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.
Come back, please come home and find me.
Ahhh Beatrix, I loved this character and was intrigued by her for quite a while. From all the Hathaway sisters, she's the one who really made me curious. The girl who loves animals and can't seem to really adjust to society's rules and regulations -- uncivilized, direct and honest Beatrix. Who in that society could ever love her, right?
I'm so glad that in the end, Lisa Kleypas found the right touch and wrote a great romance for Beatrix. Kleypas begins Love in the Afternoon with a love letter and sets the tone for Beatrix Hathaway and Christopher Phelan' romance.
So there we are, Beatrix and Christopher's fall in love through letters. Lovely letters. They are letters full of honesty and deception, at least on Beatrix's side. Honest Beatrix begins writing to Christopher as act of kindness after her shallow friend Prudence Mercer refuses to answer a letter she receives from him -- a letter he writes from the front as he is fighting abroad for England.
However, Beatrix deceives Christopher by pretending to be Pru throughout their correspondence. She believes that he would not appreciate receiving a letter from her. Beatrix's memory of Christopher is that of a shallow, blond god with not much to offer but his good looks. He publicly made some hurtful remarks and judged Beatrix for her unconventional actions, comments she herself overheard. But the war and that one letter to Prudence touched her. What was written in that letter didn't reflect the man Beatrix thought Christopher to be, and what began as a small deception and an act of kindness turned into love and agony for Beatrix, and love, hope and despair for Christopher. See, Christopher falls in love with the woman on the page, words... words matter in this story.
I love this romance. It is not all wine and flowers and wounded animals, although there are plenty of those to be found, but it is about love and healing. Christopher falls desperately in love with the woman revealed through the letters believing she is Pru. When he returns, he slowly realizes that woman is not Pru, instead he finds unconventional Beatrix. There's passion between them... and I loved both the passion and restraint between these two, the sexual tension and the desperate love that oozes from both Christopher and Beatrix. Especially throughout the first three quarters of the book.
Christopher is not the same man who left England. He returns from the wars a changed man suffering from PTSD. He believes he's going mad and you can feel his conflict, desperation and anguish. So as I said this is not a story that is all love and flowers, there are other conflicts that present themselves along the way. I like the compromises Kleypas uses as a partial resolution to this storyline.
As secondary characters, the Hathaways make appearances and as this is the end of the series, there are resolutions to some minor issues. I again loved Leo in this installment, both his often-inappropriate sense of humor and moments of insight. There's a secondary story about a friend of Christopher's that is also part of the conflict that is satisfactorily, if easily, resolved.
I loved Love in the Afternoon. I think Beatrix and Christopher's lovely and passionate romance was an excellent way to end the Hathaway series. Beatrix was special and Christopher was the perfect hero for her -- all wounded and so in love. Married by Morning was a treat for me, but I must admit that I preferred the romance in this book just a bit more. I'll miss looking forward to new Hathaway stories, but will enjoy their journeys again through re-reads.
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Hathaway Series, Book 5
Release Date: June 29, 2010 - Kindle Edition
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KMont's 2010 Year of the Historical Challenge