Sugar Daddy Hardcover – Mar 6 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Mass market bestseller Kleypas makes her hardcover debut with this entertaining chronicle of Liberty Jones's rise from the trailer park to life in a Texas mansion. The daughter of a Hispanic father (who dies during Liberty's childhood) and a white mother, Liberty pines for the hunky bad boy Hardy Cates while mom Diana has another daughter, Carrington, and scores the occasional windfall to keep the famil afloat. After Diana is killed in a traffic accident, Liberty raises Carrington, gets a beauty school scholarship and lands a gig at an exclusive Houston salon. There she meets investment mogul Churchill Travis, who takes a paternal shine to her. A horse-riding accident puts Churchill in a wheelchair, and he hires Liberty to be his personal assistant, with the catch that both sisters have to live with him. Churchill's oldest son, Gage, immediately distrusts Liberty, and their vicious bickering, as romance readers know, can lead to only one thing. Things get messy once Hardy, now rich, reappears and a Travis family secret is revealed. Though Liberty's plight and redemption are straight out of the soaps and the prose has its trite moments, Kleypas's many readers will root for Liberty, a fiery and likable underdog. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Money is tight while Liberty Jones is growing up in Welcome, Texas, but somehow she and her mother Diana manage. Having good friends like Miss Marva, Lucy Reyes, and especially Hardy Cates, on whom Liberty has a crush, helps. Then tragedy strikes and Liberty must take care of her younger sister and find a way to support them. Hard work and determination get Liberty through cosmetology school, then, while working in a Houston salon, she meets wealthy older businessman Churchill Travis, who offers her a job as his personal assistant. At first Liberty is reluctant to accept, especially since Churchill's son, Gage, seems to think she's a gold digger. Then, just as Liberty is settling into her new life and her initially frosty relationship with Gage is heating up and turning romantic, Hardy Cates, her first unrequited love, reappears. New York Times best-seller and RITA Award winner Kleypas moves from historical romance into contemporary women's fiction with an emotionally compelling and superbly satisfying tale of family, friendship, hope, and love. Writing with wit, wisdom, and warmth, Kleypas has created a book to treasure. John Charles
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Welcome, Texas is home to Liberty and Hardy Cates. Both hope to see Welcome only in rear view mirrors. She has always wanted a family and knows very little of her own relatives. On her father's side they're scattered across the state, and for some reason Liberty's mother refuses to discuss the family from which she came.
One day as Liberty is walking along she is frightened by two pit bull dogs and begins to run. She slips on the pebbled path, falls, and covers her head with her arms fully expecting to be bitten to death. But instead of bites she feels two strong arms lifting her and she looks into Hardy's eyes. That chance meeting would change both of their lives forever. There is, of course, an immediate attraction and the two fall in love.
Hardy is an ambitious fellow and falling in love wasn't part of his plan for success. He leaves Welcome and a broken hearted Liberty. After some time passes Liberty also leaves Welcome and finds a job in a large city. Once there she meets and is befriended by a very wealthy older man, Churchill Travis.Read more ›
I highly recommend this novel!
I can't wait for more contemporaries from this wonderful author.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Liberty is going through puberty when she first meets Hardy and she falls for him hard. He is her constant advocate, helping her with tests, teaching her to play basketball, helping her see her own inner and outer beauty. But Hardy wants nothing more than to one day leave the sheltered trailer park life behind him and make something of his life. He is determined to not wind up like his father and he knows that falling in love with Liberty will only make it harder for him to go. To both of their dismay, he refuses to get involved with her and he walks away from Welcome and Liberty without turning back. Shortly after, Liberty loses her mother in an accident and is left to raise her two-year-old sister alone.
Forced to act as a single mother to her sister Carrington, Liberty makes sacrifice after sacrifice to ensure they are both fed, healthy, and happy. She sets out on a career path as a hair stylist and moves with Carrington to Houston to work at a prestigious salon. Once there, she meets Churchill Travis, a successful businessman who the other stylists tell her would make a perfect "sugar daddy." Liberty has never considered such an arrangement, but when Churchill takes a personal interest in her and offers her a live-in position as his assistant, she lets herself be swayed for the sake of her sister. Living with Churchill will give Carrington opportunities Liberty could never afford on her own. Soon Liberty has found love, happiness, and contentment in the Travis home and things are going well. But when Hardy steps back into her life after nearly 10 years, she has to decide if she's willing to sacrifice the happiness she's found for the future she'd always dreamed of.
I was skeptical when I found out Lisa Kleypas, one of the leading authors of historical romances, was going to be writing a contemporary novel. I mean, her historicals are so good--why ruin a good thing? Well, I'm here to admit that I was wrong. I forgive her for going the route of contemporary, and if they're all going to be this good, I say keep at it. Sugar Daddy was "unputdownable." I read it in six hours and stayed up until 3 in the morning to do so (and I have to go to work in the morning). But there was simply no other choice. I became absorbed in the characters, in the story, in the outcome and I just had to know how things were going to work out. Liberty Jones is a well-drawn character who develops from a shy, awkward teenager into a self-assured, confident guardian to her sister. She puts herself second to ensure that Carrington is well cared for and even sacrifices her own love life for the good of her family. When she finally finds someone to love, I was so happy for her, but then Hardy stepped back into her life and I had to wonder if she'd made the right choice. Hardy Cates was the stereotypical first love, but more than that he helped Liberty find her own womanhood. When she felt awkward and uncomfortable he put her at ease, and when she went through hard times, he picked her up. I wanted things to work for them, but at the same time it took Liberty so long to move on that I almost resented the easy way in which he walked back into her life. I've read enough romances that I can usually guess how they'll end (happily, of course), but Sugar Daddy's ending was a pleasant surprise for me. This story ranged from laugh out loud funny (the emu story) to heartwrenchingly romantic, and every emotion in between. Pick up Sugar Baby when you're in the mood for a stellar contemporary romance that will keep you on your toes, but make sure you have a few hours to spare because you won't want to put it down.
