Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review: Dreaming of You

Title: Dreaming of You
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Genre: Historical Romance
Published: May 1994
Reprint: September 2003

Nath's Re-Read Challenge 2009

From the back cover ~

A prim, well-bred gentlewoman, Sara Fielding is a writer who puts pen to paper to create dreams. But now curiosity is luring her from the shelter of her country cottage into the dangerous world of Derek Craven - handsome, tough, and tenacious-and the most exciting man Sara has ever met.

Derek rose from poverty to become the wealthy lord of London's most exclusive gambling house. And now duty demands that he allow Sara Fielding to enter his perilous realm of ever-shifting fortunes-with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But there is a hidden strength and sensuality to the lady that captivates him beyond his better judgement. And in this world, where danger lurks behind every shadow, even a proper "mouse" can be transformed in to a breathtaking enchantress-and a cynical gambler can be shaken to his core by the power of passion and the promise of love.

I don't remember the first book I ever read of Lisa Kleypas. It feels like I've always read her books, like they've always been part of my reading experience. While there have been some I've loved more than others there haven't been any that I didn't like. Dreaming of You is one of those that I loved the first time I read it and it is still one of my very favorites of Ms. Kleypas. It's one of those books that part of me wants to read fast because it's so good but another part wants to read it slowly and savor it, knowing that at the end I'll be a little sad that it's over.

A female writer, not at all uncommon now but during Sara Fielding's time it was not the thing for proper ladies to do. So Sara uses her initials, writing under the name S. R. Fielding. Sara is from the country and leads a simple life, living with her parents and being courted by a local man. She travels to London to stay with friends and while there takes the opportunity to gather information for her next novel. The gathering takes place in a rookery, not exactly a safe place for a woman alone. It's there that Sara witnesses a man being beating by two other men. She debates on whether to get involved when she sees a knife and thinks they are about to murder the poor man. Sara is smart and knows the area isn't the best that's why she comes armed with a pistol. I loved the fact that miss prim and proper carries a pistol in her proper handbag. *grins* Sara is a character that is full of surprises, many of which she springs on Derek Craven.

Of course Derek is the man that Sara saves with her less than proper pistol. They make their way back to Derek's club where Sara is awed by the elegance and opulence that is Craven's. Derek's factotum, Worthy, is called to take over the care of his injured employer. In terrible pain, Derek's cockney accent makes an appearance. Sara may not understand everything he says but she still finds him quite irresistible. He has a wicked reputation that even Sara is aware of. No doubt she learned of it while doing her research. She is fascinated by Derek, his life starting in the gutter and ending up rich and powerful but there is also the physical pull Sara feels towards him.

Sara and Derek come from such different backgrounds. Everything about these two is opposite. Sara grew up in the country, Derek in the city. Sara was raised by two loving parents. Derek was "raised" by whores but in all actuality he was raised by the streets. Sara is well read. Derek is not. Sara knows how to love and what it feels like to be loved. Derek doesn't know what love feels like. Sara, while being an author is still held by the restraints society places on women. Derek may not be welcomed in all the best homes of London but he is powerful and can do just about whatever he wants. So how do these two opposites come together to make one happy couple? Kleypas magic. Yep, it's that simple. :)

Derek is one of my very favorite types of heroes. He's the anti-hero. He's not a good guy, doesn't want to be a good guy and really has very little association with good guys. He considers himself as far from hero material as you can get. He certainly doesn't think he's good enough for Sara. He tries to get Sara to leave London, leave Craven's. First he simply tells her to go then he tells her about himself. About all the terrible things he's done to survive. He does nothing to hide his past from her, in fact he practically flaunts in. He'll do whatever it takes to make her go. ~

Stopping in the middle of another pass, he crossed the invisible barrier between them and seized her. His hands clenched her upper arms painfully. "I want you to leave. You're not safe here. As long as you 're in London you're not safe from me." His gaze raked over the rippling mass of her hair, her delicate face, her bewildered eyes. With a sudden groan he pulled her against him, burying his face in her hair. Sara closed her eyes, her mind spinning. His body was solid and powerful, hunching over hers to accommodate their difference in height. She felt him tremble with the force of his need. He spoke just beneath her ear, his voice thick with tormented pleasure. "You have to leave, Sara...because I want to hold you like this until your skin melts into mine. I want you in my bed, the smell of you on my sheets, your hair spread across my pillow. I want to take your innocence. God! I want to ruin you for anyone else." page 163

Such a powerful scene. You can feeling the longing in Derek for what he thinks he doesn't deserve but wants so desperately.

