Kleypas, Lisa 1964-
Kleypas, Lisa 1964-
Born November 5, 1964, in Temple, TX; daughter of Lloyd (an architect) and Linda (a homemaker) Kleypas; married Gregory Ellis (a company vice president); children: Griffin (son). Education: Wellesley College, B.A., 1987. Religion: Reformed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). Hobbies and other interests: Playing guitar, gardening, cooking.
Agent—Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates, Inc., 164 E. 64th St., New York, NY 10021.
Writer and novelist.
Romance Writers of America.
Miss Massachusetts, 1985; Francis Award, Romance Journal, 1999, and Rita Award finalist, Best Short Historical, Romance Writers of America, 1999, both for Someone to Watch over Me; Rita Award finalist, Romance Writers of America, 2002, for Suddenly You; Rita Award, Romance Writers of America, 2002, for novella in Wish List; Best Sensuous Historical Romance award, Romantic Times Online magazine, 2002, for Lady Sophia's Lover; Rita Award, Best Short Historical, Romance Writers of America, 2004, for Worth Any Price; Rita Award finalist, Short Historical Category, Romance Writers of America, 2006, for It Happened One Autumn; Rita Award finalist, Best Short Historical, Romance Writers of America, 2007, for The Devil in Winter and Scandal in Spring.
Where Passion Leads, New American Library (New York, NY), 1987.
Love, Come to Me, New American Library (New York, NY), 1988.
Forever My Love, New American Library (New York, NY), 1988.
Give Me Tonight, New American Library (New York, NY), 1989.
Only in Your Arms, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1992.
Only With Your Love, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1992.
Then Came You, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1993.
Dreaming of You, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1994.
Midnight Angel, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Prince of Dreams, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Somewhere I'll Find You, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Because You're Mine, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Stranger in My Arms, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Where Dreams Begin, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Suddenly You, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2001.
When Strangers Marry, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Where's My Hero?, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Again the Magic, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Sugar Daddy, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.
"BOW STREET RUNNERS" SERIES
Someone to Watch Over Me, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Lady Sophia's Lover, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Worth Any Price, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Secrets of a Summer Night, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2004.
It Happened One Autumn, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Devil in Winter, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Scandal in Spring, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to anthologies, including Christmas Love Stories, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1991; Three Weddings and a Kiss, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1995; Wish List, Dorchester Publishing (New York, NY), 2001; and Gifts of Love, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Author's books have been translated into fourteen languages.
The author of numerous historical romance novels, Lisa Kleypas chose writing as a career from the age of sixteen. She wrote several unpublished novels while in high school and college, and was only twenty-one when her first novel was published, just before she graduated from college as a political science major. A former Miss Massachusetts and a contestant in the 1985 Miss America Pageant, Kleypas became a best-selling author during the 1990s.
In an interview with Claire E. White for Writers Write: The Internet Writing Journal, Kleypas said her experience in the beauty pageants was a double-edged sword, making her feel confident of her appearance but also self-conscious. She carried these reactions over to her writing, where, she said, they greatly influence the development of her characters. "I seldom, if ever, write about physically perfect heroines—they are always short, or plump, or too thin, or small-breasted, or there is some uncertainty that makes them less than 100 percent confident. After all, that's how we real women are."
The scandalous Lily Lawson is the main character in Kleypas's novel Then Came You. She is matched with Lord Alex Raiford, a cool and tragic figure who, according to a reviewer on the Laurie Likes Books Web site, becomes a truly heroic figure "not only strong but supportive, tender, and giving." Lily is searching for her illegitimate daughter, who has been kidnapped by her father. She wants her daughter back but fears that Alex will abandon her once he finds out about the child. Lily has never learned to trust anyone—can Alex relieve her fears? According to the Laurie Likes Books reviewer, he does, time and again, sometimes in physical ways, sometimes emotionally. "This is not a man who decided to change his love to fit his ideal," concluded the reviewer. "This is a man who reached out and grabbed his love, held on for dear life, and went for a hell of a ride!"
Kleypas told White in the Writers Write interview that her ideal male character is a self-made man or one who "has risen above difficult circumstances." An important part of his strength of character is the intensity with which he loves the heroine. Kleypas added: "This is the most important quality to me: I have to feel that the heroine will be able to develop and improve as a person because of his presence in her life."
Midnight Angel is the first of two novels Kleypas has written about Russian aristocracy. The beautiful Anastasia Kaptereva has been imprisoned for the murder of her betrothed, Prince Mikhail Angelovsky. She cannot remember committing the crime, and she escapes to England, where she becomes governess to young Emma Stokehurst. Emma's father, Lord Lucas Stokehurst, falls in love with Anastasia and she with him. However, Anastasia's past threatens to catch up with her. A Publishers Weekly contributor found the pace of the novel alternately fast and slow but commended Kleypas on her research, which creates "a real sense of place and period," and on her dialogue and humor. The contributor also noted that Kleypas's "‘evil’ characters never stoop to being stock simplistic boogeymen (or women)."
Prince of Dreams continues the story of Emma Stokehurst, who, as a young woman, marries the Russian prince Nikolas Angelovsky after her previous suitor deserts her. Nikolas's character changes dramatically after the marriage, however, as he is drawn into the past and the tragic love story of one of his ancestors. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "Kleypas's style is clear and uncomplicated. If one can forgive the flashback … then the rest of the book is a treat."
In Somewhere I'll Find You, Julia Hargate—better known as Mrs. Jessica Wentworth, a famous and desirable actress—falls in love with her husband from an arranged childhood marriage when they meet again after several years' separation. However, Julia's career threatens to stand in the way of a happy marriage and children. The sequel to this book, Because You're Mine, is set in the London theater scene of the 1830s and is the story of young Madeline, who wants to be free of her engagement to a man she does not love. As a way out, she seduces the actor and ladies' man Logan Scott. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted: "Vibrant characters, stormy conflict and passionate love scenes make this a satisfyingly romantic read."
Stranger in My Arms is based on the true story of the Frenchman Martin Guerre, who abandons his wife. Several years later, a look-alike stranger appears, claiming to be the lost husband and seeking the family fortune. Kleypas rewrote the story, with a different setting and with her main characters, Lady Lara and Hunter, Lord Hawksworth, motivated by love. "I wanted the stranger to invade her life because of her, because of his need for love and belonging, instead of the mercenary desire for material possessions and family fortune," Kleypas told White in the Writers Write interview. "He is constantly urged by the heroine to look after others' needs as well as his own, until he finally, naturally, inhabits the heroic role he has created for himself." Lara is then moved by Hawksworth's passionate love. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "Hunter wins Lara with his exquisite lovemaking and becomes a better husband than the man who left her."
Kleypas is known for her tastefully written love scenes, which capture the passion of romance between the particular characters. In the interview with White, she said: "I have made a point never to use foul language or ‘bed-hopping’ characters, and I am even reluctant to use euphemisms for body parts. I believe what makes a love scene really sizzle is to always remind the reader of the emotional context of the scene … what has led to this act, and how it will change their relationship from now on, and why making love with this one person is different from doing it with someone else."
Someone to Watch Over Me introduces the Bow Street runner characters that reappear in Kleypas's later novels, including Worth Any Price. Runners were men who performed police detective work and served London magistrates before the city had a police force. The runner Grant Morgan is the main character, and his lady love is Vivien Duvall, a red-haired beauty whose attempted murder Morgan investigates. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "The questions of exactly who it is that he has slept with and who hates Vivien Duvall enough to try to kill her are quite intriguing."
Suddenly You is the story of a nineteenth-century "spinster," thirty-year-old Amanda Briars, who is a romance writer. Amanda decides to hire a male prostitute for one night of pleasure, but seduces handsome publisher Jack Devlin instead, mistaking him for the prostitute when he comes to her door. The following week, she is stunned to learn that he is her new publisher. Love develops between the two, in spite of their mutual desire for independence. A Publishers Weekly contributor praised Kleypas's characters in this novel, especially Jack, "the half-Irish bastard son of a lord, who truly shines as he struggles to overcome his dark past."
In Lady Sophia's Lover, Lady Sophia Sydney makes her way into Sir Ross Cannon's home in hopes of seducing him and ruining his reputation. However, he falls in love with her, and eventually, she falls for him. Could this turn out to be a respectable marriage?
Worth Any Price puts Lady Sophia's brother, Bow Street runner and reformed criminal Nick Gentry, on the trail of Charlotte Howard, a young woman who has fled her abusive and much older fiance, Lord Radnor. Known throughout London as a rake and womanizer, Nick has lately considered the merits of taking a wife and settling down. Soon, he succeeds in locating the object of his latest assignment, but when he finds Charlotte, he has an unexpectedly emotional reaction and decides that he wants her for his own. He offers to become her husband and protector, which will keep her from being forced to return to the odious and cruel Lord Radnor. Though she knows little about him, Charlotte accepts Nick's offer, suspecting that secrets of his past will eventually be revealed. "With this spicy, seamless story, Kleypas reaffirms her place as one of the foremost writers in the historical romance arena," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Kleypas opens her Victorian "Wallflowers" series with Secrets of a Summer Night. In this inaugural novel, Kleypas introduces the Wallflowers, a quartet of young women—Annabelle Peyton, Evangeline Jenner, Lillian Bowman, and Lillian's younger sister Daisy Bowman—who have joined forces to help each other find husbands. In this first novel, Annabel finds herself in the unfortunate position of needing to marry for money in order to keep her old-world aristocratic family together. To her dismay, she finds herself being pursued by Simon Hunt, a commoner who nonetheless has been quite successful as an entrepreneur and investor. As the story progresses, the two main protagonists work through their clashing viewpoints on class and society, with Annabelle becoming more appreciative of Simon's working-class roots and Simon battling his insecurity over Annabelle's social standing. Though Annabelle would rather snare a rich aristocrat as a husband, she comes to realize that Simon has much to offer, as well, and wedding bells seem inevitable. A Publishers Weekly critic concluded: "By turns amusing, sensual and sober, but always compelling, this is a first-rate offering from a truly talented storyteller." On the Romantic Times Online Web site, reviewer Kathe Robin called the book "a sheer joy to read," while Best Reviews Web site contributor Suan Wilson named it "funny and passionate."
