Sep 13 2016 11:00am

Reading Lisa Kleypas for the First Time: A Diehard Historical Romance Fan Gets a Kleypas Education

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

I like to think of myself as a very big fan of historicals even though, for the most part, I find them to be pretty exclusive rather than inclusive. I like the idea of being swept away to a time where the things that currently bring us closer to one another (e.g. the internet) didn’t also complicate life.

Because the lack of indoor plumbing makes life in historical novels seem complicated enough.

But I digress. I’ve recently come to realize that there was an enormous gap in my historical education—a Lisa Kleypas–sized gap.

I know what you’re thinking: How can you be a historical fan and NOT have read Lisa Kleypas?

The answer: I’m not really sure.

I’ve voraciously read Beverly Jenkins, Tessa Dare, Elizabeth Hoyt, Mary Jo Putney, Mary Balogh, Jude Deveraux, and countless others…but somehow Lisa Kleypas just slipped through the cracks.

SEE ALSO: 10 Regency Romances You Should Read

And I’m very sorry for it.

Some kindly co-workers of mine helped me rectify this massive oversight and are leading me (happily) into the world of Lisa Kleypas.

I was a bit leery to begin a series, so I started with one of Kleypas’s standalone novels, Dreaming of You, and I was utterly enthralled.

I couldn’t put the book down. Kleypas writes such complete characters in Dreaming of You that it’s a joy to watch these two characters learn about themselves first, then fall in love. I love struggling heroes, and heroes that don’t realize they’re in love and do something so swoony (like pocketing the heroine’s glasses as a keepsake!!) that I’m just enchanted from start to finish.

If you’ve not read it like I hadn’t, it’s about a country-born Englishwoman who’s also a novelist. She’s almost “on the shelf,” but has a long-standing arrangement with a country beau back home.

Whether it’s right-place, wrong-time kind of scenario or fate, she manages to save the hero of the tale—a man who came from nothing and made himself the envy of many—by shooting the pistol she keeps in her reticule and mortally wounding someone.


Their romance is tumultuous and full of doubt and a lot of heat. Honestly, it’s excessively sexy. (Not a complaint!) And as much as I love dukes and lairds, I was so happy to see this hero, just a normal—if exceedingly rich—man.  It’s not atypical, but with the wealth of historicals currently available, it feels as though every available man is just some rapscallion Duke who’s not ready to marry.

(Don’t get me wrong; those are so fun, too.)

Now I’m diving headlong into the Hathaway series and I’m so happy I am. It’s like I’ve fallen into a vortex of deliciously grumbly men and women who aren’t wilting flowers and give sass and snark as good as they get.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things I Love About Regency Heroes

That’s totally my thing.

Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about The Wallflowers has nothing but good things to say, so that’s up next. I have to get there before someone spoils the forthcoming Devil in Spring for me.

I’m grateful for the gasps of righteous indignation of my co-workers who simply couldn’t believe that I’d never read Kleypas. They led me merrily into light and I’ve found a new set of historical romances to gush over, so thanks for clearing up this embarrassing oversight and not taking my romance reader card.

Have you read Lisa Kleypas? I’ve passed Kleypas 101... What would be your suggestions for Kleypas 201?


Learn more about or order a copy of Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas, available now:

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Jen is the production associate for H&H, a musical theatre nerd, and Thai food enthusiast. Tweet her or follow her on Tumblr.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kareni
It's so much fun to start reading a wonderful author who already has a sizeable number of books under her belt. You can read on and on and .... For Kleypas 201 (after you've read all her historicals), I suggest reading her contemporary series that starts with Sugar Daddy.
Jen Wattley
2. JenWattley
@Kareni- I agree, so great to find an author I enjoy with a sizable backlist. Thanks so much for the suggestion!
Nanci Kennedy
3. Nancikennedy
Technically, Dreaming of You isn't standalone. Derek first appeared in Lilly's book "Then Came You". It's a duology entitled "The Gamblers"

But Derek is still awesome to start with :)
Lexie Matias
4. OtterPuff
Of course! Kleypas is amazing.
I would takle The Wallflowers series next.
6. bookwormrose
I would have recommended starting with the Wallflowers series, if only because I hate reading out of sequence. The Wallflowers and the Hathaways are connected and chronologically Wallflowers comes first, so you get some mild spoilers in the Hathaway books, though they do not detract from them.

