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REVIEW: Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas

Dear Ms. Kleypas:

Tempt Me at Twilight brings readers closer to the end of the Hathaway family romances. We have only Leo and Beatrix left. Poppy and her family are staying at the Rutledge Hotel for the London season. Poppy is convinced that she is in love with Lord Michael Bayning, the heir to a viscountancy. Despite the fact that she is the sister of a viscount, Poppy does not have the bloodlines to be considered a good match for Bayning. He promises her a letter to broach the subject of their romance with his father, but begs her to keep it private. Poppy agrees happily.

Problems arise when Beatrix’s ferret runs off with this scandalous letter and Poppy gives chase. She ends up in a secret tunnel where a mysterious man finds her, lifts the letter, and settles in for a nice chat with Poppy. The mystery man is Harry Rutledge, the powerful owner of the hotel. Poppy’s natural intelligence and her unconventional education pique Harry’s interest. A collector of fine and curious objects, Harry decides immediately that the beautiful Poppy is a must have acquisition for his collection. He sets about manipulating events that end in Poppy’s inevitable marriage to him.

The Hathaways are wholly opposed to this marriage and tell Poppy she can return home, although she will be ruined. What does it matter to them? They were poor as church mice and the whole society thing is fairly a novelty to them. But Poppy is convinced by Harry’s frank acknowledgment that he is scandalous, mercenary, and manipulative but will promise to treat her like a queen.

I enjoy the forced marriage theme and by the numerosity of the theme in the genre, so must other readers. While the prose is good, it wasn’t effortless. The story relied on quirkiness such as Beatrice offering sage advice about how people are like animals. Beatrix is often around like a Hathaway Yoda offering up cryptic statements at just the right moment such as you can trust anyone that a hedgehog trusts which, of course, means Poppy is to throw away her impressions that Harry is a scandalous and untrustworthy man.

I do appreciate that this story is all about what happens after the marriage. Poppy isn’t in love with Harry and Harry isn’t in love with Poppy but they both must navigate the marriage in different ways to find their way to the loving marriage. For both parties, it is learning to understand and accept people beyond the surface. Poppy only really wanted Bayning for the traditional English life she had always longed for. Harry wanted the unusual, unique because it lent stature to his position.

I felt like Harry was a bit inaccessible. He went from viewing Poppy as a curiosity (a valuable must-have curisioty) into a person he could not live without but I never fully understood why. I can guess that it was because Poppy offered him understanding and acceptance but why he held himself aloof from everyone else that understood and accepted him but not Poppy was never fully conveyed to me.

There was an action/suspense sequence in the latter part of the book that I found odd and out of place. I understand that it was a tweak on genre conventions but given that Poppy was so conventional and that she longed for a conventional life, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to take from this. In other words, I didn’t see how it advanced the idea the love relationship between Poppy and Harry or whether it was a device used to bring Poppy to the realization that she loved Harry (which I thought she had reached before this incident).

I did love the Hathaways thought their insertions were well done but all the other Hathaway appearances served to take time away from Poppy and Harry. For example, we see a lot of Leo as the romance between him and Ms. Marks is set up. I liked what I saw of Leo but I actually understood him better than I did Harry. I felt like Harry played the role of the romance hero but was notfully integral to the book. Another scoundrel could have stood in his shoes and Poppy would have been none the wiser, would she?

I thought there was a big BIG convenience that seemed a bit, well, convenient. I would have liked a bit more explanation as to the why/how. This is a cute read and a pleasurable way to pass the time but it isn’t my favorite Lisa Kleypas. C+

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers. The retail price set by St. Martin’s Press of $14.00 is ludicrous.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

23 Comments

  1. Katie
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 15:45:06

    I have been waiting for a this review and it was very well done so thank you Jane. I will be buying the book as soon as it comes out in the UK.

  2. Devyn Quinn
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 16:56:01

    A ferret runs off with a letter? Hmm. I have 5 ferrets and not a one of the darn creatures has ever taken off with a letter, or had anything to do with a piece of paper except for bathroom purposes… :)

  3. Mireya
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 17:49:55

    The Sony ebookstore charged me $12.60 for the book on release date. I am less than happy about it and if it hadn’t been Lisa Kleypas (a personal favorite) I would have never in a million years agreed to pay such a price for it… and I be that is what MacMillan’s is counting on: her very loyal fan base. Why don’t we rip them off a bit while at it…

    As to the review, though I found it highly enjoyable (I read it in one sitting) it certainly is not one of Lisa Kleypas’ best.

  4. katiebabs
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 17:57:33

    Everything you said it what I thought. I found the whole secret Cat had too soap opera like and I really couldn’t see Poppy and Harry in a loving couple like Amelia and Cam and Win with Kev. I felt Poppy and Harry’s relationship was just too forced.

    But I will say that I love the sibling relationship the Hathaways have with one another.

    The way things ended makes me want to read Leo’s story next.

  5. KK
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 18:57:57

    You know, I almost felt like Harry was too simllar to both Zachary from Where Dreams Begin and Jack Devlin from Suddenly You – who were also both characterized “cunning” and “ruthless.” Except I think Zachary and Holly from Where Dreams Begin had WAY more chemistry than Harry and Poppy ever had.

  6. Toya
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 21:23:42

    “He went from viewing Poppy as a curiosity (a valuable must-have curisioty) into a person he could not live without but I never fully understood why.”
    Thats the only problem I had with the book. You dont get a full understanding of why he feels the way he feels for her.
    I love the cliffhanger at the end of the book. I cant wait to read the next two.

  7. Melissa
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 21:27:33

    Is is bad of me to be kinda happy this is not an A review?

    I’m still steamed about the ebook version price premium over the paperback. Since I only buy ebooks now, the publisher isn’t getting my money until they bring the price down.

    Since I’m forced, by baloney market pricing tactics, to wait to read it, I’m a little bit glad it’s not a balls out, premier story. I’ll read it eventually.

    Maybe.

    That’s the chance they take, of couse. That readers will come back.

    I think I’ll go read Liz Carlyle instead. That one I pre-purchased… smart pub.

  8. KristieJ
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 21:33:32

    @Devyn Quinn: Well – I know they aren’t the same animal but I came home to catch my destructo cat trying to run off with a whole roll of paper towels in her mouth, so I can see that *g*

  9. Ros
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 01:25:52

    I can’t help giggling, I’m afraid, at ‘viscountancy’ which makes it sound like a firm of accountants. It should be ‘viscounty’ or ‘viscountcy’.

  10. Anon
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 06:35:57

    Viscountancy is correct, Ros.

  11. jmc
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 06:55:19

    I haven’t read any of the Hathaway family books, or any recent Kleypas books other than two of her contemporaries. So I am confused. How is Poppy related to Beatrix? And why does Beatrix’s ferret have access to Poppy’s letter?

  12. Mireya
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 07:40:25

    @jmc:

    Sisters.

    Ferret belongs to Bea. Theylive in the same house.

  13. Kelly
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 08:56:53

    I agree with your review. I love Lisa Kleypas. I’ve read all of her historical and contemporary books. But, I had to force myself to stay interested in this one, which has never happened before. I just didn’t feel any chemistry between Poppy and Harry. It did get me excited about Leo’s story.

  14. jmc
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 11:59:20

    @Mireya

    Thanks for the explanation!

  15. Estelle
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 12:45:29

    This one is my favorite in the series so far. I really liked it. It was an A for me. I couldn’t really get into the first book, it felt bland and didn’t engage me. I had high hopes for Seduce me at Sunrise but I didn’t really like how Merripen turned out (worshipping Win from afar but bedding many other women and then pushing her constantly away while holding on to her at the same time). I enjoyed the book but not as much as I thought I would.

    TMAT reminds me a bit of Dreaming of You (hero owns gaming club/hotel etc….) but with a better execution. I have a soft spot for Dreaming of You but there are so very few interactions between Derek and Sara that the romance is a bit unbelievable.

    In TMAT, both Harry and Poppy spend more time together. Like mentioned above, I, too, didn’t really see the transition from valuable collectible to woman of my life but I actually took it for love at first sight on Harry’s part, only he didn’t recognize it for what it was. His reactions towards Poppy are too intense for it too be a simple desire to “acquire” her, I think.

    I had no problem with the book except perhaps for the Deus ex machina kidnapping at the end of the book. It served no purpose IMO.