After reading various interviews that Lisa Kleypas did in which she explained her motivations and stylistic approach to writing Sugar Daddy and her statement that she thinks it's different than anything that's currently out there, I was revved up to read it. The whole day at work yesterday, all I wanted was for the day to end so that I could go home and devour the book, which I did until I finished it at 3 am this morning.
I felt disappointment only because I had such high expectations. In her interviews, Ms. Kleypas had emphasized that this is a coming-of-age story with a strong element of romance. She mentioned that she wanted to keep the intensity and passion of her historicals. I think she was successful with the former but not the latter. The first half of the book describes the heroine's adolescence. It is vivid and compelling, especially during scenes with her younger sister and her first love. However, the romance and conflict in the last seventy pages of the novel don't ring true and the resolution seems too rushed and pat. And frankly, the romance setup in the beginning of the book led me to expect (and want) a different happy ending. I didn't sense the deep passion that the lovers have for each other, at least not like in her historicals. I wished the author had devoted as many pages to exploring Liberty's feelings in having to chose between two men as she had to her first love. And the "secret" was not the terrible revelation that the flap description made it sound. It was resolved in a matter of minutes of the confrontation. I agree with a previous comment that this book reads more like Danielle Steele than the Lisa Kleypas that we've known and loved.
However, there is one issue that nagged at me most. In one interview, Lisa Kleypas expressed that this is the heroine's story and that by the end of the novel she is completely confident and triumphant. I agree that Liberty is a great (and different) heroine due to her mixed heritage and her character. What bothered me was that although Liberty is hardworking and talented, her "triumph" was really the result of a lot of anonymous help from a "sugar daddy." I have no doubt that if left to her own devices, she would succeed on her own. But that is not what happened in this book. She ends up super-rich by way of marrying into it (no matter whom she chooses). Somehow, this fact doesn't bother me when it takes place in the historical because how else would women centuries ago become rich? They were either born into it or they married into it. Because I've been spoiled by Ms. Kleypas's penchant for writing varied characters from different stations/walks/careers of life, I had hoped that Liberty would succeed completely on her own and not as a result of association with a wealthy male.
This is the first time I'm posting anything online, which demonstrates how deeply I feel about Lisa Kleypas' books Perhaps I shouldn't be comparing this book to her historicals and critique it on its own merits, which is good the first 75% of the book. I will buy the sequel to Sugar Daddy whenever it comes out, but I really wish that book to have her trademark heart-tugging romance and strong protagonists. In the meantime, I cannot wait to read her next historical, Mine `Til Midnight.
Readers here are obviously unhappy with this book, many blaming it on Kleypas' change to contemporary romance. I don't think the real root of their disappointment is that this is a contemporary work. I think the real problem is that most readers picked up this book expecting her usual romance, and instead got a different type of book.
I am a reader that knew in advance that this book wasn't going to be a romance. I began reading, knowing that this was going to be Liberty's life story. Therefore, I don't feel as disappointed as some of the other readers. I was able to really enjoy her story. These characters came alive for me more than any others in her previous works. The book was incredibly well written, but I felt disappointed with how the actual story was developed.
The scenes between Hardy & Liberty are few and far between. But those couple scenes are so incredibly powerful & moving...only Kleypas could write scenes like this. These aren't "sex scenes", these are love scenes. I prefer R-rated romance, but these love scenes are so powerful they gave me goosebumps. I read (and forget) a LOT of romance but I know the emotional intensity of these scenes will stay with me forever.
Unfortunately, the very brilliance and emotional intensity of these scenes leaves the reader feeling frustrated that so little of the book involves the two of them together. In addition, the intensity of their love far outshines the scenes between Gage & Liberty. This is why so many readers feel Liberty ended up with the wrong man.
I think this leads to another aspect that frustrates readers. Hardy is an amazingly ethical teen boy/man. He knows he'll be leaving town to make something of himself. He loves Liberty so much that he refuses to get involved in a relationship with her because he doesn't want to break her heart when he leaves. After he leaves, Liberty's life story is so well done, you don't mind waiting for them to get their Happy Ever After. When that doesn't happen, and Hardy the grown man is depicted as unethical, it is really inconsistent with how his character had been previously portrayed. Maybe it would have worked better if Gage & Liberty's love story was longer and more detailed. However, we don't get enough time with them to get attached to them as a couple. Therefore, for most of us, the book ended in a really disappointing manner.
The first-person narrative did throw me off at first, but after a few pages I got used to it. I did think that Hardy's morphing into a jerk at the end was abrupt, but his behavior made Liberty's decision that much easier.
So here's why I liked the book. I am 1) a Texan and 2) a Houstonian. Was there some stereotyping about Texas and Texans? Yes, of course. However, for the most part I thought Ms. Kleypas delivered an interesting perspective and story, and there were definitely some parts that were so true to life that I couldn't stop laughing (Huzzah for red velvet cake, liposuction, and Houston pollution!).
Moreover, I really felt myself identifying with Liberty. I've been the girl with the glasses, the girl without a father or any positive male influence, and the girl whose life was defined by money or a lack thereof. I don't know that I was as pleased by how things ended up for Liberty as I was by how hard she worked in the face of overwhelming obstacles. By the end of the book, I felt like I was reading about someone who was a success whether she ended up with a rich guy or not.