Tempt Me at Twilight Paperback – Jan 1 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is fun and light. It is a perfect book to curl up and unwind with after a long day. I admit that I prefer contemporary romances, but Tempt Me At Twilight was good enough to make me overlook that. A warning, though: TMAT ends with a cliffhanger. I, for one, am already eager for the next installment in the series.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Enter wealthy hotel owner Harry Rutledge. He owns the hotel where her family spends the season in London. If you follow this series you will remember Beatrice of the many animal menagerie? Her ferret, Dodger, is loose in the hotel and Poppy must catch him before a love letter he has stolen causes a scandal. This clever opening to the story will have you laughing out loud as Harry and Poppy definitely "meet cute." Beatrice approves Harry immediately when she finds out he has been ferret approved. She is even more impressed when she finds out Dodger chewed a hole in his chair and Harry didn't even blink. The rest of the family is not so easily impressed.
In fact the entire family wants to murder him when they find out just how far he'll go in order to have Poppy for his wife. Believe me, he is a very bad boy. Oh, but to have a man love you like he loves Poppy? Yes, ladies, we would all give a favorite body part for a delicious man like Harry Rutledge. This is some of the best writing I have seen from Lisa Kleypas ever. It is truly a romance where we aren't just told that A loves B, we SEE it. In living color we see and hear the hero lose his heart to Poppy. I fell in love with Poppy too. She really shines in this tale and is perfect for Harry in every way.
I could go on and on about how well written this book is but don't take my word for it. You will definitely want this one on your keeper shelf so run out and get it right now so you can spend as many pleasant hours as I did. That is my only complaint about this book. It wasn't nearly long enough. Oh, and Leo is up next. This book gives us a few teasers and it looks to be another wonderful story. Unfortunately we have to wait until Summer 2010 for Leo's story. But if it is even half as good as this one I'll be satisfied. Well done, Ms. Kleypas. Very well done.
Tempt Me at Twilight has your classic heroine: Poppy is your smarter-than-average female who has trouble fitting in with the British ton. Harry is the enigmatic and slightly villainous hero. The predictability ends there because this novel is full of surprises. Unlike Amelia and Win's marriages, Poppy and Harry's occurs quite early on and under very different and difficult circumstances. What I predicted to be a problem down the road for them was actually addressed on their wedding day. Also, Harry is quite evil (I say that with a laugh and a grain of salt). On a serious note, I believed him to be the anti-hero that Sebastian should have been in Devil in Winter (though I love that book as well). He manipulated people into getting his way, but what was refreshing was that Poppy is able to handle him on her own terms. There are also introductions to interesting side characters who I hope play a part in later books, including Harry's assistant.
For those of you, like me, who were disappointed that Leo's story wasn't next after Win's (they had plenty of chemistry in her story), you won't be sorry that LK skipped them for the time being. Our favorite sparring couple has plenty of fun scenes that further develop their tempestuous relationship. We also learn a lot more about Miss Marks' mysterious past and Tempt Me at Twilight even ends on a cliffhanger for the two.
Why did I give Tempt Me at Twilight 4 stars? I felt a small bit unsatisfied with the development of Poppy and Harry's relationship. I got a little of the we-fight-to-make-up feeling from it, but overall, I think they are a passionate and fitting couple. I highly recommend this book and can't wait until the summer for Leo's story!
MAIN CHARACTERS, Harry Rutledge and Poppy Hathaway:
Harry (early 30s) is a wonderful hero - the kind of bad-guy-whom-we-love-to-love hero that Kleypas created for Dreaming of You, The Devil in Winter, and Where Dreams Begin. Harry is ruthless, complex, very emotionally closed-off, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants - which usually comes very easily to him now. However he's also fair, humorous, extremely hardworking and intelligent, intense, passionate, loyal, and can be extremely tender and sensitive.
Here LK has created a "hero" à la Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent (from DEVIL IN WINTER), because as Harry himself says in the scene that was being used as the teaser-excerpt: in this story, it's the villain of the fairy-tale who gets the princess, not the prince. Harry definitely does some questionable things, though I would say that Kleypas does a very good job of having her character toe the line, but never quite crossing it - and writing him in such a way that one can't help but understand why Poppy is so attracted and drawn to him, because frankly what woman wouldn't be?! Basically, you know him ... he's the bad/cold guy who just secretly (even unconsciously) wants to love and cuddle / be loved and cuddled but was - surprise, surprise - just waiting (even if he didn't know it) for the right woman to come along. Let's not even pretend that we don't all (or okay, to be fair, *most* all of us) absolutely **LOVE** this type of hero, lol.
Poppy (23) is a great counterbalance to Harry - as he so eloquently puts it in one scene in the book when he compares her to a clock mechanism ;-). She's charming, friendly, outgoing, loving, intelligent, and a wonderful conversationalist (sounds like a mundane attribute, but really isn't in this case) who is interested by almost everything and everyone. All Poppy has ever wanted is a calm and quiet life - something not often found in the Hathaway household - with a partner whom she loves, and though she thinks she has found this in the form of Michael Bayning, Harry maneuvers everything so that ... well, let's just say that path becomes somewhat obstructed for Poppy.
I liked Poppy's freshness and honesty - there is no guile with her and it's easy to see why someone like Harry (or anyone, for that matter) would be drawn to her. One of the things I loved best about Poppy was that she wasn't written as being so perfect that it was almost hard to like her or feel any kinship with her; she has flaws - though admittedly not as many as Harry, lol - and there's one scene in particular where after speaking with Leo about something, she decides that she was in the wrong and is going to apologize. If you want to know what other LK heroines she's most like, I would probably say a combination of Sara Fielding (DREAMING OF YOU) for her honesty and friendliness, Daisy Bowman (Scandal in Spring) for her simplicity and positivity, and Charlotte Howard (Worth Any Price) for how her relationship with the hero is portrayed and in the way that he needs/wants her.
