike for each other is palpable. Lillian finds Marcus arrogant, haughty and boring; Marcus views Lillian as loud-mouthed and improper. And Marcus doesn’t hesitate to quickly lump her in with friend and fellow wallflower Annabelle as little more than a “husband hunter” — one of the countless women on a quest to marry a rich, titled Englishman, no matter the cost.
But things change in It Happened One Autumn, the second book in Kleypas’s Wallflowers series. As Lillian — the daughter of a wealthy Americans who made their fortune in the soap industry, but lack the “blue blood” so demanded to be accepted in privileged circles — returns to Westcliff’s Stony Cross Park with her family, she begins to see Marcus more in his natural element . . . and, in turn, he begins to let his guard down. While the two first avoid one another in mutual annoyance, Marcus surprises Lillian and her sister Daisy by joining them in a game of rounders. Shocked that Marcus could have fun for even one moment, Lillian’s surprise gives way to interest . . . and quickly to infatuation. Marcus returns the sentiments, though he adamently refuses to acknowledge them. Until . . . one kiss from Lillian keeps Marcus up at night, wondering how he could possibly have feeling for someone he despised just days ago. Until . . . another wealthy suitor shows an avid interest in her — and she in him, hoping to get her parents’ demands that she marry a wealthy man off her shoulders. And until Marcus realizes he could lose her forever — if he doesn’t just lose that stodgy, straight-lipped English demeanor and do something about his feelings.
Like Secrets Of A Summer Night, I really got into this story. I never thought I would be so into historical romance, but this series has totally changed my opinion of what a great romance novel should be. I loved the interplay between sisters Daisy and Lillian, and so enjoyed the constant banter between Lillian and Marcus. Readers can see from the get-go that for all their feigned indifference to one another, they can’t help staring at each other sidelong from across any room. But the build-up was great and believable, and I loved getting to know all of the characters from Kleypas’s first novel better. I thought the dramatic turn of events toward the end was a bit odd . . . and had to chuckle a bit at the antics. But I guess it fit well into the greater whole, and I’m willing to suspend my belief a bit to enjoy a great story!
I’m looking forward to the next installment and seeing what’s in store for another dear wallflower . . . and can’t wait to see the progression of Marcus and Lillian’s relationship from here.
4 out of 5
ISBN: 0060562498 ♥ Purchase from Amazon ♥ Author Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg