Publication Date: February 28, 2006
Series or Standalone: The Wallflowers #3
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
I’ve been really loving the Wallflowers series, but y’all, this one was not for me. I know that there are a ton of people who love this book and love St. Vincent, but I am not one of those people.
Devil in Winter picks up immediately after the events of It Happened One Autumn with Evie Jenner, the shyest member of our wallflower gang, asking Lord St. Vincent, villain and rake, to marry her. She needs to marry to escape her terrible abusive family, he needs to marry for money. They run off to Gretna Green to get married so that Evie can escape her family and return back to London in time to care for her dying father Ivo Jenner (who you might recognize from Kleypas’s Dreaming of You).
I had a lot of issues with this book, but its biggest flaw was it was boring. I literally felt like I had to force myself to finish reading it and would procrastinate picking it up as it did not engage me or hold my attention at all. After loving It Happened One Autumn and devouring that in close to one sitting, I was so surprised by how much I struggled with this one. It literally felt like nothing was happening plot wise in this book, and I did not connect with Evie or St. Vincent which made it hard for me to be invested in their romance.
Evie has always been the wallflower I’ve connected with least in the other books – she’s so shy and quiet that it was always hard to get a read on her. I don’t feel like this book really did much to flesh out her character for me. She definitely had a tough upbringing as the relatives she was forced to stay with were clearly abusive, but I feel like Kleypas didn’t dive into that enough to give me more insight as to who Evie is. I really struggled to connect with her throughout this whole book which made it a challenge to get invested in her journey.
Then we have St. Vincent who I actually really enjoyed in It Happened One Autumn despite his actions at the end of that book. I knew Kleypas would need to do quite a bit to redeem him in the readers eyes, I don’t know if she accomplished that. For me, the biggest issue with St. Vincent who I found fun in It Happened One Autumn was he was boring in this book – he literally felt like a wet noodle to me. For someone who is supposed to be a rogue with a terrible reputation, he didn’t seem to act like it or live up to it. I honestly wish he had more of the personality that we saw in his interactions with Lillian in It Happened One Autumn as I enjoyed that St. Vincent a lot more. I also really struggled to understand his motivations in this book and just didn’t see the chemistry between Evie and him which made it hard for me to be invested in their relationship.
Outside of the characters, there is an incredibly troubling scene at the beginning of this book that started this out on a sour note for me. I know this book is a bit of an older romance, but this scene read to me as rape as there was a clear lack of conest. It’s in the beginning right after Evie and St. Vincent marry – Evie wakes up to St. Vincent making love to her. This is our first sex scene with the characters and it starts with Evie, who is a virigin, asleep and being taken advantage of by St. Vincent. Kleypas tries to play it off as being romantic, but there is a clear lack of consent and it left a really bad taste in my mouth after reading it. I didn’t fully sour me on the book, but it definitely played into me not liking the romance or characters in this one.
Besides my issues connecting with the characters and the romance, the villain in the book felt so out of left field. There were plenty of bad guys from Evie’s past that would have made way more sense than choosing Bullard, some random guy who worked at Jenner’s who we know little to nothing about. His motivation for hating Evie never felt fully fleshed out to me either though Kleypas attempted to give him some reasoning for it. I would have preferred if the villain had been Evie’s uncles since we knew they were terrible people and would actually have a good motivation for wanting to harm her after marrying St. Vincent.
We also saw very little of Evie’s wallflower friends in this book, which was such a disappointment to me. I love the wallflowers and seeing them interact in each of the books is always a bright spot. It took more than half the book for us to get our first appearance by any of them, which felt like way too long! I was happy we did get a lot of Lillian and Westcliff in this book though as they are my favorite couple.
Overall, this book was just a no for me. There is nothing worse than a boring romance and that’s what this one was for me. I still am really enjoying the Wallflowers series overall, despite not liking this book, and am excited to dive into Daisy’s story in the next one.