*Warning: The are spoilers in this review. Read at your own risk!*
Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas
published by St. Martin's Press in May 2010
For two years, Catherine Marks has been a paid companion to the Hathaway sisters-a pleasant position, with one caveat. Her charges' older brother, Leo Hathaway, is thoroughly exasperating. Cat can hardly believe that their constant arguing could mask a mutual attraction. But when one quarrel ends in a sudden kiss, Cat is shocked at her powerful response-and even more so when Leo proposes a dangerous liaison.
Leo must marry and produce an heir within a year to save his family home. Catherine's respectable demeanor hides a secret that would utterly destroy her. But to Leo, Cat is intriguing and infernally tempting, even to a man resolved never to love again. The danger Cat tried to outrun is about to separate them forever-unless two wary lovers can find a way to banish the shadows and give in to their desires.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Hathaways, book #4
Nath: Ames, we've been dragging our feet too long. Let's get on with this review! :)
I went into this book, not really excited, mainly because I didn't like Catherine Marks' character from what I've seen previously. After reading the book, well my opinion hasn't really changed. There's just something in Marks that leaves me indifferent. I did really enjoy Leo's character though :)
Ames: I went into this book with no expectations. I wasn't really a fan of Marks from the other books and I didn't really care about Leo. But I knew I had to read it anyway (to get to Beatrix's book). LOL So I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I did enjoy it! I didn't love it, but it wasn't the hardship I thought it would be. And we did get to know Marks and Leo better and I ended up liking both their characters more by the end of the book. So that was good, right?
Nath: Indeed, that's very good. Actually, lucky you! LOL.
I actually really liked Leo's character and thought the layers to his personality were very interesting. He hid his sharp mind and competence behind a layer of laziness and nonchalance and made me believe that he was raised as a lord. He has plenty of charm, but the most refreshing was his honesty about himself. Like the fact that he admitted that his behavior now has nothing to do with Laura anymore... and that yes, he was in love with her in the past, but not anymore. I liked that he wasn't a lost soul.
By the way, what was Catherine's beef with Leo? Okay, so he's a rake... but no worst than any other lords out there... I really didn't understand what she reproached to him.
Ames: Well I think Catherine's experience with men in the past made her biased towards Leo - and then seeing the way he was and acted, it all justified that feeling she had towards him. And he did his best to annoy her whenever he could. I think just like little boys in the schoolyard, when they pulled the hair of the girls they liked, that same kind of dynamic was going on with Leo and Catherine but both of them were too afraid to admit that they were attracted to each other, but they couldn't leave the other person alone. LOL
Nath: There were a few things I thought pointless however... The whole will thing about the house. Seriously, I don't get it. If it wasn't entailed, then why not leave it to your wife and daughter right away?
Ames: If the house thing didn't happen, we wouldn't have had the book we did. LOL I didn't mind the house stuff. It didn't really add or detract either way. It did create some tension for Leo and it did give some conflict for the rest of the family, like not everything was going perfectly in their lives (although since it is a romance, it does in the end). But I bet the relative who died didn't realize the house wasn't entailed because the main house was a ruin.
Nath: As a conflict, it was seriously very, very weak in my opinion. It brought absolutely nothing to the story itself. I mean, the sisters organized a ball with potential wife candidates. Frankly, it's a surprise they haven't played matchmakers earlier! actually had very little impact on the book itself. I just thought it was a far-fetched excuse and I don't feel like it fit the Hathaways. Okay, so the house has some sentimental value, given that Rye was born in it. However, Hathaways are far from being materialistic and in addition, Leo is an architect! I thought he would relish the opportunity to build his own house. It just didn't make sense to me.
Ames: I think the sisters didn't try matchmaking earlier because they were focused on their own love lives and they probably didn't want to push Leo before he was ready - he did lose someone he really loved and the sisters are very compassionate so they probably left him alone because of that.
And you are right about Leo being an architect! Why wouldn't he want to fix the old house up? LOL
Nath: Exactly! Wouldn't that be an interesting challenge? You're right about the sister being busy with their love lives. Still, now that all of them (except Bea) are married though, I think it was just a matter of time. There wasn't any need for the house ruse.
Another thing I didn't like was the fact that Catherine was Harry's sister. I don't mind when characters find a long-lost sibling, but in this case, it felt overused in this series, since Cam and Merrypen already turn out to be brothers ^_^; Plus, she was in hiding. Ugh. I mean, it was obvious that once she got her book, her hiding days would be over.