Sara shows Derek through her words and her actions that she finds him far more than good enough for her. She lets him know that he's the only one she wants. I loved Sara's tenacity, her inquisitive nature, her ability to find good in what others might deem bad or worthless. She may write about the darker side of life but she still maintains her sense of hope for all things. That's not to say that she's naive about life, she just doesn't shy away from the less pleasant aspects of it. The rookeries, the gaming halls, the whores plying their trade all grab her attention and her imagination. Sara's a heroine that would seem perfectly suited for the hero lord or hero rake. But her real hero is Derek. ~

But Sara saw Derek for exactly what he was, no more and no less, and she was aware that he might never change. It was enough that he loved her. In spite of his faults, he would take care of her and defend her to the last breath of life. Separately they had different strengths. Together they were complete. page 305

This is why these two are so right together. And by the end of the book Kleypas has shown the reader the rightness of this pairing. Derek is one of my favorite Kleypas heroes probably second only to Nick Gentry. Which isn't surprising since they are both the anti-hero types. Yes, I do love those bad boys. :) One of the things I liked about Derek is that he doesn't try to change Sara and he doesn't change the basics of who he is for her. For him to have suddenly become a proper gentleman with proper manners and proper etiquette would not have been true to his character. He is who he is and Sara loves him for that. Perfect!

There are many obstacles for these two to overcome not the least of which is their different backgrounds. When Derek goes to Sara's home in Greenwood Corners their differences are on display for all. But thankfully Sara's parents are able to look beyond the surface and the rumors about Derek and see the man that their daughter fell in love with.

Ms. Kleypas has a very informative website with lists of all her historicals and her contemporary works. She has a great printable book list that is perfect for taking to the UBS. :)

Rating: A+


  1. I love dreaming of you! It's one of my favorite books.

  2. Isn't it just perfect from beginning to end? Definitely a favorite. :)

  3. DoY is a great book.

    And you are my new hero with this line:
    Derek is one of my favorite Kleypas heroes probably second only to Nick Gentry.

    Yes, yes YES!!!

  4. LOL ~ I've had a love affair with Nick Gentry for years. Even named my youngest son after him(not really but he is named Nick *grins*).

  5. ok - second review I've read of this today. While I love Kleypas you both have made me want to run out and get it. :)

  6. Tracy ~ I think most if not all of LK's fan love this book. It stands the test of time - 15 years and still a wonderful read.

  7. When I first read this book many years ago, it zoomed straight to my all time favourite books and it's been there ever since. I can't tell you the number of times I've read it but every time I do, I love it just as much as the very first time I loved it.

  8. She's one of the few authors that if I met in person I would probably go all gushing fan girl. :) And believe me I'm not the gushing fan girl type. LOL

  9. I am such a fan of Kleypas. Dreaming of You is a wonderful story and you did a fabulous job of explaining why it's such a great book. Sometimes those reviews are the hardest to write.

  10. LOL, everyone loves this book :D So I'm not surprised that you still love it as your re-read :D

  11. Dereeeek! Yes! Love this book, of course... this book just holds and holds. Great pick for a re-read, Leslie. :)

  12. You know, I've read a LOT of Kleypas but they don't all stand out for me. I don't remember this one at all-- I'll put it on my treasure hunt list for the UBS trips! Great review.

  13. Jill ~ Thanks! It was hard to write. I could have just gone on and on about all the great scenes but didn't want any spoilers.

    nath ~ Do you love it too? :)

    Hils ~ I needed a comfort read this month and this one definitely fit. :)

    Nicola ~ Thanks! One of my favorite pasttimes - treasure hunting at the UBS. :)