IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN - Lisa Kleypas
Wallflower Series , Book 2
A Perfect 10
Stony Cross Park, Hampshire, England - 1843
Lillian Bowman is the second of the four Wallflowers, girls who are always ignored at all the ton functions, despite their families' wealth. Annabelle Hunt was the first to find her rich husband, Simon Hunt, in SECRETS OF A SUMMER NIGHT, and now it's Lillian's turn. As Lillian and her sister Daisy go to a perfumery, Lillian is sold perfume with a secret ingredient guaranteed to make magic happen. Lillian figures she needs all the magic she can get, as a brash New Yorker in England, her personality is hard to fit in with the oh-so-prim and proper English. Lillian's mother, Mercedes, is bound and determined her girls will find themselves rich, titled Englishmen, a popular activity for other rich American mamas. The house party for the next month at Lord Westcliff's estate is a brilliant opportunity for Lillian and Daisy to meet with the best of the ton .
Lord Westcliff is so exasperated when he hears the Bowman sisters are attending his house party that he can't stand it. Ever since he and Simon saw the Wallflowers playing the baseball-type game, rounders, in their undergarments several months ago, just the thought of Lillian peeves him. Those American women just have no manners, and even though his sister thinks it's funny, he tries his best to avoid them, especially Lillian. Marcus Westcliff's father was harsh and a perfectionist; only by some innate nobility did Marcus escape inheriting his humorlessness and austere personality.
During Marcus's house party, he and Lillian are thrown together, and for some reason every time she gets close to him, he loses all his vaunted self control and becomes a man driven by lust and feelings he's never had to deal with. Lillian wonders, is it her perfume? Her friends try it, but no such reactions occur when they are around Marcus or any of the other men. As Lillian tries to control her lively personality, she gradually finds that Marcus isn't the old prig he's always appeared to be. After hearing of his life with his father, Lillian wonders how Marcus can be the tender and sensitive, albeit the very confident man that he is. Sebastian St. Vincent is also contemplating a pursuit of Lillian, as Marcus ponders whether he should marry a society woman with the prerequisite English breeding that is so important to his mother. Even though Marcus tries to tell his body "no", something inhabits him whenever Lillian comes around. Is he willing to let St. Vincent , a known seducer of women, court Lillian, whom he finds he can't live without?
Never fear, this second in Lisa Kleypas Wallflower Series is another outstanding historical novel with her sure and steady touch. As usual, the writing is perfection itself; the gradual building of a relationship and its many facets is handled expertly. We anticipate each meeting between the characters and are never disappointed in the direction the story goes.
Secondary characters are rich in detail and important to the story. The three other Wallflowers remain in the background, letting the light shine on Lillian. Marcus, who has been featured in other Lisa Kleypas novels, is a deep, dignified and upright man, and a man to be respected. As he begins to care about Lillian, he has to rethink what type of life he wants to live, and whether a society wife is what will make him happy. His friend, Simon Hunt, and especially his friend, Sebastian St. Vincent, are also integral to the story. But it is when Lillian and Marcus are together that the others fade into the background and we can't think of anything other than them.
IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN is well worth the wait in anticipating Lisa Kleypas second story in the Wallflower Series . The next novel, DEVIL IN WINTER, will feature Evangeline Jenner and the very same wicked, debauched, amoral, and also broke, nobleman St. Vincent . IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN entirely stands alone as a shining gem of Ms. Kleypas's writing, and I cannot help but give it RRT'S Perfect 10 distinction.