Ames: LOL. Too many siblings in this series, I'll give you that.
For Catherine, the hiding makes sense. She didn't want to come across her tormentor ever again. And it worked, until that guy showed up at the ball. But that was good too because it explains why Marks was the way she was (like her family's background) and then it allowed Leo to play the protector to this very independent, strong woman. Also, if she didn't have the past she did, WE wouldn't have had a book to read. Quit being so nitpicky! LOL
Nath: Sorry ^_^; But I'm still not feeling it! If Catherine didn't want to come across her tormentor ever again, why take a position in an aristocrat family. True, in the beginning, she was just a tutor... but when she became Beatrix and Poppy's companion, that meant going to events with them and having the chance to run into the bad guy since he's from the ton. I mean, yes, it was explained why Catherine took the position and that she fell in love with the family, but I thought it was just too predictable - the events. Although I did not foresee her background (like that her father's side ran a brothel) - I did like that twist :P
Ames: Well Catherine did disguise her looks a little bit. And who else would she have taken a position with? Aristocratic families was where the money was back in the day. LOL They were the bread and butter.
Nath: The thing is she doesn't need money. She has a rich older brother, perhaps not a loving one, but one that stepped in already to save her life and wouldn't have minded to provide for her I'm sure.
Ames: Ok I have to disagree with you about her needing the money. She may not have - but she's an independent woman and she wasn't going to go crying to her brother for charity. She states that she wasn't his responsibility and that he didn't know what to do with her when he rescued her. So she went to a finishing school where she even ended up teaching for the last two years. So the headmistress there asked her to leave so she would see a bit of the world and that the headmistress had a friend who knew of a family of unusual circumstances. That's how the characters' personalities worked out. For Catherine to ask her brother to support her, that would have been contradictory to her character. And the Hathaways really needed her.
Nath: Okay, you're right. Catherine would never rely on Harry for money. Still, she could have chosen a family on the continent, far far away from London. Yes, Ms Kleypas explained the circumstances of how Catherine came to be employed by the Hathaways... but I'm just saying LOL.
By the way, she is discovered... and who is the first person she runs to? Her brother. This though is probably due to their relationship getting better. Two months ago, she probably wouldn't have ^_^;
Ames: One thing that I didn't get? When Leo returned from London and was all gung-ho after Marks. There was no internal dialogue on his part on why he decided to give into his attraction, he just does. I would have liked to have known why he changed his mind.
Nath: Are you talking about the beginning of the book? I feel that he just realized that he was attracted to her and decided to go ahead ^_^;
Ames: AND! Another kidnapping plot at the end? That happened with Harry and it seems a wee bit lazy that Lisa Kleypas would use the same thing in the very next book. I didn't like that.
Nath: Surprisingly, I didn't mind the kidnapping that much in this storyline, because it worked (unlike Harry's book). I mean, Catherine has been hiding for a reason, right? :P
Ames: Both kidnapping plots didn't work for me. But again, it worked for Leo because he got to be the protector, he got to save Catherine. But it also showed Catherine she was strong on her own. She was making a break for it.
Nath: I did like that Harry and Poppy had "big" roles in this book. It was so funny when Harry and Leo's eyed each other... Brothers-in-law squared LOL. And loved the part where Leo was jealous of Harry because he thought there was something between the two. Ha. Man - there's only one explanation for them :P
Ames: Overall, because I went into this book with no expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. I did come to like Leo and Marks. I could see why he didn't want to love again (after having lost a fiancée) and why she was afraid of the events of her past. I thought it all came well together in the end. Even though I was a bit bugged by the repeat kidnapping plot, it didn't bother me that much.
Nath: I liked the fact that Leo wasn't still in love with his dead fiancée... but it was more a case of afraid of loving so much again. It made Leo very human and I think, Catherine saw him in a different light after that.
Married by Morning was a C for me. I liked Leo, but the rest of the book didn't really appeal to me except for Harry and Poppy's scenes. Didn't like Marks and I think you're right, in some aspect, Ms Kleypas was lazy with repeated ideas throughout the series. Plus, I don't know, I just have a feeling the storyline didn't fit with the characters, didn't make sense.
Ames: I have to give Married by Morning a solid B. It exceeded my non-existent expectations and I really enjoyed getting to know these characters better - it made me like them more in the end.