It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers Series) by Lisa Kleypas
Overview by Amazon:
Headstrong American heiress Lillian Bowman has come to England to find an aristocratic husband. Unfortunately, no man is strong enough to tame the stubborn beauty’s fierce will. Except, perhaps, the powerful and arrogant Earl of Westcliff—a man Lillian despises more than anyone she’s ever met.
Marcus, Lord Westcliff, is famous for his icy English reserve and his supreme self-control. But something about the audacious Lillian drives him mad. Whenever they’re in the same room, they can’t stop themselves from battling furiously to gain the upper hand.
Then one afternoon, a stunningly sensuous encounter changes everything . . . and Lillian discovers that beneath the earl’s reserved façade, he is the passionate and tender lover of her dreams. What neither Westcliff nor Lillian suspect, however, is that a sinister conspiracy threatens to destroy any chance of happiness. After a shocking betrayal endangers Lillian’s safety—and possibly her life—will Marcus be able to save her before it’s too late?
When I read this book for the first time, it was one of those visceral moments in my life. I KNEW that I was reading a book that would remain on my top ten list forever. While I admire many authors and enjoy their work, Lisa Kleypas has a couple of books that are on my list. Yesterday I featured Lady Sophia’s Lover and today it’s my other favourite book by her.
The Wallflowers are a group of young women who can’t find a suitable match. They have banded together to make the London season more agreeable. They consist of Annabelle, Evie and sister Lillian and Daisy. This book is the second in the series and its Lillian Bowman’s story.
It could just be the typical, boy and girl hate each other type of story, but it is SO much more than that. Lillian is American and her wealthy parents have brought her and her sister to England to find titles to go alone with their buckets of money. This was actually a very common thing. While Americans had a much more egalitarian system, they needed to buy their way into the English aristocracy. This created challenges in the class system, as the older established titles needed the cash infusion, but the Americans were mocked for the origins of their wealth.
Lillian would have been one of those girls who beat up boys, out swam, fish, threw every single boy and was the ring leader in every instance. She is a beyond spunky and I adore her. She challenges and manages her shrew of a mother capably. I love all the hijinks she gets into and how she manages to make life so much fun.
Her nemesis is Marcus. He is a powerful Earl and the bane of Lillian’s existence. The two have despised each other since they met. Westcliff is everything that Lillian disdains about the English aristocracy. He is aloof, cool and detached. Lillian is like spontaneous fire. Clearly this will be a case of opposite attract.
Lisa Kleypas is the queen of creating scintillating scenes that just send shivers down your spine. When Lillian and Marcus get trapped in the garden and he smells her, it is just so electrifying. The two spar almost as much as they get along. It is one of those relationships that thrives on conflict. Like the book Lady Sophia’s Lover, one of Lisa Kleypas’ strengths is the ability to really develop the male lead character. We see Marcus go from stuffy and uptight to sensual and carefree. The revelation of getting to know Marcus is one the best parts of this book.
The sex is out of this world. The scene in the library is just mind blowing. I won’t ruin it, but give you a précis. Lillian is despondent, goes to the library and gets foxed. Marcus finds her and can’t help but seduce her – it is one of my all time favourite love scenes in a book. Just the way Lisa Kleypas writes love scenes, from the details like how a shirt hangs, to the lingering kisses and the emotions involved.
Lillian can’t understand her attraction and at time hate for Marcus. She finds it so confusing and yet, so enticing. She has her group of Wallflowers to support her and encourage her as she explores this romance. Marcus struggles as well with his attraction to Lillian. He can’t understand why he wants this hoyden who will upend his ordered life. His conversation with his friends about martial sex, is probably one of the funniest I have ever read.
This book has everything you want in a romance novel. Amazing characters, well developed plot and truly sensual scenes. A must read for any historical romance fan!