Reading Notes: Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

I enjoyed Devil’s Daughter a lot. Phoebe is a widow with two sons. West is a former bad boy who’s changed his ways, not because love reformed him, but because he decided to. And there’s the first hit. He’s already a reformed dude because HE decided to.

West bullied Phoebe’s late husband when they were boys, and here’s the second hit—Phoebe decides to not hang the man for the boy, and West’s bullying has some believable backstory.

And now for the third and the best bit: Phoebe reaches the conclusion that “a heart could make as much as room as love needed” on her own. I love that so very much. It’s so refreshing, and mature, and adult-like. West isn’t pursuing her. There’s no external circumstance which leads her to this place—it’s she, herself, who chooses this.

We see this over and over in the story. There’s no ridiculous misunderstanding because of lack of communication (well West tries to but thankfully clears it up almost right away). Despite her promise to her late husband to think of Edward Larson, his cousin, as her next husband, she, “didn’t agree to sacrifice [her] own judgement.” In her words, “I promised to consider the idea because it was what Henry wanted. But I may never marry at all. Or I may marry someone other than Edward.” Similarly, West has his own demons to deal with, and his realization that he will have to start trusting, comes (mostly!) from within him.

I also appreciated that Edward, the other contender for Phoebe’s hand, didn’t just (un)propitiously drop in while West was with Phoebe.

(Having said that, I did wonder why, at the start of the story, in a dinner which was for intimate friends and family, Lady Colwick was present. She seems to have been there purely to nudge Phoebe and West into conversing with one another which feels a little contrived, but is something that I can overlook it because the banter between West & Phoebe is totally worth it.)

I like a story where the character’s growth is more internal-driven than because of external conflicts (though those can be great too!), and this fits the bill perfectly!

Hello!

I’ve been AWOL for a while, and that state of affairs might very well continue for some time—and yes, this is happening while we’re in the middle of a Middlemarch readalong which I am supposed to be hosting! A proper hostess, I shall not make, it appears. BUT I am so, so SO appreciative of both Laila and Valancy who have continued to read and post their reviews despite my AWOL-ness! I love thinking that maybe that’s because they’re both enjoying the book too much to let anything interfere with it! THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH!

You can read their reviews of Book 4, Three Love Problems and Book 5, The Dead Hand at the following links:

Valancy
Book 4
Book 5

Laila
Book 4
Book 5

As for me, things have been really busy offline. Happily so, I might add! I’ve hosted family and friends, visited the west coast (I live on the east), driven to Niagara Falls and back, attended a friend’s wedding in another state, discussed some big life changes with husband, and all of these since just my last post! To be honest, I’m just not feeling like reading/writing that much these days.

I’m still continuing with Middlemarch and hope to write a little bit about that even though I am way behind the schedule. I’m just about to finish book 4 even though by this time I was supposed to be nearing the end of book 6! The funny thing is that I kind of don’t mind this “falling behind-ness,” you know? This break feels right.

I also finished a category romance that I LOVED, Shanon Kendrick’s The Greek’s Marriage Bargain (thanks Sunita for the recommendation!), a historical romance that I didn’t (Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Leopard Prince—I had such high hopes for it but it felt. . . too. . . over-the-top-ish to me), and that’s about it.

I have returned most of the library books, and put all my holds on freeze for the near future. Basically, I don’t have any reading plans for the next few weeks, and I’m quite ok with that! I LIKE this ebb and flow!

What about you guys? I’m sure you must have had/have your phases too, don’t you? What phase are you in right now? Do you have any specific plans in the offing? I’d love to know!