Aug 26 2015 11:00am

A Travis Family Reunion: A Ranking of the Travis Family Books (An Opinionated Opinion)

When I first started out reading romance, only paranormals and historicals made my to-read list. That was until I finished all of Lisa Kleypas’s historical romance series and was left wanting more. So I went onto her website and read her FAQ page. And much to my surprise, she revealed that Blue-Eyed Devil was probably her all-time favorite. Which made me stop, literally scratch the side of my head, and give an audible, “hmmph.”

Maybe I shouldn’t be so narrow-minded with the sub-genres that I read. So off I went to the local library, made my way to K, and there it was, staring at me. Blue-Eyed Devil in a hardbound copy. Did I think to also check out the other Travis books in the series that were on the bookshelf? Nooo. Of course not. Because I was determined to dislike contemporary romance. In particular, one that features a modern-day Texan renegade. But it was Lisa Kleypas…so I was willing to give it a shot. And am I ever glad I did. Because it had me sobbing, blushing, seething, talking to the characters—because, you know, they can hear me—and then breathing a sigh of relief that the HEA I knew was coming actually occurred. Of course, the next day I went back to the library to pick up Sugar Daddy and Smooth Talking Stranger.

This was immediately followed by a thorough scouring of the internet, trying to investigate when Joe’s story would come out. Months then years went by and *finally* a release date was given.

Now that the date is rapidly approaching, to celebrate the final Travis story, I rate the four couples from this most excellent series.

Brown Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

4. Brown Eyed Girl

This was a tough one. When an entire series is fabulous, which one do you choose to be the least favorite? For me, Joe and Avery’s story was just a smidgen less awesome than the other three. I really wanted Avery to stop fighting the attraction! But that is a major driving theme of the story so I get why she was so hesitant. A bonus? The side-story that unfolds with her half-sister will also have you squeeing.

3. Smooth Talking Stranger

One thing that I love about Lisa’s books is that they deal with real issues and this one is no exception, whether it is the reason Ella and Jack meet or the painful past that continues to shadow Ella. When Ella Varner finds herself as the temporary guardian for her newborn nephew, she learns that the father is none other than Jack Travis. Of course Jack will take responsibility if he is indeed the father. And if he’s not, can Ella walk away from Jack when he won't let her? Especially when love, commitment and family were never supposed to be part of her story?

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

2. Sugar Daddy

Oh Gage. You are yummy. And Liberty is one badass heroine who had a hell of a childhood. This one doesn’t follow the typical formula however, where girl and boy meet, have issues, resolve them, then have their HEA. Rather, we get a backstory of Liberty and the relationship she had with her childhood crush, Hardy Cates. When he leaves, the story switches directions and leads her to the Travis Family, a connection she unknowingly has with the patriarch, Churchill. Not until the second half of the book, do Gage and Liberty even meet. And it’s a stew of antagonistic behavior and misunderstanding smothered in an undeniable allure.

1. Blue-Eyed Devil

This may seem like I’m kissing ass, but I have to agree with Kleypas. Blue-Eyed Devil is my favorite of her contemporary books. Maybe it’s because Haven is such a well-developed character and her journey from a naïve young woman to a woman who unleashes her inner-strength had me engaged from the start. Or maybe it’s because we see the bravery involved when she gives her trust to Hardy, even knowing his complicated past. Even though they may seem like opposites, they’re both misunderstood and underestimated but their will power to survive and surpass hardship is inspiring. And the sex is hot – because the emotional connection takes center stage. This is one of my all-time favorite books of any genre.

How do you rank the Travis Family series? 


Learn more about the books in the Travis Family series: 

Brown Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas  
Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas  
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas  
Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas  






Tanya is a fanatic of all things romance and teaches sociology part time. You can follow her on twitter @tamushamu.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. PerfectSonnet
I also exclusively read historicals, but have been a little bored with it lately so I decided to give this series a try. I have only read the first two so far, and they are really good. Blue-Eyed Devil was my favorite, but I am excited to read the final two.

