Devil in Spring is the third book in Lisa Kleypas’ Ravenels series of Victorian-era historical romance novels. It came out a couple of years ago, but like all aspects of my life, my reading list is woefully behind. I ended up going between the Kindle edition and the Audible over the summer as I deep-cleaned my oldest daughter’s room when she was away at summer camp.
Pandora Ravenel has never wanted to be part of aristocratic society. She would much rather stay at home and work on designing a board game. Unfortunately for her, she has familial obligations, and ends up at a ball. Even worse, she ends up in a compromising position with a notorious rake- completely by accident.
So, here’s where things get interesting: the aforementioned notorious rake is none other than Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent- the son of another Lord St. Vincent- the hero of Kleypas’ The Devil in Winter, one of the books in her Wallflower series. Don’t worry- St. Vincent is a courtesy title, and the previous Lord St. Vincent has not died.
In any event, Gabriel is used to young ladies scheming to get closer to him, so he doesn’t know what to do with Pandora, who wants nothing to do with him. They are, of course, obligated to marry after being caught in a compromising position, and they start a new life together.
This was a sweet book, and I love the way the forced proximity trope played out. Pandora has always been one of the more interesting secondary characters in the earlier Ravenel books, so it was quite the treat to see her receive a starring role. She’s truly one of the most original historical romance heroines I have ever encountered, and some of her revelations were absolutely heartbreaking. As someone who, like Pandora, has issues with attention and focus, I truly appreciated seeing a neurodivergent heroine.
Gabriel remained somewhat enigmatic of a hero, but he proved that notorious rakes are rarely as simple and uncomplicated as they appear to be. His utter enchantment with Pandora was delightful, and when they become embroiled in a dangerous plot, he’s fiercely protective of her.
As for revisiting the Wallflowers, I must admit that I haven’t read The Devil in Winter since it was first released thirteen years ago, so I don’t remember all of the details, but it was such a treat to revisit beloved characters and find out what they’ve been up to.
I would recommend Devil in Spring to fans of historical romance. It functions well enough as a standalone, but readers will benefit from reading the earlier Ravenel books to get a fuller picture of the larger narrative within the Ravenels’ world. I’m looking forward to reading the next books in the Ravenel series; I own them both, so maybe I’ll actually read them by the time the sixth book comes out this winter.