“Blue-Eyed Devil” is the first book I’ve read by romance author Lisa Kleypas – and I would say it was an experience I won’t forget. Blending a wry sense of humor with a tough subject manner and romantic tones, this second book in the Travises series tells a potently honest yet sweet story.
Haven Marie Travis grew up as a tomboy and tough-minded girl in a well-to-do family – determined to forge her own identity and path in life despite her wealthy upbringing. But when she marries a man her father disapproves of, Haven’s cut off from the family fortune, and trapped in a harrowing marriage where she’s not only beaten but verbally abused. Two years later, after her husband brutally rapes her and throws her out of the house, Haven returns home bruised and determined not to marry ever again, at least until the blue-eyed, roughneck Hardy Cates walks back into her life at the worst point possible.
I liked how Kleypas handles the issues of domestic abuse and narcissistic personality disorder with honest and realistic detail. You really feel for Haven as she struggles to regain her sense of self and confidence after two years of feeling trapped in a domineering marriage with Nick, and her tension whenever she crosses paths with him in quite a few re-encounters. Haven herself is a character you can identify with how open she is in her portrayal of her relationships and thoughts about them. Her chemistry with Hardy is excellent, and the scene where Hardy rescues Haven from the flooded elevator was not only awesome but hilarious. Hardy himself is a likable character, and while he shows fallible qualities in spurts, it’s hard not to admire his character and the respect he has for Haven. Another thing that I really liked about this novel was the focus on relationships, both between Haven’s family and her work/personal relationships. It’s intimate and detailed without being preachy and overwhelming – the characters feel very dimensional and realistic. I would say the only thing I wish the book had was an opportunity to get into Hardy’s perspective, because it would’ve been interesting to see his perspective of Haven and why he made some of the decisions he made, especially towards the end of the book, where it felt a bit quick to come to a resolution, but still sweet.
I would highly recommend “Blue Eyed Devil” for those who love romantic stories with a bad boy hero and a heroine who overcomes the odds to find happiness.
Overall score: 4/5