Love in the Afternoon

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A Paperback Literati Book Review

Submitted: September 13, 2010

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Submitted: September 13, 2010

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Love in the Afternoon
by Lisa Kleypas
St. Martin’s Paperbacks, St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 978-0-312-60539-1
Genre: Historical Romance – 1855 England, 332 pp.
Hurry up postman, run don’t walk for this is love and not just talk
Beatrix Hathaway is an animal lover, an eloquent letter writer, and a kleptomaniac. In Love in the Afternoon, Kleypas gives her a reason to practice all three skills. It all starts with a dog. No, wait, it starts with a letter. Okay the story really starts with a letter about a dog. But it isn’t really about the dog. Mostly. Any reader familiar with Lisa Kleypas knows that she can weave words into beautiful tapestries; in this case it is a tapestry of dogs playing poker.
Everyone knows the Hathaways are odd and poor Beatrix just may be the oddest of all. In one of those quick decisions that seem perfectly harmless at the time, Beatrix agrees to correspond with a soldier fighting in the Crimea when her friend Pru grows bored with his talk of war and mules and dogs. But the pen really is mightier than the sword and Beatrix’s letters become Captain Christopher Phelan’s lifeline back to jolly old England.
“I didn’t mean to send love letters, but that is what they became. 
On their way to you, my words turned into heartbeats on the page.”
Love in the Afternoon is a fun read. It is fast-paced with natural sounding dialogue and just enough humor to hold even the most jaded of romance readers’ complete attention. The attraction between Beatrix and Christopher grows at a believable pace giving Kleypas the time to enrich the story with subtle shades of detail and exposition. Captain Phelan is a complex character with room in his heart for love but the yoke of survivors guilt choking the life from him. 
Beatrix is a bit of a contradiction in that she can train and control any sort of animal no matter how wild or seemingly vicious, but she’s very passive with other people. Kleypas uses more of her weakness than her strength in her growing relationship with Captain Phelan in that it is Beatrix who allows him to vent, pout, drink, curse and act like an idiot without trying to control him in any way. It is her silent strength that attracts Christopher to her again and again and breaks him out of his hard candy shell so that they may enjoy the creamy nougat of true love.
This book isn’t without flaws; there are a few things that are not well explained which will leave a reader shaking their head and snidely muttering “really?” under their breath.  I find I can forgive Kleypas a lot of things since the overall story will be satisfying, the sex will be hot and the ending will always be blissfully happy. Read this book with your favorite pet curled up on your lap, or your teddy bear, or just a wad of fuzzy socks fresh from the dryer.


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