It Happened One Autumn

Lisa Kleypas
It Happened One Autumn
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Little Brown Book Group
Release Date
September 2010
Book 2 of Wallflowers
Historical Romance

It Happened at the Ball...

Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.

It Happened in the Garden!

When Marcus shockingly -- and dangerously-swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed; thank goodness they weren't caught very nearly in the act!

It Happened One Autumn...

Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly unsuitable as his bride?

Book Review by CarolAnn
Jul 12, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
103 people found the following review helpful
I did not think that Ms Kleypas could surpass ‘Secrets of a Summer Night' but IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN, the second book in her Wallflowers series, is even better! The story of the brash American heiress, Lillian Bowman, and the ultra-reserved aristocrat, Marcus Marsden, Earl of Westcliff, it sparkles like vintage champagne!

Marcus is holding a month-long house party at his Hampshire estate, Stony Cross Park, and among his guests is the Bowman family. He is hoping to conclude a business deal with Thomas Bowman, a wealthy American magnate, but is not relishing the presence of his daughters, Lillian and Daisy. They're two of the most ill-mannered young women he has had the misfortune to meet. Marcus has a particular aversion to the eldest daughter, Lillian, whose behaviour would be found objectionable in every corner of the civilised world and intends to keep as far away from her as possible. The dislike is certainly mutual as Lillian finds Marcus both cold and arrogant. In fact, the very last person she would ever want to marry.

However, everything changes when Marcus comes across Lillian and Daisy playing rounders with some of the stable lads and, instead of admonishing them, he joins in their game. Casually attired, this is not the impeccably dressed and perfectly groomed man Lillian is used to, and:

Strangely, the sight of him like this sent a pleasant shiver through Lillian's insides and imparted an unfamiliar weakness to her knees.

As Lillian and Daisy are supposed to be resting in their room, Marcus shows them a short-cut back to the house so that they won't be seen. Unfortunately, Marcus and Lillian are forced to hide in a hedgerow to avoid her father. Close proximity to Lillian has an unexpected effect on Marcus and he finds himself kissing her passionately. Both are shocked and disorientated, at first, by what has happened. Eventually Marcus acknowledges his obsession for Lillian and realises that he wants her ‘more than any other woman he had ever known'.

Lillian is likewise smitten with Marcus but believes that his reaction to her is the result of the ‘special' perfume she has been wearing. She doesn't, therefore, discourage the interest shown by Marcus's friend, Sebastian, Lord St Vincent. Despite his reputation as an unrepentant rake, Lillian finds him charming, much to the Marcus's displeasure. But it is Marcus who makes her heart beat faster and soon they succumb to their passion for each other and finally Lillian agrees to marry him. But they are unaware that someone will go to any lengths to stop this marriage. . .

I just fell head over heels in love with Marcus! How does Ms Kleypas manage to create so many simply swoon-worthy heroes? I had previously met Marcus in Again The Magic and Secrets of a Summer Night and he always appeared the austere, controlled aristocrat. It was immense fun, therefore, to watch him lose his much vaunted self-control around Lillian and gradually reveal himself to be a passionate, caring, impulsive and very romantic man:

"There is nothing on earth more beautiful to me than your sound sweeter than your pleasure greater than holding you in my arms."

The confrontation with his mother towards the end of the book is quite an eye-opener and reveals a very impressive Marcus.

I adore Lillian because she's such a vibrant character. She's willful, bold and outspoken but never annoyingly so. It's obvious she'll clash with Marcus because, when she first meets him, he has such rigid ideas about how young ladies should behave, none of which she conforms to. She's at a loss to understand why she should be so affected by a man she so patently dislikes but gradually begins to see him in a new light:

This version of Westcliff was the one she preferred to all others--the seldom seen version in which he was disheveled and relaxed, and mesmerizing in his dark virility. The open neck of his shirt revealed the edge of a fleece of curling hair. His trousers hung slightly loose on his lean waist, held up by a pair of braces that defined the hard line of his shoulders.

The chemistry between these two is incredible and even their initial hostile clashes seem to be infused with a sexual undercurrent. When they're just kissing, they radiate enough heat to melt the pages and the love scenes certainly left me hot under the collar! My favourite is the library scene where Marcus finds Lillian more than a little foxed. It's both funny and highly charged at the same time. They are certainly a combustible pair!!

Once again, the Wallflowers demonstrate the nature of true friendship and provide some hilarious moments. I adore the scene where Annabelle tells the others about the effect wearing the ‘special' perfume had on her husband:

"Good Lord, not Lord Westcliff." Annabelle rubbed her weary eyes. "He couldn't have cared less what I smelled like. It was my husband who went completely mad. After he caught the scent of the stuff, he dragged me up to our room and....well, suffice to say, Mr Hunt kept me awake all night. All night," she repeated in sullen emphasis, and drank deeply of the tea.

In this book we get to meet Sebastian, Lord St Vincent, regarded by many Kleypas fans as the ultimate sexy bad-boy. He seems an unlikely friend for the upright and honorable Westcliff but a bond was forged when they were at school together and Marcus never turns his back on a friend. At first, St Vincent appears just a charming rogue with a penchant for the ladies but, after he commits an unforgivable act of betrayal, he does seem beyond redemption. As he is the hero of the next book, Devil in Winter, I am really intrigued to see how Ms Kleypas will redeem him and I am even more intrigued knowing that the heroine is the shy Evie!

Witty dialogue, amazing hero/heroine chemistry, steamy love scenes and the inimitable Wallflowers, all combine to make IT HAPPENED ONE AUTUMN a must read for all lovers of historical romance.
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