'Seduce me at Sunrise'
by Lisa KLEYPAS
This is the second book in Kleypas's 'Hathaways' series.
'Sunrise' centres on the third eldest Hathaway sibling, Winnifred (Win), and her love for the families' Gypsy orphan Kev Merripen.
The novel begins in 1849, with Win and her brother Leo leaving for France. She is going abroad to receive treatment by the brilliant Dr. Julian Harrow, whom she hopes can cure her frailty brought on by scarlet fever several years ago. Before leaving she all but throws herself upon childhood sweetheart and forbidden fruit, Merripen who (for his own torturous misfit reasons) refuses her advances but pines for her for two years.
Win returns to England, with the handsome Dr. Harrow in tow, and every intention of living her life to the fullest... and not even Merripen will get in the way of what Winnifred wants.
I only recently discovered the 'romance' genre. I know, I know. What rock have I been living under? The truth is I always thought the words 'romance' and 'trashy' went hand-in-hand and that I was always above such petty paperbacks. But I was recently enlightened by a romance-enthusiast that it is in fact a very misunderstood genre, and that the people who enjoy it are likewise pigeon-holed for their preference. It is not, I was told, the preferred reading material of bored housewives and in actuality romance enthusiasts are very hard to please.
Harlequin is the Canadian book publisher and formidable forerunner in romance and women's fiction. According to Wikipedia, over $585 million worth of books were sold in 2003, for gross profits of $124 million and a profit margin of 21%. That's pretty darn successful considering that book publishing is one industry that's been hit hard by the recession.
I was a bit staggered by the popularity of the genre, and with the motto in mind that everything is worth reading at least once, I set out to explore this strange and beloved genre... and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
Maybe not so surprising is the fact that there's a lot of romance rubbish out there. Nada plot and 233 pages of heaving bosoms and throbbing members. But that's what makes the good stuff so very, very good. When you read romance done right, it is a thrill.
In my explorations, I was impressed by 3 authors in particular; Joanna Bourne, Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas.
These darlings of romance fiction stand out because they know how to tell a bloody good story. Throw in some very appealing Alpha male characters, iron-willed heroines and the occasional heaving bosom and you've got yourself the quintessential romance novel.
Lisa Kleypas's recently did a foray into modern romance with her 'Travis' trilogy, but it's really in period romance that she excels, and 'Seduce me at Sunrise' is Kleypas at her best.
Merripen is a fantastic male lead; a tall, dark brooding Gypsy who doesn't think he's good enough for the bright and beautiful Winnifred Hathaway. Throbbing members ensue....
My one complaint is Merripen's secret Rom name... 'Kev'. Blah. As an Australian I can only associate the name 'Kev' with a moccasin-wearing, Collingwood-supporting bogan. Sorry.
The romance genre and it's authors may never reach the heights of pulitzer or esteem of Steinbeck, but that is no reason to entirely discount the genre. Romance is a component of many a serious book, and sometimes even high-brow literature can fall by the wayside if there is zero chemistry between the protagonist and his/her leading lady/fella.
Kleypas is proof that the romance genre is an art-form in itself. She intertwines dashing characters, compelling story and teasing sensuality and you never feel cheap after reading her books, you come away with a happy ending and a smile on your face.
Seduce me at Sunrise gets a 3.5/5 from me.