    The only thing that makes me angry is the price I paid for the Ebook. This is really badly done of the publisher. I blame myself for giving in to temptation. I certainly won’t do so again and will wait for the more reasonably priced paperback.

    And I must be one of the few who’s not looking forward to Leo’s book at all. It’s not a story I’m interested in reading. I wish Beatrix was next instead. She’s a delight.

  16. Statch
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 15:01:14

    Oh, I was so looking forward to this book, until I got down to the last line and saw it was from St. Martin’s, and they’re still charging $14.00 for…a digital file. I guess I won’t be buying this book unless I get lucky and Fictionwise has it on 100% Micropay rebate on Monday.

  17. Statch
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 15:06:21

    Interesting…I just checked the Kindle price on this book and it’s $9.99. So I checked Barnes and Noble, and they’re also charging $9.99 for the ebook version. Fictionwise doesn’t have it yet (probably because they add new books on Mondays and apparently it came out on Tuesday). Looks like Barnes and Noble will be trying to match the Kindle prices.

    Unfortunately, $9.99 is still too high when the paperback version is $7.99, and I’m not going to reward the publisher by buying the paperback version.

  18. Jessica G.
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 17:39:24

    I’m so angry at the publisher for selling the ebook for more than the paper price, like everyone else. Clearly it’s not Sony or Amazon (or the others) in this case. What’s worse to me is it’s on the Sony bestseller list, so the publisher is going to think this is acceptable. I will not be purchasing either the ebook or the paper in this case, and will send St. Martins an email stating so.

    I feel bad for not supporting Ms. Kleypas, but I’ve bought plenty of her books in the past, and if they bring the ebook down to a reasonable level, I’ll buy it.

  19. Monica Kaye
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 21:28:18

    I agree with Estelle. For me, this was an ‘A’ book. I actually enjoyed it more than I did the first two in the series. I liked that Harry was ruthless and I knew what he was planning to do before he did it. I also enjoyed the fact that Poppy found out about his dirty dealings before she married him. I hate it when secrets come out after the fact. I liked that the first part of her marriage was dealing with that betrayal. I felt I understood Harry and reaction to Poppy. All in all, it was a book that kept me up until 5 am because I couldn’t bear to put it down. It’s definitely on my keeper shelf.

  20. heike M.
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 04:56:44

    Really interesting, how much the opinions of one book differ: I was exceedingly annoyed by this book, and I usually love Lisa Kleypas. This one, for me, was somehow empty, all the ingredients of a Kleypas book were there, but it didn’t work out to a well crafted whole.

    The worst thing about it was the “hero” and his behavior in the beginning – stealing her letter and betraying her into marrying him? That’s what I maybe wanted in a hero back in the 80s… Yes, I know, he learned to deal with the world by taking what he wants etc. etc., but this was a weak rehash of Zachary from Where Dreams Begin, who at least made the effort to charm and persuade the heroine into marrying him. So, as a forced marriage trope this seemed just contrived and old-fashioned to me.

    And I never got the chemistry between Harry and Poppy or why he fell in love with her. Or why she would not have been equally happy with Michael Bayning, who was portrait as a basically decent guy, even if a little weak and conventional. Moreover, during the series Poppy always seemed the least interesting of the Hathaway siblings, even if she was likable in her own book, she stayed a little bland.

    And don’t get me started on the “deus ex machina kidnapping” in the end – WTF?

    And I didn’t like the excessive serial baiting in the end, that was just unnecessary. *Grumble* I had been looking forward to this…

  21. AB
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 21:35:41

    Kleypas is really my favourite romance author, so I’ll be picking this one up to try.

    Everyone seems very interested in reading Leo’s story….I like him, but I always think that second-love stories are a little problematic from the get-go. It’ll be interesting to see if this is handled satisfactorily.

    I’m more interested in Bea’s story after reading the short story on Win’s wedding.

  22. Sarah McG
    Sep 29, 2009 @ 13:15:54

    Did the kidnapping at the end of Tempt Me At Twilight remind anyone of the end of What Happens In London? I found both stories had an out of place action/kidnapping sequence, which prevented me from fully enjoying either book.

  23. Paperbackdolls » >Review:Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas
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