Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Blue-Eyed Devil *MUST READ BOOK THIS YEAR!*

There are not many books that can effect you so much that you can hardly bare to start reading a new one. Or you just simply sit and stare into space because you are trying to hold back tears and figure out why such a book has affected you the way that it did. One such book that tore me apart emotionally was The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. I literally balled my eyes out after I finished and refused to pick up another book for two weeks after. Quite shocking coming from me, because if I don’t read almost everyday, I get the shakes. I need my books!

I have found another book that comes in a very close second and almost gave me the same reaction just like the one I had with The Bronze Horseman. This time around my experience was much more personal and internal. I did not cry, or fall apart, but was very much out of it the whole day. Not a good thing to be when you must be on your toes at work. But even though I felt this way, I look back and was beyond thrilled I had the chance to read this insightful and wonderful piece of literature. Lisa Kleypas has reached her zenith with Blue Eyed Devil and is my number one top read of 2008, and will go down in my top 20 of all time favorite books. If you have not yet read Blue Eyed Devil, you are missing out on something so powerful. Lisa has tapped into so many of my emotions that were long forgotten and pushed deep down inside.

Blue Eyed Devil is the first person POV of Gage’s (hero from Sugar Daddy) younger sister, Haven Travis. Things start with Haven at Gage and Liberty’s (heroine from Sugar Daddy) wedding where she has brought along her boyfriend and soon to be fiancee’ Nick. Things could never be better because Haven is marrying the man she loves and who she wants to build a home and family with. Haven feels her own family life is lacking since she is always at odds with her father and she doesn’t really get along with her two brothers, Jack and Joe. The only one she has a real connection with is her other brother Gage. Also at this wedding is party crasher Hardy Cates who has known Liberty ever since she was a teen. Liberty and Hardy have a past and Hardy is not welcome at the Travis shindig. But there is something about Hardy that speaks to Haven even though she is with another man. For a brief moment, Haven and Hardy come in contact with each other and that scene between them speaks wonders. But since it is only for a brief moment, they go their separate ways.

Poor Haven’s marriage is unlike anything she imagined it would be. In the beginning, things are great with Nick, until he starts to change. His change becomes a snowball effect of emotional and physical abuse. Haven tries to stay to the bitter end because she believes things will get better or she is the one at fault for the way Nick acts. Then one night everything comes crashing down and Haven has no choice but to leave her husband with only the clothes on her back. Because she is so bruised and beaten she limps to the nearest pay phone and calls for Gage to help her.

Haven is welcomed back by Gage and Liberty, but she is so ashamed. She can no longer be touched, even by her own brother, and feels she is a failure. Her own father said her marriage would never last and now she has come crawling home with her tail between her legs. Gage, along with Jack and Joe want to beat the ever loving crap out of Nick for his crimes against Haven, which in this situation was not a shock. I had hoped Nick would get “his” by the Travis boys, but Haven won’t let them. She is bigger than that, and rather just divorce Nick and try to pick up the pieces of her life.

Haven does pick up the pieces, but very slowly. She goes to therapy and relies on her family, even though she is still on the outs with her father. And you would think Gage would be the main one who helps her the most out of her brothers, but it is actually her brother Jack, the one who never understood or got along with her. These two have become the best of friends and he is now one of her closest confidants.

Suddenly, Hardy Cates comes waltzing back into Haven’s life. Haven is still very much attracted to Hardy, but she is still healing and will not put herself in the same position she was with Nick. Hardy is gruff and a bit unhinged around the edges. He could hurt her badly if he chooses to. One horrible thought Haven has about Hardy is where she wonders if he has ever hit a woman. She is so very scared but also intrigued by this man who looks at her like he is parched and she is a drink of water. Ever so slowly, Hardy breaks through her defenses. He courts her much like a cowboy or stable hand would with a horse that doesn’t want to be tamed. Hardy isn’t aware about the abuse Haven has suffered, but he knows she needs extra special care. Even his kisses ease her into accepting him. Hardy heals her with his respect and love, and when these two do become intimate; their lovemaking is full of fireworks, love and care. But, Nick is in the background, and he won’t go away. There comes a point where Haven has to decide what to do with him and if she should go ahead and have a future with Hardy.

