Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)

Cold-Hearted Rake Summary:
A twist of fate . . .

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills . . .

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

Cold-Hearted Rake Review:
Let me start off by saying JUNE IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! So for the next week I’m going to be posting reviews of new books since they all came out this month.

This is my first time trying another author for Historical Romance. I started reading this and halfway through realized that this is part of a bigger world. If you want to start this series, you might want to start off reading the first book in this world: Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers #1). This is what I’m reading now.

I went into this book thinking it was bad because of many reviews I read. I was half in their court, half in the lover’s. The characters, while believable were not strong as a couple but as individuals had a passable personality. The story and world-building were incredibly well developed. From this point, be cautious that I might swear, if you don’t like that kinda stuff.

This is my first Lisa Kleypas book, and it’s different to see a hero that has such a glaring flaw in his personality. For Devon, that meant that he is incredibly selfish and a major asshole. Kathleen, like every heroine is determined but incredibly innocent.

So let’s start off with Devon. He starts off as a major asshole. He is incredibly rude to everyone and can’t even believe that his own brother can do something good with this life.

"There was nothing in the world that Devon would love more than the sight of Kathleen rain-soaked and bedraggled. He had to restrain himself from rubbing his hands together in villainous glee.

“There’s no need to send a footman,” he said casually. “I’m certain that Lady Trenear will have the sense to stay at the tenant farm until the rain passes.”
“Yes, but the downs will have turned to mud.”
Better and better. Kathleen, wading through mud and clay. Devon fought to keep his expression grave, when inside all was joy and exploding Roman candles. He went to the window. No rain yet, but dark clouds seeped through the sky like ink on wet parchment. “We’ll wait a bit longer. She could return momentarily.”

She did not deserve to be left walking in the mud alone in the middle of the storm. But, if you can see through your haze of anger, Devon does help Kathleen…and then Helen, Kathleen’s sister, acts like he is this honorable hero. The standards that some women have for a hero needs to really be improved. He also ruined it with his justification.

“Now the idea of Kathleen being caught out in that tempest alone was no longer enjoyable.
It was intolerable.
Cursing beneath his breath, Devon pushed back from the desk. “If you’ll excuse me, Lady Helen…”
“You’ll send a footman after Kathleen?” Helen asked hopefully.
“No. I’ll fetch her myself.”
She looked relieved. “Thank you, my lord. How kind you are!”
“It’s not kindness.” Devon headed to the doorway. “I’m only doing it for the chance of seeing her ankle-deep in mud.”

Luckily he does change into a sweeter(?) character. And he does work incredibly hard to fix the ruined estate. He and West, his brother, quickly learns how to manage an estate with it’s finances, new and old technology. They do have to make some choices that may be bad for the tenants at the time, but will reimburse them soon. I loved the development between West and Devon. When they both changed some of their vices, they could learn about each other and worked well together. They also managed to have quite a few hilarious moments, but they were still very rakish (new word from this book) through some of these scenes.

“When I die," he continued, "you're next in line."
"Do you actually believe I'll outlive you?" West asked. "With my vices?"
"I have just as many."
"Yes, but I'm far more enthusiastic about mine.”


“You took Theo's title and his home," West continued in appalled disbelief, "and now you want his wife."
"His widow," Devon muttered.
"Have you seduced her?"
"Not yet."
West clapped his hand to his forehead. "Christ. Don't you think she's suffered enough?”


“Has anyone been corrupted or defiled?"
"Since the age of twelve," West said.
"I wasn't asking you, I was asking the girls."
"Not yet," Cassandra replied cheerfully.”

This quote below is very sweet but I don’t know if the feelings they had between them would be called love. More like physical attraction than any deep feelings for each other.

“Time is what I'm giving you," he said, staring down at her. His hand curved beneath her chin, compelling her to look at him. "There's only one way for me to prove that I will love you and be faithful to you for the rest of my life. And that's by loving you and being faithful to you for the rest of my life. Even if you don't want me. Even if you choose not to be with me. I'm giving you all the time I have left. I vow to you that from this moment on, I will never touch another woman, or give my heart to anyone but you. If I have to wait sixty years, not a minute will have been wasted- because I'll have spent all of them loving you.”

The two were constantly bickering, at times it was funny…

“I suppose you'd have ten wives if you could."
"I'd be sufficiently miserable with one. The other nine would be redundant.”

Other times it was irritating. If they weren’t bickering, they were having some sort of physical encounter. Obviously, there were some moments where they were just talking to each other, but that was rare.

Kathleen on the other hand started off very strong. She would stand up for what she believed in and didn’t fall into a melting puddle every time she saw Devon. She had a spine was not afraid to draw blood when Devon was crossing a line. That very quickly changed a third of the way through the book. Also, let me say that the main reason that Devon started to pursue Kathleen because of her looks. Love at first sight they say.

Eventually she fell into Devon’s charms. At times she would back, but many times she was a pushover. By the end of the novel she had almost no backbone to whatever Devon wanted to do to her. Mind you, he didn’t force her to have unwanted sex or beat her if he said no. He was very adamant about not forcing her into anything. And when you have a heroine like Kathleen, it was quite easy for her to say yes.

Right after Kathleen overheard Devon say he would care for the estate, the two had a big fight. Right after Devon chased her down and fought with her again. Before he could do much, he lifted her veil to be amazed by her face, as I said above. And then she promised him a tour of the place. Throughout the book she is shown to fight and then revert back to a ‘proper’ female in society. This brought another point I liked about Devon. He didn’t believe in forcing a woman into the mourning period if they didn’t actually love their husband.

The final problem was how controlling Kathleen was about Helen and Rhys, Helen’s suitor. The minute Kathleen saw Rhys, she despised him and tried to keep Helen away from him no matter Helen’s feelings. It was irritating and hypocritical, since she couldn’t stand if anyone tried to tell her what to do.

“I don’t know.” Helen winced and gasped. “My head is throbbing. Right now I feel as if I never want to see him again. Please, would you give me some more Godfrey’s Cordial?” This is what Helen said.

“In my opinion… she will need a husband with a placid temperament. One who will allow her to develop at her own pace…She said earlier today that she has no wish to see you again.” This is what Kathleen told to Rhys. And no, this was no the only part of their conversation, there was much, much more of KATHLEEN’s opinion.

Devon improved his character and Kathleen did the opposite. Together, they were not very well matched and needed a lot more emotional development. Their family on the other hand, were wonderful. They had lots of comic relief and helped to develop the plot. It was quite fascinating to see the development of technology through this era. Ms. Kleypas is incredible at writing in the historical world. She fully understood what were the leading powers in that time, how times were shifting and each character would fit into the time period.

Here are some moments of comic relief…

“West stood and strode to the door. “Is this what it’s like to have a family?” he asked irritably. “Endless arguing, and talking about feelings from dawn to dusk? When the devil can I do as I please and not have to account to a half-dozen people for it?”
“When you live alone on an island with a single palm tree and a coconut,” Kathleen snapped. “And even then, I’m sure you would find the coconut far too demanding.”

I would have added more quotes, but this was already three pages on word...so this is the shortened version, if you can believe that!

Overall, it was a great way to get into the historical genre. 4 star read. The characters were alright, but the plot, side characters and world building were very captivating. I’m off to reading the first in this world series so I can better understand the third book in the Ravenels series. I am also excited for the next book in this series which was about Helen and Rhys, their story already starting to develop in Cold-Hearted Rake.

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