Book Review: I Will: A Christmas Novella (Capitol Theatre #2.5) by Lisa Kleypas

Book Review: I Will: A Christmas Novella (Capitol Theatre #2.5) by Lisa Kleypas

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Published December 13th 2016 by Avon Impulse (first published October 11th 2016)
Summary: Andrew, Lord Drake, has been cut out of his father’s will because of his dissolute manner of living. To be reinstated, Andrew decides to pretend that he has changed his wicked ways.

As part of his plan, he wants to convince his father that he is courting a respectable woman with the intention of marrying her. The problem is, he doesn’t know any decent women, except for his friend’s spinster sister, Miss Caroline Hargreaves. He blackmails the reluctant Caroline into helping him, and so the charade begins…

(from Goodreads)
Review: I’m having a hard time rating this one. I really want to rate it 3.5 stars, so I’m being kind and rounding up to 4 stars on Goodreads because it’s Christmas. No such forgiveness here on my blog, though!

This is pretty much your typical spinster + rake regency romance, except in this case the spinster is being blackmailed into having a fake relationship with the rake in order to lend him an air of respectability. I liked Andrew more than Caroline, but then I have always had a soft spot for broken things. Andrew wasn’t loved enough as a child by his cruel father, and it’s rather ruined him. Of course, like most rakes in regency romance, way down deep he has a heart of gold. I did appreciate that Kleypas didn’t whitewash over some of Andrew’s darker misdeeds – he really does have a very black past. I also liked the slow burn of Caroline and Andrew’s building relationship, and how what starts out as a sham becomes much more to them both. I felt like Caroline (whom I have called “Olivia” all through writing this review, and need to keep correcting) didn’t have much depth and could have been fleshed out better, but I suppose it is a very short story so some allowances must be made.

There is a bit that was a little squicky and quasi-rapey that I didn’t like at all, but it really did show how desperately Caroline felt and made my heart ache for the pair of them (while inwardly cringing at the same time).

It’s listed as being #2.5 in the Capitol Theatre series, and it does mention a LOT about other characters that I assume take center stage in the other books. Beware of probable spoilers for earlier books in the series.

This novella is available as a stand-alone, and is also included in the anthology A Christmas to Remember.

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