Best Hathaway book from the one family member I always saw as completely unnecessary. It seemed that each Hathaway had an important role - Amelia the leader, Leo the lovable sexy wastrel, Win the beauty and Bea the baby of the group. Poppy seemed to be the Kitty Bennett - really, what's the POINT of her?
Lisa Kleypas just near made her my favourite, and Leo was a given anyway. Since his book's not out till next year, let's just go ahead and say this has been my favourite one yet.
Poppy is brilliant - her inner voice is fun without being annoying, and she has the guts to follow up on things she says. There's no bluffing, and she is perfectly able to live with rejecting Harry despite loving him - I didn't realise what a breath of fresh air this would be after the desperate passion of Win and Merripen's book, but it really does work. Her loyalty to Bayning is quite speaking of her tenacity - she doesn't just throw aside previous feelings because the hero crooks his finger. She's wonderful, what a sense of purpose this girl has, I adored her.
I often find the liveliness of one the main characters in a romance novel overshadows the other, even in a Kleypas sometimes, either the hero is one note and too perfect, or the heroine is bland and archetypical (read: spunky! Ugh!). I LOVED Harry, and Harry and Poppy together are gorgeous. While his appearance is quite Kleypas (tall, dark haired and green eyes), he possesses the ruthlessness of Prince Nicholas and the entrepreneurial energy of Jack Devlin but the anguish of his own inner dialogue shows how much he is preoccupied with his love for Poppy which gives him a humanity Nicholas seemed like he lacked. His actions towards her are awesome at the moment of first being together properly - considerate is too sweet a word to describe it, but the intention behind it does boil down to that. Like Emma with Nicholas, in some ways they're foes - it's only when being faced with the equal strength of mental will that the hero is brought back from the edge of cruelty. If you're tired of heroes being just so frigging PERFECT and SWEET all the damn time (!) this is the pairing for you.
But let's face it, you - like everyone - want the dirt on Leo and Miss Marks! There are several interactions and great inner dialogue of Leo's who at this stage genuinely doesn't think of Miss Marks as anything other than something to annoy until a certain event in the book, and from then on, it's full steam ahead and the book even ends on a small cliffhanger regarding an incident that apparently happens over the course of the book which we didn't see but undoubtedly will in the future. Not until next year. Cruel, Lisa. Cruel.
Still haven't come around to Bea, but hey, yesterday I didn't even like Poppy and look at me ranting on now.
If you were thinking about avoiding this one like I was, really reconsider.