Illustrator: Max Ginsburg
Book Series: Gamblers Duo #1
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era Romance
Format: Audiobook, eBook, Paperback
Buy on: Amazon
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader
MILD SPOILERS 😉
Then Came You written by Lisa Kleypas is easily one of my favorite romances. It has all the key elements to make this one I would adore. There’s a strong-willed (but charmingly so) heroine, a hero in my all-time hall-of-fame, steamy love scenes, and a magnificent love story.
Not to mention a captivating side character who earned his own book and would show up in about a dozen Kleypas novels.
A Heroine to Remember
The heroine of Then Came You was, at the time of the book’s initial release, a unique female protagonist. Today, Romancelandia is replete with hoydenish, unmarried non-virgins who thumb their noses at conventional rules. Back in 1993, the wild Lily Lawson was most unusual for a historical romance heroine.
The novel begins with Lily aboard a fancy sea vessel for a daytime event that bores her senseless. She allows her hat to fly off into the waters of the Thames in an attempt to prod her male admirers into fetching it for her. The reserved Lord Alex Raiford looks on, disgusted by her antics.
Lily is on the fringes of polite society as she is estranged from her family for her shocking behavior. Many years ago, she was involved in a love affair with an Italian gentleman who turned out to be a cad.
Now, she takes pleasure in shocking the ton. Upon hearing that her dear sister has been forced into a betrothal to the stuffed-shirt Lord Raiford and cannot marry the man she loves, “Lawless” Lily Lawson–as she is called–is determined to save the day.
She will use all her will and wiles to stop Raiford from marrying her sister.
A Hero to Die For
When Lily does succeed, Alex vows revenge and in scene after memorable scene, his vengeance turns to passion. (I admit to fanning myself to Alex’s reaction when Lily is painted with a serpent on her flesh!) Then passion yields to love when he realizes that Lily’s outward behavior is just a cover for the dark secrets that torment her.
Lord Raiford is a responsible man. He has a little brother to care for and estates to run. He was looking for a responsible bride to round out his life.
Alex’s first fiancee died in a horseback riding accident, so Alex is hesitant to get close to anyone, especially a woman of such a free spirit. If you know me and my reviews, you know where I stand on that trope, but here it’s no ghost who’s part of the conflict.
Lily has gained even more notoriety as the only female allowed to gamble in a gaming hell belonging to Derek Craven. Lily even shares a bit of chemistry with the sexy, snaggle-toothed proprietor.
Many Kleypas fans prefer Derek, the hero of this book’s sequel, Dreaming of You, as their favorite Kleypas MC. (Or Sebastian from The Devil in Winter which I haven’t read yet.) As for me, I think Alex Raiford was the better man. He’s strong, kind, intense, and deeply loyal.
Although, the scene where Alex confronts Craven about being Lily’s lover does make Derek look amazing!
There are more obstacles preventing Lily and Alex from being together besides being polar opposites who butt heads.
But Alex’s surprising love will make Lily’s impossible dreams come true. I can’t help but gush over a hero like Alex. He’s principled, a little uptight, beautiful, and great with kids!
Final Analysis for Then Came You
What to say about Then Came You? Lisa Kleypas proved herself to me as one of the best writers in the modern era of romance.
There’s so much to appreciate here: an assertive, unconventional heroine, a virtuous hero I adore, and a wonderfully plotted affair. This is one of my all-time favorites!
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