"Tempt Me at Twilight" - Lisa Kleypas - 2010

Man, publishers must love a popular series.  It’s bank, right?  Of course there are the phenoms, such as Harry Potter and Twilight – but the same principles apply to romantic fiction.
1)  Keep the stories connected. 2) Keep the readers hungry for more. 3) Do your job and they will buy the next one.

The difference between romantic series and popular novels like Twilight lies in the focus.  The Twilight books are Bella’s continuing story, whereas romance series typically consist of siblings, each finding love in their own novel.  There was a time when I owned every book in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, now only two remain.  The series started very strong, the second book about the eldest son, Anthony,  “The Viscount Who Loved Me” remains my favorite.  However there were just too many brothers and sisters, I couldn’t care about Gregory or Hyacinth’s stories, as Quinn seemed to lose steam and my certainly my attention by the anticlimactic conclusion.  On the other hand, I believe Mary Balogh’s “Slightly” series lost steam midway, but finishes wonderfully with my most expensive romance purchase to date ($20 hardcover), of “Slightly Dangerous.”

Lisa Kleypas has been a successful fixture in romance since the early ‘90s.  “Dreaming of You” is an absolute classic - and she’s no stranger to a successful series.  Her Hathaway family stories feature times of day in the title, and they are loosely connected to the 'Seasons' series.  She is a writing machine, overlapping releases of a contemporary “Texas Trilogy” with the first historical in the Hathaway series, “Mine Until Midnight.”  She is truly talented, always writing strong stories, and occasionally writing fantastic ones. 

She walks a fine line with the Hathaway’s though, they are a close-knit family - always connected, and up in each others shit,  the danger lies in future stories overshadowing the current one.  I found myself excited for Win and Merripan’s story before Cam and Amelia’s is concluded, but not nearly as excited as I am for “Married by Morning.”  Leo, the heir and only brother has been shooting sparks with staunch governess and ladies companion, Catherine Marks for two books now.  In fact, “…Twilight’ ends with a cliffhanger and I can only hope that “Summer 2010” has arrived and I can find it a the drugstore tomorrow.   So, on one hand, Kleypas has done a marvelous job – so much so that I’m sure that if “Married…” lives up to my expectiations the previous three Hathaway novels may fall by the wayside.  Only time and comfort re-reads will tell. 

As for ‘Tempt Me at Twilight” itself I was presently surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did.   It reminded me of “Dreaming of You” and ‘Devil in Winter” (two faves) in that most of the story takes place within one very large space – this time the Rutledge Hotel rather than a gambling hell.  The similarities don’t end with the setting though.  As with Derek Craven and Lord St. Vincent, once again Kleypas has succeeded in winning me over by unraveling the layers of a complicated hero so well that you forgive his early transgressions and rejoice when he finds the ability to declare his love.