Suisan asked why she should read Dreaming of You. Good question. This is going to be a long post – so grab a coffee/tea/glass of wine/beer/scotch and water/bloody mary and settle back. Since I’ve been encouraging others to read this book and so many have taken up the challenge, I figured it was only right I read it myself. Ha ha! Just kidding. I’ve read it before. Many times before. But it has been quite a while since I read it cover to cover. Usually I would just read my favourite passages. And it was just as magical this time around as it was the first time. What is it about this book that has turned me into a unabashed promoter?
Well, years and years back I read the Kathleen Woodiwiss’s and Rosemary Rogers. It got to the point where I just couldn’t read another rape scene disguised as love. And I couldn’t stop laughing at Woodiwiss giving personality traits to body parts. I got away from romance for a while and when I got back into it, it was kisses only. Of course that wasn’t enough for long. So I slowly started reading books with *gasp* S.E.X. in them. Quite surprised the sisters who thought I was a prude I did. Dreaming of You was one of the first books I read where the hero was different than those old bodice rippers heroes of old. Yes, though I hate that term it does aptly describe the early days of modern romance books. Much to my delight Derek Craven was DIFFERENT. Sure he had a past with women. A lot of them. He was a male prostitute in his younger days. He was being viciously pursued by a Glenn Close type stalker woman. But once he met Sara, he was lost - he was wrecked. He became a pussycat who just couldn’t function anymore the way he used to. He kept her spectacles as a reminder of her – predating Roarke’s button. There were so many scenes that showed the – let’s see I don’t really want to use the term taming – but the sensitive side of Derek. This one gets me every time. Derek has sent Sara away, back to her little town, because he has grown too fond of her and is frightened of it. One of the “house wenches” comes to visit Sarah and tells her this story.
“The house wench needed no further prompting. “Mr. Crawen’s short in temper these days. Doesn’t eat or sleep, acts like ‘e’s got a bee up ‘is arse. Yesterday ‘e went to the kitchen an’ told Monsueir Labare ‘is soup tasted like bilgewater. Why, it took Gill an’ Worthy both to keep Labarge from gutting ‘im with a big knife!”*Heavy sigh*
“I-is that why you’ve come here, to tell me that? I’m very sorry to hear it, but. . .” Sara paused awkwardly and lowered her head. “His mood has nothing to do with me.”
“It ‘as ewerything to do with you, miss – an’ no one knows it better than me.”
Sara’s fists knotted tighter in her apron “what do you mean?”
Tabitha leaned forward, speaking in theatrical whisper. “Mr. Craven came to my bed two – not three nights ago. You know ‘e newer does that. Not with the ‘ouse wenches.”
Suddenly it was impossible to breathe. Sara remembered having felt like this long ago, when her horse Eppie had shied at some movement in the grass and thrown her to the ground. Sara had fallen flat on her stomach and had wheezed and gasped sickly for air. Oh, God, how could it matter this much to her that he had taken his pleasure within this woman’s body, held her and kissed her –
“Is eyes were so strange, “ Tabitha continued. “like ‘e was looking through the gates of ‘ell. ‘I ‘as a special request, ‘e says, ‘a’ if you tells anyone about it, I’ll ‘have you skinned an’ gogged,’ So I says awright, an’ then-“
“No.” Sara felt as if she would shatter to pieces if she heard one more word. “Don’t tell me. I-I don’t want to hear-“
“ ‘E came to my bed. “e tole me not to say anyfin, no matter what ‘e did. No matter what ‘e said. Then Mr. Craven turned the lamp down an’ took me against ‘im…”Tabitha averted her gaze as she continued. Sara was frozen in place. “ ‘Let me hold you, Sara, ‘e says. “I need you, Sara’…all night long it was, ‘im pretending I was you. It’s because we look alike, you an’ me. That’s why ‘e did it.” She shrugged with a touch of embarrassment. “ “E was gentle an’ sweet about it too. In the morning ‘e left without a word, but there was still that terrible look in ‘is eyes-“.
Anyway – what a difference between this hero and the ones like Steve or Brandon. *shudder*
Some might not like that he had sex with someone other that Sara at this point, but as she was engaged elsewhere, I think it’s a very powerful scene and shows just how lost Derek is without Sara.
Don’t get me wrong – Derek is no wimp. He is strong. I just adore this next scene. Those few of you who haven’t yet read it and are planning to might want to close their eyes for a minute.
