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
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
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!