Here’s some praise: I looked forward to reading this book with almost stupid impatience after reading the teaser chapter last month. Yet the book stood up to all my expectations and more.
(A quick note on covers – I never bother imagining the characters the way they appear on the covers, and neither do I usually give them more than a passing glance. That said, I would be very sad to see an attempt at making the romance novel look sophisticated and lose its distinctive jacket.)
Beatrix is an eccentric, half wild girl who loves animals of all kinds – especially the wounded and alone. (I’m so jealous of her pet hedgehog. I want a pet hedgehog!)
Christopher Phelan is a dashing local lad who joins the cavalry and strides around looking handsome and calling Beatrix “that odd Hathaway girl.”
Then Christopher goes to war in the Crimea and writes his sweetheart a war-weary letter, longing for some quiet, warm place left in the world. His sweetheart is the girl so shallow she has hidden shallows, who has no idea how or desire to reply. But there’s a question about a dog, so she shows the letter to Beatrix, and Beatrix is immediately drawn in.
So Beatrix replies instead, pretending to be shallow-girl, and the two fall in love via letters. Then Christopher comes home…
Great premise, no?
In the Married by Morning review I talked quite a lot about how Kleypas does chemistry like no other. Again here. These two characters are absolutely magnetising. Their love is absolute and intoxicating and just a little bit wild.
The obligatory danger/action at the end of the book is my only hesitation in calling it perfect – it just seemed a little tacked on. But really, with a book this great, who cares?
Love in the Afternoon is the fifth and final book of the Hathaway series. The books are linked by all being about the same family, but can be read separately. Seriously though, read them all. It’s the best romance series I’ve read, I think. (Followed closely by Eloisa James’s Desperate Duchesses and Essex Sisters and Elizabeth Hoyt’s Princes.) The whole family are so gorgeous, and they all remain throughout each other’s stories.
Because Kleypas’s website is hopeless, here is the series and book order:
Mine till Midnight
Seduce Me at Sunrise
Tempt Me at Twilight
Married by Morning
Love in the Afternoon