DEVIL IN WINTER was initially scheduled to be released in late 2005. Outrage and near hysteria sparked when fans were informed the long anticipated novel was being postponed by AVON and being released in March 2006 (honestly, I could go on forever about these fuckers and their tactics, but I’ll spare you…for now). I'm going to be honest I didn't think I would make it. Yes, it wasn't that much longer a wait, but I wanted to read the love story between a wallflower and the rakish and amoral Sebastian from the moment Lisa Kleypas released a brief preview on her website months earlier. Kleypas's book had been written and given a cover months before and to have to wait frustrated me beyond belief. I made my sentiments on AVON known. Of course, there were those who told me to chill out (jerks!) and then others who felt the same way, the same inexplicable need to discover Sebastian and Evie's effect on him.
We waited, we sulked, we whined and drove anyone who would listen (or read) insane with our continuous HOW COULD AVON DO THIS? rants and finally on March 2006 the day we had long waited for arrived (although I have to be honest I did manage to get an ARC thanks to excessive prayers).
I loved DEVIL IN WINTER. Sometimes there's a fear in the reader that a long anticipated book might be spoiled by overused plots, obnoxious heroines, misunderstandings, lack of chemistry. This was not the case with DIW. The book excelled on so many levels. I sometimes think I'm biased in regards to Lisa Kleypas. I love her writing; her characters always come alive and jump off the page. She's the creator of Derek Craven, one of the sexiest heroes ever to grace the pages of a romance novel. However, as many other reviews of the novel show, bias in the case of this book is not tainting my vision in the slightest. The novel is a stellar depiction of the redemption of Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, at the hands of the least likely of women, Evangeline "Eve" Jennet, daughter of the notorious Ivo Jenner and Wallflower.
Kleypas’s novel begins on a humorous note:
As Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, stared at the young woman who had just barged her way into his London residence, it occurred to him that he might have tried to abduct the wrong heiress last week at Stony Cross Park.
After attempting to kidnap the heroine of the last Kleypas novel, Lillian Bowman, and being thereafter pummeled to a pulp by the hero, Lord Westcliff, Sebastian is at home, sitting in his study. He is desperate for money, the son of a man who has nearly depleted the family fortune. Evie Jenner is the daughter of Ivo Jenner, one time rival of Derek Craven and former boxer; her father is dying and she is in need of immediate protection before her relatives force her to marry her cousin. Evie appears before Sebastian and suggests a solution to both their problems: marriage to her. The move is entirely unexpected and seemingly out of character for a wallflower remembered more for her stammer than for being a conversationalist. Sebastian accepts and discovers himself to be attracted to the girl and surprised he never noticed her before.
From then on, DEVIL IN WINTER moves strongly, with its intense and deceptively strong characters, its subtle references to past heroes, its lack of absurd misunderstandings. It manages to capture and hold the reader glued to its pages from beginning to end.
The characters are absolutely delicious with the long awaited St. Vincent leading the pack as one of Kleypas’s finest heroes. Modeled after Derek Craven, St. Vincent warms our heart as he takes care of Evie, protects and loves her. His sometimes bossy, demanding and jealous nature, for one who loves this particular brand of hero, is exciting as hell. He is perfect for Evie, headstrong, stubborn, intelligent and beautiful.
My only regret in reading the novel is that I’m not the recipient of the hero’s affections.
The reader becomes caught up in their lives and is greeted by old characters (Ivo Jenner, memories of Derek Craven) and new hero-potential ones (Cam Rohan). I cannot say enough about the book. It was well worth the wait.
I recommend this book to all; if you haven’t purchased it yet, get thee to BORDERS now!!!