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Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: When Strangers Marry and Only In Your Arms by Lisa Kleypas

When Strangers Marry (Vallerands, #1)Publisher: Avon
ISBN: 0060507365
Pages: 400 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/American
Series: Vallerand-2
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012, Krazy Kleypas Reading Challenge, Romance Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: Publisher,Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's


Lysette buried her face against Max's throat. "But he's going to take me away. Don't let him, don't -- "

"You're not going anywhere," Max interrupted. "Calm yourself, Lysette. It's not good for you to become excited." His possessiveness made her strangely giddy. As far as he was concerned, she was his, and no one was going to take her away from him.

Max stared at Etienne. His voice was soft, but it contained a note that chilled Lysette's blood. "If you so much as disarrange a hair on her head, I'll tear you apart."

Lysette couldn't believe it, but she didn't care about her ruined reputation. The only thing that mattered was that she wouldn't have to marry Etienne.

My Review:

I am going to have to do this differently. These two books are essentially the same but When Strangers Marry is a reissue and revision of Only In Your Arms. The majority is the same but there were some fairly significant changes. And I have to be honest, I prefer the older version. Most don't but I really do. I read When Strangers Marry first.

I liked Lysette a lot. She didn't have any TSTL moments which I really appreciated. She was smart, capable and strong. All qualities that are necessary in a good heroine. I also loved her interactions with Max's sons even though they were very close to her age. I liked Max. I really did. But in When Strangers Marry, I couldn't help but find that there was something missing with him. He was always made to seem badder than he was. Perhaps it has to do with the rewrite but he just seems like a man hopelessly devoted to his wife. They have their ups and downs in this one but he never wavers. 

This book was a good mixture of everything I find appealing in romance. A great heroine, an arranged marriage, a damaged hero and great secondary characters. There was also a good mystery plot woven in there. It definitely not to the level of Kleypas' later romances especially in it's edited state but it's definitely a good read for a boring afternoon. It's a Kleypas romance. You really can't go wrong. 

Only in Your ArmsPublisher: Avon
ISBN: 0380761505
Pages: 426 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/American
Series:  Vallerand-2
Buy this Book: AmazonIndieboundPowell's

My Review:

This may not be the popular opinion but if you really want to get the full scope of the story, read this one and skip over When Strangers Marry. If you really want to understand Max, you really need to read this one because there were major changes made to the plot. First of all, when Lysette didn't want to consummate the marriage, Max leaves and spends the night with his mistress--and then we follow him to her.  He does not do this in When Strangers Marry and we don't know if he has a mistress or not or what he does that night. He just leaves and it is never mentioned where he went. He also goes berserk at Lysette when she mentions Max's dead wife Corrinne. There was also another major scene changed at the end of the book but I can't tell you without spoiling.

The only issue I have with this is when you whitewash a bodice ripper, you take away parts of the story that are needed for the readert to get the full scope of the story. Yes, it may be controversial to have infidelity or violence in a modern romance but these aspects were necessary for Max's character development. The whole time I was reading When Strangers Marry, I was wondering what I was missing and why Max was considered to be so bad because it just didn't fit. I think the older version was just plain better.

I highly recommend that if you are going to purchase this book, you buy Only In Your Arms. It may be more controversial but it just tells a better story.


1 comment:

  1. I actually preferred the older version (Only in Your Arms) too!

    I read the original version first and it's a tearjearker. It only proves how skillful Lisa Kleypas is as an author. When I read reviews that When Strangers Marry (wsm) was a rewritten version, I procured myself a copy---and you were right. There were notable changes.

    One dialogue that endeared me in OIYA was the scene where Max caught Lysette and his twins (who had stolen and eaten a watermerlon). In the original, Lysette tells Max that"it's not my fault. I was kidnapped, mon mari". Then we're allowed a sneakpeek on how Max felt hearing his wife's endearment.

    But this endearment was removed in WSM. The dialogue felt lacking.



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