I am glad you found Kleypas...she was among my introductary authors to both romance and the historical sub-genre along with Victoria Alexander, Julia Quinn, and Celeste Bradley. If any of these have slipped passed you I highly recommend checking them out too! (after you finish with Kleypas, of course)
Laura Bracken
7. Night -owl
God, I'm so jealous that you are reading Kleypas for the 1st time! Her books are like having you first slice of Death by Chocolate cake(there is no going back).

You picked a brilliant book to start with(Derek has to be one of my favourite book boyfriends). If you loved Dreaming of You, I think you will love, Again the Magic(the hero in that is very brooding, in a good way :-)). I started with Suddenly You, and from there I didn't stop. I read most of her books back to back(I fondly remember that book binge).

I'd also start with the Wallflower series 1st, but before that I'd read Again the Magic because that story happens before the Wallflowers. But it doesn't matter, Kleypas is so good you can read her any way(I did). Enjoy! :-)
8. JulieG
For the longest time I didn't read historicals because I didn't think I liked historicals, then I found a title about a nerdy girl I wanted to read... One Good Earl Deserves A Lover (Sarah MacLean). That was back in *goes to look* 2013. I proceeded to read the previous book in the series, her previous series, *then* moved onto the amazing catalog of Lisa Kleypas. It's only in the last year I finally started reading Mary Balogh... another author with an amazing backlist of books.

Can't wait for Devil in Spring!
Jen Wattley
9. JenWattley
@Night-owl this is the best description I've read of reading a series for the first time! Kleypas truly is decadent and a wonderful reading experience! I'm so happy I've fallen into this reading spiral. :)

Thanks for the reccomendations!
10. Cindy K
I have read all of Lisa's historical romances & there are so many great books! I loved the Bow Street Runners series.
Another one of my favorite historical romance authors you may want to
try is Susan Johnson. The older books she wrote are steamy! I have them all and will never part with them.
11. CindyD
I would add Jo Beverly and Karen Hawkins (though she's fixated on Scots ). I also like Sherry Thomas.
12. lizzie18
I loved Dreaming of You. But it's the 2nd of a 2 part series (Gamblers of Craven's), so I would suggest anyone read Then Came you first.

I did not enjoy her first few books (early 90's), too much angst, but I enjoyed this Gamblers of Craven's series a lot. And I think she really hit her stride with the Bow Street Runners, followed by the Wallflowers and the Hathaways.

Fun fact, there was a short story, A Hathaway Wedding (Kev & Winnifred's wedding I think), that you could ask for and you would get a link via e-mail to read or print the story, which I did. I still have the 2011 e-mail in memory but I just checked and the link is not longer available. Too bad, hilarious highjinks at the wedding.

I am very glad Ms. Kleypas is back to writing historicalswith her Ravenels series. I did not enjoy at all her foray in contemporary , so I'm happy to see her back in historical novels.
georgina cowell
13. pudge
Cindy K never read any of Susan Johnson, can't find any on kindle. I'll have to do a bit of research which one would you recommend I try to find first?
14. Nancy Goldberg Levine
I was a Lisa Kleypas virgin until last year when I started listening to her Hathaway series as audiobooks. I like her contemporaries also. I also like Ella Quinn and Rose Gordon's books.
15. blondietex
People have already mentioned Julia Quinn, but if you like Kleypas, you must try out Sarah MacLean. She also has some sassy heroines and her hereos aren't all dukes. She has Love by the Numbers Triology, The Rules of Scoudrels quartet, and the new Scandal & Scoundrel series.

She's awesome!
16. Carmen Caspar
I have read Lisa Kleypas ever since her first books were published, most of those have never been re-released. Dreaming of You was an ideal place to start because Derek is an iconic hero. I would suggest Where Dreams Begin but all of her historical romances are delicious. Please read Lorraine Heath also, if you haven't. And Kleypas' contemporary Travises series as well
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