Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas
Once again I’m reading a series out of order: I started the Hathaway series from the last book, but at least this time I’d read the first before the second! In the first book I found I liked the idea of Merripen, this big, sort of savage man being fiercely in love with Win, the frail and beautiful woman out of his league. Turns out I’m not such a big fan after all.
The problem lies more in the execution of the novel than the trope. From the first chapter – which I really would prefer to be called a prologue – it’s clear Merripen and Win want and love each other. It’s made abundantly clear, and refreshingly it’s Win who’s determined to get him rather than the other way round, but this gets old really soon. The tension is drawn on for too long, and when you add into the mixture another potential suitor for Win, the see-sawing gets tedious and repetitive. (Alex, you might actually like this – it’s all torment and agonizing love and desire unrealized for over half the book.)
I also wasn’t fond of the non-linear structure. Generally I have no problem, but here it felt clumsy, abrupt, and didn’t really serve a purpose, as far as I can see. Merripen’s background and history with Win could have been presented in a more subtle way than flashback chapters. Perhaps my impatience with childhood descriptions is at play here, but I just didn’t enjoy it.
What I did enjoy was seeing the lady pursue the gentleman: Win actually does a lot of the things pursuing males are often seen to do, and this reversal works better than one might expect. I found her frustration relatable, even though I’m not sure I buy her character development entirely. Merripen, on the other hand, is given a relatable and believable arch, and he feels like a what-if game where Heathcliff – for he is definitely modelled after Heathcliff – isn’t just a selfish asshole until the bitter end.
(Disclaimer: Don’t think I don’t enjoy WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I love WUTHERING HEIGHTS, specifically because all the bitterness and anger and that stuff.)
In the end, I would give this book three stars. It’s enjoyable enough, if you can put up with the jolting pace and the see-sawing. Personally, not so fond, but it’s not desperately bad.