Amanda Briars is turning 30. A celebrated author with two successful novels under her belt and the means to support herself, Amanda is a successful and independent working woman, a rare occurrence in 1836. But she feels unfulfilled; caring for her parents as they battled consumption for five years meant that Amanda never appreciated her youth. Coupled with her plain face and plump figure, Amanda has never attracted men’s amorous attentions.
So Amanda is taking matters into her own hands. A few days before her 30th Amanda visits Ms. Gemma Bradshaw – London’s most notorious madam – and requests a gentlemen to divest her of her virginity.
On the night of her birthday Jack comes to her doorstep. Tall, dark and devilishly handsome – Amanda can understand why he has chosen this particular profession. They share a night of restrained passion – and Jack initiates Amanda into the pleasures of the flesh…
One week later Amanda bumps into Jack at a ton party – where he is introduced to her as Jack Devlin. The man fast-becoming London’s must successful publisher – with his own library, bookstore, printing press and owning several newspapers and magazines. And he’s just bought the rights to one of Amanda’s novels…
There are several plots in one book here. Jack’s childhood history alone could have made for an interesting story. The second half of the book follows a very different trajectory than the original plot set-up – and that could have also made for a separate novel. There is a lot happening in ‘Suddenly You’ – especially towards the end when Kleypas rushes toward a grand finish.
I think the whole book had a small issue with pace. The opening chapter concerning Amanda’s ‘birthday present’ was a great set-up for the story. It was a steamy scene and a fantastic way to introduce the two main characters. However, the middle of the book felt a little bit clunky and slow to me. There is a definite lull in action after Amanda learns Jack’s true identity and they begin a courtship as author/publisher, and later as lovers. The middle of the book drags, and while there is sufficient chemistry between Amanda and Jack that their scenes are never boring, the pace does feel sluggish. There’s a bit of heightened action and emotion in the last-half of the book that comes on very quickly – the rapid conclusion could have been drawn out quite easily.
I really liked both characters. Amanda is a future feminist in the making – and I appreciated reading her thoughts on working women and female financial independence in the 1800’s. Jack likewise is a very progressive male, and the perfect complement to Amanda’s fiery spirit. At one point Jack decides to make Amanda the editor of one of his journals – she warns him that her being a woman and an editor will cause an uproar, to which Jack replies encouragingly;
“Set the world afire. Just let me hand you the matches.”
What a fella.
This is probably Kleypas’s most erotic novel. The sex scenes are the most explicit of hers I have ever read, and they are quite masterful in their sensuality. There is one scene in particular that has Jack doing something very interesting with raspberries – that one got my heart pumping.
I love reading a Kleypas book. I always know that I’ll have a good, satisfying read. I like some of her books and series more than others, but I know that with each of her novels I will be settling in for an enjoyable read. This is likewise true of ‘Suddenly You’ – it’s not my favorite Kleypas book, but I liked it nonetheless.