Where else can I begin, excpt to say that Kleyas only gets better and better with every book she writes, especially with her wallflowers series. Evie and St. Vincent's breathtaking story is the third in the series (First "Secrets of a Summer Night", then "It Happened One Autumn") and without a doubt the best one to date. Built on the basis of friendship, the series matures remarkably with each installment, always keeping the spirit of sisterhood and friendship intact throughout each. Evie has much to be grateful for in her small circle of friends as her story progresses.
St. Vincent has returned from his foiled attempt to kidnap, wed and seduce Lillian Bowman. Beaten and downtrodden, he's not expecting the shy and reclusive redhead that insists on entry into his home. Even more surprising, he's astonished at Evangeline Jenner's proposal of marriage - a marriage of convenience in which she receives sanctuary and protection from her abusive family and he gets what he so desperately needs. That would be money, of course. The daughter of a notorious gaming club owner and a rumored half-wit, St. Vincent never thought he'd be stooping to such a level as to consider Evie's offer. Hard times call for desperate measures, on both their parts, and the two are quickly off the Gretna Green for an elopement of the not-so-heart. Both are determined to maintain their distance, but both are in for some eye opening experiences, ones where prior assumptions and false conclusions about one another will be tossed to the curb. Is it really possible for a self-professed rake to do a complete one eighty? The chances are good for St. Vincent, and watching his awakening to Evie's not so obvious charms is a wonderful experience.
Kleypas's wallflowers series began with an endearing promise, among four unlikely friends, to aid one another in the begetting of husbands. That theme of spirited friendship has prevaled throughout the series and in Evie's story her friends come through for her at probably one of the most trying times of her life. A husband like St. Vincent was no easy cross to bear, a totally debauched rogue with no concerns besides ones for himself, he definitely makes it hard on Evie at times. However, at the same time, no one ever set out to take such devoted and gentle care of the fragile young woman. All but broken by the abuse of her "noble" family, Evie is frankly surprised at St. Vincent's efforts on her behalf. When he tries to bully her into a position she doesn't like, he's equally amazed at the fiery woman that steps out from behind her shell. Who'd have thought a self-professed wallflower could have such spirit and fortitude? The two are a fun and exciting couple to say the least. The attraction between the two was very well written and the chemistry practically leaped right off the pages, it was so intense. By far the best romantic achievement by Klepas to date. And it brought back fond memories of one of my favorites of hers, "Dreaming of You" ( Derek Craven, the hero of that book, is briefly mentioned in this current title. If you liked this story line, I highly recommend "Dreaming of You" too.). The only complaint I have is that there will be a wait for Daisy's story, "A Scandal in Spring", scheduled for release later in 2006. Keep 'em coming, Kleypas. We definitely want more.
Official Reviewer for The Mystic Castle