SEDUCE ME AT SUNRISE Lisa Kleypas
St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 978-0-312-94981-5
October 2008
Historical Romance

London , England , 1851

Kev Merripen and Winnifred Hathaway have a history together that goes back over twelve years. Winnifred had a happy family life with her mother and father, sisters Amelia, Poppy, and Beatrix and brother Leo. Then a half dead Romany, or Gypsy boy, Merripen, was rescued by her father and came to live with them. For young Winnifred, Merripen was her true love, and nothing could change that for her. Until Leo's girlfriend Laura, Leo, and Winnifred contract scarlet fever. Laura dies, Leo survives, but Winnifred is close to death. Merripen devotes himself to seeing to her every need during the days of fever and illness. He even has some medicine that he will use if Winnifred should die, no way will he be able to live without her. Winnifred survives, but is left faint, light headed, and frail. The family decides to send her to a clinic in France to recover. Winnifred longs to be the energetic type of woman Merripen needs, able to live and love as he deserves, so three years away from home will make it all worthwhile someday. Three years later Winnifred is back, ready to claim Merripen for her own, no matter what roadblocks he puts in the way.

Merripen had a childhood with his Romany family and his uncle that has scarred him for life. Trained to be a fighter in street fairs, Merripen beat up other people for sport and money, and if he didn't perform well, his uncle beat him again. He slept on straw, ate what he could steal, and lived a wretched life until left for dead on the ground by his uncle and his Romany tribe. Taken in near death by the Hathaway family, he had no idea why they would bother with a Gypsy like himself. He was ready to sneak out as soon as he could...until he met the love of his life, the Hathaway daughter Winnifred. Just listening to her talk made him feel as if he was home. When she combed his hair and cut it, he could barely breathe for the ecstasy running through his veins. Merripen can do nothing but remain with the family and help out as he can, repairing things and taking care of the house until scarlet fever attacks Winnifred, and Merripen is scared his heart will die if anything happens to her. But Winnifred leaves for France , and Merripen takes on the rebuilding of the Hathaway estate after a fire. But when Win returns years later, Merripen is paralyzed with fear. Now Win is back, and Merripen is all betwixt and between what lengths he can go to to save Win from himself once and for all. He is not good enough for the love of his life, and yet her doctor, Dr. Harrow, returns with her and is anxious to make her his wife. Can Merripen let the love of his life go to someone else because he feels unworthy?

Gypsies (the Romany people) roamed England and Ireland , and they were looked down upon as unclean, thieves, and generally a lower class than the English. When Win's sister marries a wealthy Romany, Cam Rohan, he takes on the whole family as his responsibility, especially Merripen, with the unusual tattoo on his back. A tattoo that is also on Cam 's back. Cam was taken to London at a young age and left at a gaming hell, and he worked his way up to running the business and making extraordinary amounts of money. In fact, it's a joke that no matter how dumb the idea, Cam will make unseemly amounts of money investing in it. But Cam goes to every Gypsy camp that goes by, asking if they know of his family or what the strange tattoos mean. Cam is determined to find the connection between them, and despite Merripen's hostility, he continues to search out the roots of their early lives.

Lisa Kleypas once again exceeds all my expectations in SEDUCE ME AT SUNRISE with an exciting, thrilling historical novel. Her stories always start off interesting, and are never loaded down with too many details or too few, everything is in perfect balance, and she excels in exploring characters who are fresh, different, and likable. Win is a spunky, feminine woman who has known her heart ever since the first day she met Merripen. She accepted her disability and yet she knew what she needed to do to be a wife to him -- she must get well and healthy so that married life could be normal and not full of worries over her health. Merripen is an enigma even to himself, the Gypsy life left such an impression on him that he cannot break its bonds. The only thing that has remained a constant in his life is his devotion to Win, and since the first day he met her he has obsessed over her. Without Win, life is truly not worth living, yet his history surely makes him unclean as a mate for his beloved. Merripen is a man who would gladly lay down his life for Win, no questions asked. Who can resist a man like that?

As is usual in a Lisa Kleypas novel, there are many characters, each better than the next. Amelia, Win's sister, is married to a Gypsy, Cam Rohan. Cam also has a deep and abiding love for his wife, and putting up with her large and boisterous family delights him in all ways. Poppy and Beatrix are the younger sisters, and Leo is the brother, sent to France with Win during her rehabilitation and to get over his misery over losing his love, Laura, to the same scarlet fever that attacked Win. Each member of the family is a delight to meet, and the depths of emotions and love they have for each other is shown magnificently.

SEDUCE ME AT SUNRISE is a spectacular story that continues the saga of the Hathaway family. Amelia and Cam 's story was begun in MINE TILL MIDNIGHT (October 2007).

For a trip into romance, devotion, and family love, SEDUCE ME AT SUNRISE will meet and surpass all your expectations.

Carolyn Crisher