I didn’t dislike Devil in Spring. It was an enjoyable read. As soon as I was done and thinking about the review, the words “manic pixie dream girl” came rushing into my brain. It’s not entirely fair. But kind of.
Lady Pandora Ravenel is not like the other girls. We know this because everyone says it all the time. She’s different, she’s not like the others, she’s a wild child. And Gabriel Challon, Lord St. Vincent treats her like a child a lot of the time. The purpose of the stock character of the manic pixie dream girl (MPDG) is to get the male protagonist to embrace life and adventure. In being different from all the other girls, Pandora drifts perilously close to MPDG. The only real disqualifier is that she does have plans and a dream for herself. Those plans and dreams made an interesting roadblock to Pandora and Gabriel’s marriage, but once they were married, Kleypas comes really close to making Pandora’s plans and dreams just another tool for teaching Gabriel to embrace the mysteries of life.
I think two things would have moved Pandora away from MPDG and rooted her more firmly as her own character. One would have been more scenes of Pandora working that did not involve the terrorism plot. The other would have been giving us a better basis for Gabriel suddenly deciding he must marry Pandora. As it is, all I know is that one minute he thinks she is beautiful and ill suited to being his wife, and the next he must have her as his wife. Other than lust and her not being like the other girls, I’m not sure what changed his mind.
It was kind of a weird book. I think Kleypas wanted to write a Courtney Milan book, but didn’t quite know how. She lays out the quandary that women were in once they married – losing their legal identity. I know Kleypas sets up the terrorism plot to bring Mr. Ransom and Dr. Gibson together, but I think it would have been much more interesting to focus the story on Gabriel and Pandora struggling to work through Pandora’s loss of legal identity and the prevailing attitudes about women.
I did enjoy reading Devil in Spring, much more than I enjoyed reading Cold Hearted Rake. I even enjoyed thinking about the problems I had with the book. Thank you, Malin, for sending me a copy.