Dreaming of You (Gamblers of Craven #2)

Dreaming of You (The Gamblers, #2)Dreaming of You Summary:
She stood at danger's threshold—then love beckoned her in.

In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Feilding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven—and into Derek Craven's dangerous world.

A handsome, tough and tenacious Cockney, he rose from poverty to become lord of London's most exclusive gambling house—a struggle that has left Derek Craven fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he allow Sara Fielding into his world—with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But here, in a perilous shadow-realm of ever-shifting fortunes, even a proper "mouse" can be transformed into a breathtaking enchantress—and a world-weary gambler can be shaken to his cynical core by the power of passion...and the promise of love.

Dreaming of You Review:
Warning: There may be mild spoilers below, but don’t worry, most of them are obvious because this is a romance novel.

What an amazing book! By far the best in this series and one of Kleypas’ best books! It started off as a typical romance but ended off with a beautiful romance that truly takes you on a journey. Kleypas found her place in this series because there was a much stronger connection between the characters and the story telling has definitely improved. Both characters were REALLY different and that made the classic tale that opposites attract into a remarkable love story.

“Derek returned her gaze, idly stroking her hair and back. “What is it, angel?”
“You told me once you didn’t know how ‘happy’ feels.”
“I remember.”
“And now?”
Derek regarded her for a long moment, then pulled her flat against him, locking her in his arms. “It’s this,” he said, his voice slightly hoarse. “Right here and now.”
And she rested against his heart, content.”

Sara Fielding was such a weird heroine in the beginning (In the best way possible). She is an amazing author who writes about social and political issues in Victorian Society. It’s a courageous and daunting task especially because she is a woman. The job requires her to travel to dangerous parts of London for research and that’s how she stumbles upon Derek, as he is getting attacked in an alley. It is her innocence, curiosity and naiveté that is astounding and endearing, especially to Derek.

“She wondered if the men coming and going from the gambling hell would be able to answer her questions. Most of them were quite disreputable, with unshaven faces and poor hygiene. Perhaps it would be unwise to ask them anything—they might not welcome an interruption in their evening revels. On the other hand, she needed to talk to them for the sake of her book. And Sara was always careful not to judge people by outward appearances.”

Derek Craven is the exact opposite. Hardened by life with no hopes for a good future Derek is crass, rude and cynical. He puts on a careless façade to defend against others who could come to care for him.

“He stood there frozen in defeat, with all the warmth and promise of her in his arms…and he couldn’t allow himself to take what she offered. He’d never felt so worthless, so much a fraud. Perhaps for a day, a week, he could be what she wanted. But no longer than that. He had sold his honor, his conscience, his body, anything he could use to escape the lot he’d been given in life. And now, with all his great fortune, he couldn’t buy back what he’d sacrificed. Were he capable of tears, he would have shed them. Instead he felt numbing coldness spread through his body, filling up the region where his heart should have been.”

He erected this barrier because he feels that the doesn’t deserve anything good and that flaw in his character is the opening for Sara to blindside him. Before he can realize what has happened, he has fallen in love with Sara and is ruined to all other women. We see the golden, but deeply broken heart that lies within him, and when awakened shows his vast potential for love.

“He was so far from the gallant knights in her romantic fantasies ... He was tarnished, scarred, imperfect.
Deliberately he had destroyed any illusions she might have had about him, exposing his mysterious past for the ugly horror that it was. His purpose had been to drive her away. But instead she felt closer to him, as if the truth had bonded them in a new intimacy.”

Alex and Lily come back into this novel and they make a stunning pair. Their book was not very strong but you can see their love shine through in this novel. They did not steal the show, instead worked in the background to help Sara and Derek. It was really great to revisit their new family.

Alex sighed with tremendous relief. “Thank God,” he muttered, and went to his carriage. He couldn’t wait to tell Lily the good news. In fact, he might decide never to let Lily out of his sight again. He rubbed his tired eyes and spoke to the coachman. “Well, Craven’s got his second chance. As for me…I’m going home to my wife now. Step lively about it.”
“It’s like that, is it, m’lord?” the coachman asked cheekily, and Alex gave him a wry grin.
“Let’s go.”

This will be a spoiler when I talk about this. The last thing that was spectacular about this book was how Derek treated kids. He loved Sara because she found a way into her heart. And because Derek never had any parental figure or someone to take care of, you would think that he wouldn't know how to deal with kids. For Derek, his baby comes at a bittersweet moment and shows how his character has changed.

"Sara had expected that he would be a kind but uninvolved father. He had never known the relationship between parent and child before. She had thought he might preserve a careful distance between himself and the baby. Instead he loved his daughter with open adoration. Often he would tuck her in the crook of his arm and parade her before guests as if a baby were a lovely miracle none of them had ever seen before. He thought her prodigiously clever for holding his finger, for kicking her legs, for making adorable sounds, for doing all the things that babies usually did…except that in his opinion his daughter did them far better."

Okay, the spoiler is over.

Overall this book is a 5 star read, duh! Everything about this book was perfect, a splendid way to end this series! It was beautiful, passionate, realistic and shows what romance is really about. This book shows when Kleypas found her place in HR and demolished all standards. It is this standard that made her so popular and made the Wallflowers and the Hathaways captivating.

P.S. Did anyone else get Jane Eyre vibes after the climax of the book? With the fire, redemption and new love?

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