We see lots of the whole Hathaway clan (and are given great teasers about Leo and Marks, see P.S. for more details) and the staff of the Rutledge Hotel are great additions to the book. They really add to the story, as well as giving further depth to Harry and the relationship he develops with Poppy. They also provide some wonderful humor, which is always a great thing for any romance book, and this book definitely has some of the LOL scenes that I always come to treasure in LK's novels - one of the greatest ones is when the hotel top-staff are in the kitchen discussing the intimate side (or lack thereof) of Harry and Poppy's relationship and the chef is making all these vegetable metaphors. :-))) Couldn't stop laughing!
The "there's-something-missing-but-I'm-not-exactly-sure-what" factor is hard to describe because, yes, I'm not exactly sure what it is. The whole relationship feels somewhat rushed to me and takes place over a shorter period of time than I feel is usually used in Kleypas' books (at least in her historicals). Because they know each other for so little time and the period (time-wise) that the book covers is somewhat on the short side, I think that the development of their relationship seems a little rushed or stilted, not containing as much plausible depth as some of Kleypas' other main characters, and problems that dog the story and their marriage seem to conclude almost too quickly right before the end.
Also, although the chemistry between Harry and Poppy is definitely there, it's not AS shimmery/practically-tangible as in some of her other novels. Compared to a lot of other authors out there, it's still absolutely wonderful and excellently written when it is there and you definitely will NOT feel like you were short-changed on the romance part - however compared to the first two Hathaway books (Mine Till Midnight and Seduce Me at Sunrise), it just was not as "charged."
Finally, most authors have to include some mystery/villain twist at the end and LK provides this obligatory plot twist. I myself thought it seemed a bit superfluous and could have been done without, but no more details since then I would have to include spoilers.
It's still a great read, and I definitely do NOT regret rushing out this morning and buying it at the nearest bookstore (my apologies, Amazon.com). We're teased at the end that Summer 2010 will see - get this - TWO NEW HISTORICAL ROMANCES by LK. Yes, I know, take a moment to sit down, take a deep breath, and collect yourself (... or was that just my reaction?). They are the remaining two books in the Hathaway series: MARRIED BY MORNING and LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON.
P.S. FOR ALL THE LEO AND MISS MARKS FANS (i.e. everyone in existence who is aware of them):
The rumor is that MARRIED BY MORNING is Leo's story (and Marks/Catherine/Cat's, because really, it's just too cruel to even IMAGINE she's not his heroine) and will be the next Hathaway book released - I don't know about the rest of you, but even the thought of the Leo/Cat story has me jumping up and down like a kid in a candy store (but no pressure LK, lol). As other reviews mention, this book is choc-a-bloc FULL of little teasers and further developments in their relationship (plus some new and *very interesting* disclosures about Cat's past - though still not everything, of course). Whenever their book finally DOES come out, it will be an absolute must to reread the previous Hathaway books first so the anticipation can really build ... and then we can just wallow in enjoyment, lol. I can (seriously) barely contain my excitement - good to know I have a whole ~10 months to work on it ::sigh::.
For mini-micro-spoilers about both books (though really mini when it comes to LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON) go to this interview with Lisa Kleypas that was posted the day after this book came out (Amazon took out the link, so I posted it in the comments section). Thank you to L. ROACH for the post about it; the spoiler for MARRIED BY MORNING is absolutely great and is a definite must-read if you're left wondering about a certain exchange between Leo and Cat at the end of the book.
UPDATE, 6/4/2010: Reread and am changing my rating to 3.5 stars; agree with my criticisms and saw all these points as way more of an issue this time. I think the first reading I was somewhat blinded by my excitement to have a new Kleypas book.
I'm not saying this book was horrible, there were just a few inconsistences. I gave it 3 stars because I liked some parts of the book, e.g., when Michael crashed the wedding and told on Harry and I liked the story around the hotel staff.
Overall, it wasn't the best I've read and it wasn't the worst. Many of you will disagree with me, I'm sure...but I'm glad I read it, it was somewhat entertaining.
As for this story, it was awesome. Kleypas writes her men just how I like them, big and alpha, but totally in love with their leading ladies. Harry, a ruthless hotel owner, is in complete control of everyone and everything around him. When he meets Poppy, the third in the line of Hathaways, he is smitten with her intelligence and charm and decides he'll marry her by any means necessary. Harry does some nefarious things to get to his goal, but he never does anything I couldn't forgive him for. The coversations between Poppy and Harry are witty and flirty, and as always Kleypas' characters are so engrossing that you really care about them. The other Hathaways play important roles in the story, which makes all us series fans happy to read (but Poppy's little childhood problem of being a klepto is never brought up.) Poppy is a young lady shaped by a family who loves her, and her gentle, understanding influence on Harry helps him to have a healthy relationship with her and those he cares about. As I've already stated, my favorite part about any Kleypas story is how much the heroes love their heroines. This writer has a talent for humor, realistic dialogue, and passionate love scenes. Unlike many romance novels, the relationship and feelings develop before the sex scenes, and it makes the love seem more real.
Ms. Kleypas you are the queen. Everyone who reads romance novels should read this book and every single book that Lisa Kleypas has written.