The only thing that bugs me is the first-person narrative. I like being able to get into the hero's head. Gage and Hardy have seemed kind of one-demensional and interchangeable to me as a result.

Historicals will always be my go-to, but I will definitely be looking for some more comemporaries after reading this series.
2. Travelover
Spoiler below:

I am a HUGE Lisa Kleypas fan. I loved her historicals - especially the Hathaway series. So I gladly ventured into her contemporary series. My favorite was the first book - Sugar Daddy. Besides loving Liberty (her courage and work ethic and determination to raise her sister properly - truly admirable) and stallwart, handsome Gage, I adored Churchill - the family patriarch. I was so very disappointed when Churchill was killed off - off screen between books #3 Smooth Talking Stranger and #4 Brown-eyed Girl. He was such a power-house, especially in the first book, I thought his "ending" DESERVED greater time and attention. I would also have preferred to have him see his last child marry and be happy and then go in his sleep with his family around him (although I DO understand THAT doesn't always happen in real life). BUT the way he was written off, in my humble opinion was very "ignoble". AND, although it was stressed Joe was ALSO one of Churchill's son's and part of a BIG wonderful family - Joe was written totally different - it was as if he was from another family. I realize not all children have the same interests, etc. - but this was, in my opinion unexpected and jarring. I was VERY disappointed in book #4.

Just my humble opinion!
3. pamelia
While I loved "Blue Eyed Devil" , I think "Smooth Talking Stranger" is just the best of the series. Jack is one of my top heroes and I think the story is just charming as all get out while still maintaining a great dramatic and emotional heft. Blue Eyed Devil was great, but it is not a go-to re-read for me like Smooth Talking Stranger. And Sugar Daddy was good, but the structure of the book has always felt awkward -- like a romance novella tacked onto the end of a coming of age novel.
I would rank them:
1) Smooth Talking Stranger
2) Blue Eyed Devil
3) Sugar Daddy
(Caveat: I have not read Brown Eyed Girl and likely won't till it is a reasonable price -- not paying $12.99).
4. TanyaLK
@Travelover - I know!! What was she thinking killing off Churchill? Argh...I almost wished she would do a book on Avery's half sister...And Hathaways series is my favorite of hers.

@Perfectsonnet, yep, I think historicals are still my absolute favorite. But the Travis family is still quite fabulous
5. TanyaLK
@Pamelia, I completely respect your ranking and can see how Sugar Daddy could feel disjointed. And I loved Joe's story too. But there was something about Blue-Eyed Devil that just shook me to the core and I've re-read it 5 times now? :)
6. JacquiC
Blue-Eyed Devil is my favourite by far and the one I have re-read the most frequently. Smooth Talking Stranger is a close second. I love Sugar Daddy, and Gage in particular, but the disjointed aspect of this book makes it seem a bit less awesome to me. And Brown-Eyed Girl was good -- Kleypas' ear for dialogue really comes through, as well as her voice from the other contemporaries -- but there didn't seem to be quite the same level of chemistry between the two protagonists. And Joe seemed more one-dimensional to me than any of the other heroes.
Carmen Pinzon
7. bungluna
I am more of a contemporary romance reader, so when an author I kept hearing great things about started writing in "my" genre, I jumped on it. My ranking is:
1. Smooth-Talking Stranger
2. Sugar Daddy
3. Blue-Eyed Devil
4. Brown-Eyed Girl

BEG felt like STS redux to me. BED was great, but the heroine was a problem for me towards the end.
8. Miss G
Smooth Talking Stranger was my favorite. That book made me smile,get mad,and CRY, and then smile while crying. It was great. After waiting so long for Brown Eyed girl, I was a little disappointed. The book was good but nothing like the previous books. What about Missing out on his recovery from the accident. I really did not like that Churchill was not a factor in this book.
Post a comment