This scene happens earlier – before he sends Sara away. Things are getting pretty hot and heavy between Derek and Sara although Derek doesn’t realize at first it’s Sara he’s doing the deed with. When he does – he’s none to happy
“Stay still!.” Derek swallowed hard, his gaze traveling to the lush display of her breasts. “You and your… research.” He said the word as if it were obscene. His hand covered her breast, his palm rubbing over the nipple until it formed a tight bud. He tried to let her go, but his body wouldn’t obey. Every nerve screamed rebelliously. He wanted her. He would have given everything he owned just to grind himself inside her. Breathing harshly through his teeth, he fought to contain his desire.Well, Sara doesn’t stay still and things get hot and heavy again before they are rudely interrupted.
“I wanted to be someone other than myself, “ Sara said in defiant whisper. “The kind of woman that you would…dance with… and desire. And even now…I don’t regret what I’ve done. You may not feel any attraction for Sara Fielding, but at least you felt something for the woman I pretended to be, and that – “
“You don’t think I want you?” he asked hoarsely.
“I knew when you refused to kiss me this morning–"
“That’s what this is about? You wanted revenge because I didn’t…” Craven seemed to choke on the words. When he managed to speak again, his voice was tainted with a cockney twang. “It wasn’t enow for you that I’ve ached like a drawn dog ever since you came ‘ere-“.
“Drawn dog? She repeated in confusion.
“Pulled away before the rutting’s finished.” He clenched his hands on either side of her face, glaring at her. “I wanted you this morning, you little tease. I’ve wanted to do you over since the first time I…Be still!”.
“Sir, shall I have a carriage brought for…?” Worthy paused, unwilling to voice Sara’s name.
“Yes,” Derek said tersely. “Get out, Worthy.”
The factotum close the door.
Sara couldn’t seem to stop trembling. She clenched her arms around Craven’s shoulders and buried her face against the humid skin of his throat. She had never experienced the pain of unsatisfied desire before. It hurt. It hurt like nothing she’d ever felt, and there seemed to be no remedy. Although she expected Craven to be cruel, he was kind at first, holding her tightly against his body and rubbing her back. “Dog-drawn,” he said with a humorless laugh. “A few minutes and you’ll be all right.”
OK–you can look now.
Honestly – who among us hasn’t experienced what Sara did – or Derek for that matter although I don’t think us women can really appreciate a good case of blue balls? I think it’s a great scene.
Others who have read Kleypas may have their other favourite heroes. Derek didn’t work as well for Ag as did Nick Gentry. And Sybil slightly preferred Sebastian but Derek was the first of the Kleypas bad boy heroes I read and considering I read this one first and waaayyy back when, he holds a special place for me.
I haven’t touched much on Sara. She is what saved the book for Ag, while Bam was only so so on her. I loved her! She was a country mouse and she seemed in a way to lay back and accept Derek’s banishment. But once she made up her mind he was who she wanted – well she became a tigress. I really liked that about her. She isn’t the most flamboyant heroine – but then that allows Derek to shine even more.
Ms. Kleypas doesn’t just leave us when Derek and Sara finally get together (I hope I’m not giving any spoilers when I say this – I mean you know it’s going to happen – its’ a romance) Rather she gives us a glimpse of their married life. In fact she saves the most emotional moment in the whole book for the end. When Derek thinks Sara has perished in the fire – well, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve read and reread those passages. And each and every time I do, it still packs a wallop for me.
For any of those curious – I’ve never written Ms. Kleypas or gotten in touch with her in any way over this. I doubt she’s even aware of this promotion of her book. I have written a few authors in the past but never her. I don’t visit the Avon board and post about how ‘OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!! IT’S THE BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN!!!!! It’s just a book that touched me deeply, proved to me that reading romance was the best choice and one I will never get tired of. I’m not an unabashed Kleypas fan girl. While she is an autobuy author, so are many others and I’m the first to admit some of her books really don’t work for me – Lady Sophia’s Lover for example was one that I did not care for at all!.
I have had SO much fun seeing so many readers discover this book for the first time!! Most of them have really enjoyed it - some as much as me, others not quite. There are still a few of you out there - and I have your names. My hound list is much smaller, but there are still some out there whose names I can add to the list. So for all those who played along with me - my thanks. And those who haven't yet - well, I hope you're all good and curious now *grin*