I was very much like Haven at one point in my life, more so with the emotional abuse rather than the physical. She spoke to me on so many levels. For someone like Haven to walk away from a person she has loved and tried her hardest to please is very, very hard. She is a survivor and even though she does walk away from the abuse, the only way she can heal is to continue on with her life, get her self esteem back and learn to possibly love again. She does love again with Hardy in so many ways. I guess you could say Hardy is her knight in shining armor, and her savior. He is to a point, but Haven is the one who has saved herself. She is her own savior.

Lisa has taken the subject matter of abuse and has written a story unlike any I have read. There are so many forms of abuse; the main one here being marital. But there are other forms showcased her such as the one with Haven and her boss who is very manipulative. There is even abuse between a parent and a child where Churchill, Haven’s father, has his doubts about her, which began when she was younger. In a way this is also a form of abuse.

When I finally closed the last page of Blue Eyed Devil, I felt drained but happy at the same time. Perhaps it is the knowledge that I have overcome so much in my life, much like Haven has done. Some situations were small, others so big that it shaped me into the woman I am today. And just knowing there is someone who can reach me in so many ways without knowing me personally is a hero in my eyes.

Without any doubt, Blue Eyed Devil gets:

5 out of 5 stars and the best book of 2008!

Katiebabs (KB)

17 comments:

little alys said...

Great review!!! Makes me want to read it all the more, but if there's going to be a third book... I don't know how much longer I can last. >_<

Kristie (J) said...

What was so special for me about this book is how believable it is - and I think like many women who read it, we can relate to certain aspects of it. It stayed with me for a long time afterwards too - and in fact I reread it just last week and it still packed a powerful punch.
And it was truly uplifting at the end wasn't it - to take that journey with Haven and come out on the other side. I think this one works so well BECAUSE it's first person - we feel we are actually living and healing right along with Haven.

Rowena said...

Oh wow....this was a great review! I cannot wait to read this book!

Brie said...

It's always wonderful when a book can touch you on an emotional level. Great review, Katie!

Katie(babs) said...

I forgot to mention my favorite scene, but Haven notices Hardy's blue eyes. At one point he sees her and calls her brown eyes. AWWWW!!!

I so so this book and Hardy is coming with me on my DIK island.

Christine said...

Great review Kate!
You know how much I love this book, so I'll refrain from gushing once again. I 100% agree with you that Haven saved herself. Sure, she had some help along the way, but it was up to her to use what others were giving her for her own survival. Its a very empowering story. Definitely one of my favorite books of all time... right now it is probably THE favorite.

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I loved when Hardy told her she had eyes the color of Dr. Pepper. LOVED THAT PART! ;)
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Sarai said...

Alright that's it I am buying now that the tax money is here. Damn it. I LOVED Sugar Daddy so bring on some BED.
So I guess this means we need to save Hardy for you huh?
;0) I'll help you fight for him!

Jill D. said...

Katie, Wow, that was a very nice review. I almost teared up reading it! I agree. BED is definitely my top 2008 read.

Katie(babs) said...

Anyone who steals Hardy from me is going down!!

J. Kaye Oldner said...

I have this on my shelf...can't wait to read it!

Katie(babs) said...

J. Kaye: If there is one book you read this year, it must be Blue-Eyed Devil!
:D

LeeAnn said...

I think I need to re-read this book. I really liked it but it didn’t affect me as emotionally as it did others. It just didn’t blow me out of the water. I LOVED Sugar Daddy so I’ll have to re-read BED and give it another try.

J. Kaye Oldner said...

"Sugar Daddy" did blow me out of the water. Had me wondering why I'd never read anything by this author before.

lol @ Katie(babs)- It will be the next book on my list!

Katie(babs) said...

J. Kaye: Lisa Kleypas is know for her historical romances and is one of the best romance authors around. Sugar Daddy and Blue Eyed Devil are her first contemporaries.
I enjoyed Sugar Daddy, mainly for the heroine, but after reading Blue Eyed Devil, I was blown away as you can see :D
I didn't want to read Sugar Daddy because I was so afraid that her movie to contemporaries wouldn't be as good as her historicals. Well, I was wrong! LOL

Bridget Locke said...

Now I have to go read this one. I just finished & reviewed Sugar Daddy yesterday. What a great book that was. :)

I still hate Hardy's name, but maybe that's just me. :)

Alice said...

It was that good?? I've reserved Sugar Daddy and BED, so we'll see how it goes.

Katie(babs) said...

It was better than good. Afterward, I sat on the bus going home from work holding back tears. And Hardy!! OMG. Sex on a stick.