rating: 5 of 5 stars
I hadn't read any Kleypas for a while when I started reading this book. It reminded me of how effective and seductive Kleypas is as a writer. She really does write a beautiful love story. Her stories are dreamy and elegant, full of imagery that draws me into the story and out of my everyday existence. She really is a wordsmith to this reader.
I know a lot of fans were unhappy that Cam was not paired with Daisy, but I have no regrets. Cam and Amelia were meant to be together. Cam was searching for something that gave him a sense of home. He found it in Amelia. He found himself unsettled by living as a gadjo (non-Romany). He was almost disgusted with his adopted materialistic lifestyle, hating the fact that he couldn't seem to stop accumulating wealth, even though he tried very hard to lose money, investing in companies sure to fail, but always recieving windfall after windfall. Just when he is about to walk away from that life and return to the wandering ways of the Roma, he meets Amelia. She challenges and compels him as no other woman has. He wants her desperately, although she is clearly a woman who would need a settled man in her life. Yet, he cannot walk away from her. You realize it before Cam does that he is a goner. He tells himself he will walk away from Amelia, but you know that he's not going anywhere. For all his prior determination to leave Amelia alone, once he decides he wants to keep her, Cam is pretty much set on that path. I liked that about this story, as I love heroes in pursuit. I liked that although Cam does seduce Amelia, he has committed to her in his heart and won't go back on that commitment. I really enjoyed the part when Amelia woke up with his ring on his finger, and how she couldn't get it off. I thought that was a nice touch.
It was interesting that Amelia was the reluctant one in this story, although it totally made sense. She had been let down by those who loved her. Her parents died on her, leaving her with three younger sisters to care for, and a brother who was intent on losing all of their income, and destorying himself after the loss of his fiancee. Not to mention the fact that her first love abandoned her for a girl whose father could help his career. She is determined not to marry, and feels content with watching over her family. She doesn't think she's anything special. So when Cam starts to pursue her so ardently, she does resist, at least at first. But Amelia is as drawn to Cam as he is to her. He is beautiful and wild, and temptation in a in irresistible package. Knowing it's a bad idea to get involved with him, she cannot seem to avoid him or her feelings for him. It was a delicious love story to read.
Amelia's somewhat bad-tempered moments are refreshing. I like sweet heroines a lot more than some readers, but it's also nice to see heroines who do have bad days and temperamental moments. Who do get frustrated and say things in anger. Amelia has a lot of responsibility and stress, and it was realistic for her to have moments where she showed that her nerves were frayed. Cam seemed to embrace her outspoken and at times somewhat abrasive behavior, enjoying that part of her equally with other aspects of her person. He was considerate to her needs, understanding her fears and doubts, and did everything he could to help her family, even before he had committed to marrying her.
Cam truly showed that was steadfast, showing her that he could be relied upon. Considering the fact that Cam is half-Roma, and there was obviously a prejudice against the Roma, I enjoyed the fact that he showed the good traits that her prejudiced ex-fiance Christopher lacked, although he mocked and looked down on the "dirty, untrustworthy Roma." I liked despite the fact that Cam was Roma and that there were those who did not like the Roma was touched upon, but it wasn't truly an obstacle in their relationship. Cam looked at his heritage as being part of him, and knew he would not give her up, despite the prejudice they might face. I liked that he embraced his heritage, good and bad. As a fan of possessive heroes, I quite enjoyed him being so jealous of any man being near Amelia. The part where he finds out Amelia was alone with Christopher Frost, whew! (Okay I know I'm weird.)
The elements of Romany heritage, culture, and language were very interesting to me. I don't really know much about them, so it was a nice little lesson to this history buff.
I do have to say that Leo was bugging me. I feel bad that he lost his true love, but he didn't seem to realize that he wasn't just hurting himself, but his sisters who depended on him. I hope that we get to see him mature and get over his loss and become the person he was meant to be. I'm pretty sure that's what Laura (his lost love) would want for him. I loved the paranormal twist with the ghostly haunting that the Hathaways were experiencing, which was heavily tied into Leo's emotional issues. Very nicely done, adding to the delightful Victorian feel. As a fan of classic ghost stories, particularly set in the late 19th/early 20th century, I certainly enjoyed this twist in the story.
The Hathaways are an entertaining family, each sister having a distinct personality that I hope to see more of. There were moments that their sisterly interactions reminded me of one of my favorite books, Little Women. You can guess who Win reminded me a little of.
I loved the interactions between Win and Merripen. I have a feeling their book will be wonderful, as it is very clear already how deep the love they have for each other is.
Also it was so cool to see St. Vincent (sigh) and Evie, and Westcliff and Lillian. I like how down to earth Lillian is, and it's clear that she's been a great influence on Westcliff, although he's still bossy as ever.
If I have one complaint, it's how quickly the conflict wrapped up with Amelia's ex-love, Christopher. That was a little too abrupt.
All and all, a great reintroduction to a long favorite author of mine.
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