Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas (Ravenels #4)
Released: February 27, 2018
Reviewed by Mandi
“I was taught that satisfying a woman propery should take at least as long as making dough for bread.”
Garrett writhed helplessly. “How long is that?”
“You don’t know?” he asked, amused.
“No, I can’t cook.”
I read the Publishers Weekly’s review of this book a few weeks ago, which pretty much slams it as a silly, non-plausible book and laughs it off. It made me have a scrunchy face and then I entered this book with trepidation. But I ended up really liking this one – so take that, PW! Now let me say, the heroine, Dr. Garrett Gibson, is the only female doctor in England. Having trained in France before they closed up shop to women, she has faced her fair share of struggles to be taken seriously. I know some readers are very particular when it comes to historical facts and accuracy. I’m not one of those readers – so I can’t sit here and tell you if her being a doctor in 1876 was portrayed correctly. This will be a popular book so I’m sure there will be reviews that dive deeper into the medical field.
This book gave me a swoony romance that I was not expecting. I admittedly had a preconceived notion that a female doctor in the late 1800’s would want to be independent, and not want a man or romance. I realized this about myself after Garrett is basically like – hell yes, give me all the sex and the hot man and I want to be his wife – pretty early on. (except you know – she said it with much more grace). Being a female doctor, having to run to calls in the middle of the night, Garrett sometimes runs into ruffians, or worse in her travels. She trains in fencing, and carries a cane that can do quite the damage as she is very good with it. But when she is approached by more than one man, who wants to do her harm, her fighting style, following all the fencing rules, doesn’t get the job done. But our hero is lurking in the shadows ready to help her out.
Ethan Ransom is a former detective with Scotland Yard, and now works for a secretive government agency. He was previously hired to guard Lady Helen Winterborne (from Marrying Winterborne) whom Garrett is close with. Ethan fell hard for Garrett but never let on – instead lurking in the shadows and making sure she stays safe. When she is attacked, he is quick to help her out – and tell her she needs new training. Quite offended, but realizing her advanced education will not keep her safe, she accepts training from this sexy, awkward man.
Garrett soon admits that she is twenty-nine and really wants to have sex. And a relationship. And Ethan, specifically. Ethan does the whole – I’m not good enough for you routine, at first, but it doesn’t last long. As I mentioned, Ethan works for the Home Office as a secret agent. He had a rotten childhood which has left his social skills lacking. The suspense portion of the book ramps up as Ethan isn’t sure he can trust his boss or co-worker as he digs deeper into some bad business they are involved in. I think the suspense in this one is fizzles out. And I wish we would have had a deeper look into exactly what Ethan does. He starts out so dark and mysterious, and we don’t get the best look into his profession.
I’ll get the other negatives out-of-the-way too – I think the romance is rushed. There is great sexual tension and it’s super swoony – overall, I’m a big fan of this courtship. But I also had an odd reaction when Garrett professes that she loves Ethan. I did an, oh really? Are you sure? Already?
And one other thing, and this is brought up in the PW review and I agree with it – It’s mentioned that years previously, Ethan traveled to India for training and learned the seductive art of sex. Could he not have learned this in England? Must we always associate India with exotic sex, sex, sex? Eh.
Otherwise, we get a lovely courtship. For me personally, Garrett portrayed as a doctor worked well. I really enjoyed her. And best of all, we get a hero that says the MOST romantic things!!
“He knows that where you’re concerned, I…have…a preference.” Guiding her past the palms, he opened the service door and took her to the landing of a servants’ stairwell.
“Preference,” Garrett repeated cautiously. “What does that mean? You prefer me to what?”
As they stopped in a corner, Ethan’s head and broad shoulders were silhouetted in the faint glow of a sconce on the opposite wall. She began to tremble as he stood over her, big and dark, his nearness awakening a pulse of high music in her.
“I prefer you to everything,” he said gruffly, and bent to take her mouth with his.
“The first moment I saw you, I knew you were my share of the world. I’ve always love you. If I could choose my fate, I’d never be parted from you. Acushla…pulse of my heart, breath of my soul…there’s nothing on this earth more fair and fine than you. Your shadow on the ground is sunlight to me.”
Ethan! My heart.
We also get time with West, I assume the hero of the next book, farmer, charmer….in love with someone but she hates him apparently. He is so fun.