Sunday, May 12, 2013

Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas
Married by Morning is the fourth installment in Lisa Kleypas’ Hathaway series and focuses on the romance of Leo, Lord Ramsay and Catherine Marks, hired companion to Beatrix and Poppy Hathaway.  It can be a challenge to write a romance novel from the perspective of a male character, as male readers aren’t the target audience, so Kleypas attempts to deal with this difficulty by matching Leo with a character who has been present in the last two books and therefore operates as almost a fifth sister.

I’m not sure I can give this book a fair shake.  As I will mention in my review of Love in the Afternoon, I was anxious to get to Beatrix’s book and I am also usually pretty strict about not reading series books out of order.  But I broke down and began listening, and indeed finished listening, Love in the Afternoon while I was still in the midst of reading Married by Morning.  So I have to admit it got short shrift and because it wasn’t leading up to another book I was eagerly anticipating anymore, I got rather bored with it.  So it was a distracted reading, but I think the fact that it didn’t capture my attention in its own right is fair commentary.

The bottom line is that it had some things that I really liked and it had a lot of things I didn’t like.  On the plus side, I like Leo who could be the wittiest of the Hathaways, and there are some really great small scenes in the book.  The kissing game where Leo demonstrates to Marks (as he calls her) that the brain has no place in romance/love is one of the best scenes of the whole series. Leo’s courting of Catherine, particularly in the last quarter of the book is some of the most romantic and charming of the series. I enjoyed seeing Harry and Poppy again. Ummm…I liked that the ‘L’ word wasn’t bandied about too carelessly and the characters relationship had been developing in the background for a couple books?  And Marks having a mysterious past that keeps her in disguise is quite interesting.

The negative?  This book felt more contrived then the others – situations orchestrated clumsily to bring the two lovers together.  I don’t know if the situations were actually more contrived or I just wasn’t as engaged so I noticed more often.  The biggest disappointment is Catherine who despite being characterized in the other books and indeed parts of this book as a self-sufficient, brave, no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners sort of woman, often devolves into an absolute ninny. She needs not one man to save her but two. Her “disturbing” past is very gothic and its consequences that unfold in this book make little to no sense.  The final verdict was that I didn’t like this pairing very much.  I wish Catherine had been feistier and challenged Leo throughout. I think we are meant to believe that that is indeed the nature of their relationship but if so I didn’t buy it. 

So I give this one a mixed review. It had some really nice scenes and romance but because I couldn’t fully embrace the featured couple, these scenes were almost annoying as I wished they had been given to a worthier pair.  Mostly I just felt pretty blah about it without any real strong feelings either way.  For the overall series this is my least favorite, followed by Seduce me at Sunrise, Love in the Afternoon, Mine Till Midnight and finally my favorite would be Tempt me at Twilight which is interesting considering Poppy was the least distinct of the sisters.  I would recommend the series for anyone who likes Regency romances. I'd give this particular book 2.5 stars out of 5.

Have you read this one?  How does Leo rank among Paramours?  What did you think of Catherine’s tragic past and the fallout from that in the form of her character and the situations that arise in the book?  Did you like Catherine as Leo’s love interest?

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