Same Old Same Old: Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

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A woman who defies her time

Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule

As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

Source: GoodReads

I binged on Lisa Kleypas a couple of years ago.  I found her books to be fun and engaging.  Sure, they were a bit monotonous at times-banter and then a plot sort of slips in about the three quarter mark of the book-but still the characters made me enjoy her books.

Her most recent series the Ravenels have been either hit or miss for me.  Unfortunately, Hello, Stranger a book I was eagerly awaiting turned out to be a dud for me.

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Hello, Stranger tells the story of the Garrett Gibson the Ravenels unofficial family doctor in the series and Ethan Ransom who is apparently a bastard Ravenel-though we’re only given pretty much a blanket overview of Ethan’s origins towards the end of the book.  To be honest, Ethan’s origins really don’t play as important of a role to the book as I thought they would other than I guess sort of provide him with a safe house and a way to connect Garrett to the family…

Most of the cameos from the other characters in this series were very brief in this installment.  I’ve almost forgot about Cassandra or for that Sebastian’s son who was the hero in the last book-Funny, I can’t even remember his name as I’m writing this.  I just refer to him as Sebastian’s son.  That is not a good thing.

What’s worse than that is both Garrett and Ransom seem oddly cardboard like too.  In most of Kleypas’s books I feel like I truly know the characters by the time I close the book.  Honestly, with Ransom and Garrett I felt like I knew them better when they were supporting characters rather than leads.

I was really excited about reading Garrett’s story too since she was breaking glass ceilings long before anyone else was.  Honestly though, I was a little disgusted when at one point in the book a fellow doctor mansplains Garret and she shrugs it off as if the mansplainer was right.  No, the mansplainer was not right.  The church’s views on birth control are crap and in my opinion Garret did nothing wrong in voicing her opinion to that ignorant patient.  But hey…

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The whole spy angle was very tedious and more or less there to add the hero almost dies plot twist.  Kleypas loves this trope.  She has used it in both Devil books, a couple of times in the other Wallflower books, and I vaguely recall it being used in one of the Bow Street Runner books too.  While it can be sort of exciting…now it really is monotonous  after awhile and I know that even though said hero or heroine should die given their wounds their not because hello…that would defeat the purpose of having a romance.

To be fair though, I guess having Garrett be a doctor sort of made this trope a necessity but it was still for the most part eye roll worthy.

I think what bothered me about this book more than anything was the lack of the development with the relationship between these two characters.  They are clearly attracted to each other physically but I did not get their emotional connection.  And honestly, I skim throw the physical scenes.  Book sex scenes always make me roll my eyes-sorry, not sorry.

The best part of the book might’ve been West-who is getting his own book next year.  It’s funny because I said the best part about Pandora and Sebastian Son’s book was Ransom and Garrett.  So, am I going to be disappointed next year when West gets his own book?

Probably.

Kleypas’s fans might want to pick this one up.  While it is lackluster it was enjoyable enough to unwind to after a hellish week.  However, it’s not the best she has to offer.  If you want to read Kleypas at her peak I recommend either the Wallflower series if you like historical romances or the Travis series if you’re more into contemporaries.

Overall Rating: A B- I enjoyed it enough at the time but it is fairly forgettable and disappointing from an author of this caliber.

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