Hello Stranger (The Ravenels book 4)
Hello Stranger is the book 4 of Lisa Kleypas's most recent historical romance series The Ravenels that has been running since 2015. So far I've enjoyed her return to the arena of historical romance after a long break. Hello Stranger, for me, wasn't a highly anticipated release but to be honest, I was simply blown away by this one!
Set in the Victorian-era, The Ravenels series has already had 5 installments published, the latest in February 2019 titled "Devil's Daughter". Book 1, "Cold-Hearted Rake" gives you the intro to The Ravenel family and its two surviving brothers Devon and Weston. The brothers lived a wild life, bend on self-destruction. They didn't have anything to live for, had no intentions of ever marrying or having their own families. Then, all of a sudden, the brothers come across a bit of inheritance that changes the course of their path. Being the eldest, Devon becomes the heir to the Treanor earldom and inherits it with all its chaos. They thought they'd be swallowed whole into the debt darkened pit of this massive inheritance, had even thought of selling out so get rid of it. But then Devon meets Katharine, the young widow of the previous Earl and the Earl's 3 sisters. Devon and Weston had a change of heart when suddenly they realized now they have people who relied on them.
The continuing 2 releases give us the stories of 2 Ravenel sisters, Helen and Pandora whereas book 5 had Weston's.
"Hello Stranger" slightly veers away from the direction of the Ravenels even though they remain a big part of it. This is the story of a female doctor and a former detective. Despite the fact I was not really fond of her manly name, I liked Garrett Gibson. She was one in a million because she was the only practicing female doctor of that time. Indeed she had an interesting personality. Garrett was the personal physician of Rhys Winterborne, an exceptionally wealthy man who married Helen in book 2, "Marrying Winterborne".
Ethan Ransom had been investigating a case for the Ravenels. But he had his own secrets to hide. Ethan ad been a spy to an extremely powerful man in the Home Office; power that definitely wasn't legal by any means. When we first met Ethan, everybody who knew the Ravenels were rather shocked by his close resemblance to them. Ethan worked for Rhys a few times. Initially that's how he met Garrett. And the first day he saw her, he knew he was in trouble. The depth of his longing for her scared the hell out of him and because of that, Ethan has tried to keep his distance. But from those meetings you wouldn't even guess what was going on inside his mind. I surely didn't.
Born into a poor family, Ethan's life had been surrounded by sadness and misery. The man called 'father' wasn't his real father. Ethan's mother was fooled by the attention of a rich peer of the realm. That's how she had Ethan, knowing this peer would never acknowledge his illegitimate son. Ethan had, since then, found out who the man was and hated the Ravenel name with every breath of his body. He even hates the resemblance but it's not so easy to hide when he has to mingle with the people in question due to his ongoing investigation. Never knowing a real father had its effects on him and Ethan was also fooled by the powerful man, who, in the beginning gave him the impression of a father figure. That's how he trained and shaped Ethan to his liking to carry out their 'missions'. He blindly followed this man until he found out his treachery that involved death of innocent people.
Garrett's background was much better than Ethan's. With her father's support, Garrett acquired a scholarship to study in Sorbonne, France to become a doctor. She trained well and loves her profession. But she'd also been resigned to the fact that because of its demand she'd never be able to marry or have a family… until she met Ethan.
It all started when one day she confronted Ethan of following her around, then promptly understanding that he's worried of her safety. The realization that someone is so worried about her gave Garrett a new perspective. Garrett was already trained in basics of some self defense techniques, but Ethan knew she needed to know more. So he invites her to train with him. I don't think Ethan and Garrett could've denied the crazy chemistry, the strong pull they felt for each-other, no matter how much they tried. Yet, since Ethan had his own plans to deflect his boss's nefarious ones, he knew too much involvement meant Garrett would be in extreme danger.
But all the precautions he'd taken wouldn't be enough for Ethan. Fate would inevitably catch up with him. But Ethan had already taken steps to put his own plans into motion and there was no turning back. When the attack came, he wasn't prepared. His last thought was of Garrett before being struck down by a bullet.
Meanwhile in the safety of her home, Garrett was oblivious to it all. Then her worst nightmare becomes a reality when a carriage from the Ravenel house comes to her door, asking her to visit them ASAP due to an emergency.
The next few chapters were my absolute favorite! For me, those showed the pinnacle of not only Garrett and Ethan's relationship-which grew to be absolutely impenetrable because of what they went through together-but also showcased how Ethan finally came to terms with his own heritage. I'll gladly admit that where others have failed, Ethan Ransom surpassed all my expectations where a hero from this series is concerned. He was the first hero who gave me the feeling of a true Lisa Kleypas hero. He was amazing! Paired with someone as interesting as Garrett, to me they were the best couple of this series!