It Happened One Autumn follows the development of Wallflower Lillian Bowman's turbulent relationship with the stoic and proper Marcus, Lord Westcliff. The brash and opinionated Lillian, an American heiress in Britain, strives to break Marcus's well-composed demeanor, though he finds the idea of consorting with the outrageous Lillian an affront to his dignity. Still, the two cannot evade a strong and obvious attraction, and the bold but lovely Lillian and the handsome but reserved Marcus struggle to come to terms with their strengthening emotional attachment to each other. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "the story quickly evolves into the kind of engrossing, dynamic romance that readers have come to expect from Kleypas."
The events of Devil in Winter lead Evangeline Jenner, a Wallflower and gambling-house heiress, to desperation as she seeks to avoid an unwanted marriage being pressed upon her by her relatives. Her family situation is rapidly deteriorating; her father is dying, but her mother will not let her see him in his final days. Evangeline is convinced that they plan to marry her off to an eligible cousin, and then probably kill her to take over her considerable dowry and inheritance. To foil these diabolical plans, she takes the unprecedented and scandalous step of proposing to Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, a known rake and philanderer whose own inheritance is being rapidly squandered by a father who shows no signs of slowing down, let alone dying. Part of her proposal includes the stipulation that she will spend one night in the marriage bed with him in order the make the union legitimate, but afterward there will be no further intimacy or even association. Though he is surprised by Evangeline's boldness, Sebastian is intrigued, and even attracted to the shy young woman. He is willing to accept her proposal, but becomes determined to win her over and make her his wife in deed as well as spirit. In doing so, he seeks to welcome Evangeline's affection as a balm for his own troubled past, and as the reason for giving up his own wanton ways. Carolyn Crisher, writing on the Romance Reviews Today Web site, commented that Kleypas's "deft handling of the story and characters is so seamless and perfect that it's as though the story is happening before our eyes. Every situation rings true to life, and her ability to draw chuckles as well as tears is incomparable."
Sugar Daddy, a stand-alone novel, tells the story of Liberty Jones, a beautiful young woman of mixed Mexican and American heritage, who struggles against the poverty, social stigma, and low socioeconomic status to find love and acceptance in her small-town home of Welcome, Texas. Living in a trailer park and ostracized by the other kids in town, Liberty falls in love with Hardy Cates, a bold and rough cowboy whose good looks and wild streak prove irresistible. When Hardy leaves to seek his fortunes elsewhere, he breaks the teenaged Liberty's heart. When her parents die in an accident, Liberty finds herself forced to fend for herself and her five-year-old sister, Carrington. She attends beautician's school to learn a trade, and once certified, moves to Houston. There, she lands an apprenticeship in a high-class salon, and strives to make her mark while also making a living. When wealthy businessman Churchill Travis takes a romantic interest in Liberty, he offers her a job as his personal assistant and lets the two sisters move into his house. Churchill's family seems to want little to do with her, until one of the man's more obstinate sons suddenly takes an interest in her. Complicating matters further, Hardy Cates abruptly reappears in her life. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the novel "sinfully pleasurable melodrama," noting that Kleypas "knows when to let the plot run wild and when to pull on the reins."
Kleypas has written at least one novel a year since 1992. She sets high standards for herself, finding that problems and distractions in her personal life make it more difficult to produce excellent work, as she told White. In the interview, Kleypas said: "I have high standards for romance novels, my own and everyone else's, and two things that must never be sacrificed are sensuality and sparkle." By "sparkle," she said, she means "that wonderful excitement of an inspired story … that indefinable something that causes you to announce to your husband that there will be no dinner this evening, and don't bother me for the next three hours while I read."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 15, 2006, John Charles, review of Sugar Daddy, p. 5.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2006, review of Sugar Daddy, p. 980.
Library Journal, August 1, 2003, Kristin Ramsdell, review of Where's My Hero?, p. 66.
Publishers Weekly, March 3, 1989, Penny Kaganoff, review of Give Me Tonight, p. 99; December 5, 1994, review of Midnight Angel, p. 71; July 10, 1995, review of Prince of Dreams, p. 54; September 2, 1996, review of Somewhere I'll Find You, p. 122; July 28, 1997, review of Because You're Mine, p. 72; May 18, 1998, review of Stranger in My Arms, p. 76; April 5, 1999, review of Someone to Watch Over Me, p. 238; April 16, 2001, review of Suddenly You, p. 50; July 15, 2002, review of When Strangers Marry, p. 61; December 16, 2002, review of Worth Any Price, p. 51; June 23, 2003, review of Where's My Hero?, p. 52; January 5, 2004, review of Again the Magic, p. 46; October 11, 2004, review of Secrets of a Summer Night, p. 61; August 15, 2005, review of It Happened One Autumn, p. 39.
Romance Reader, June 20, 1998, review of Stranger in My Arms; May 12, 1999, review of Someone to Watch over Me.
A Romance Review,http://www.aromancereview.com/ (May 7, 2007), review of Sugar Daddy.
Best Reviews,http://www.thebestreviews.com/ (May 7, 2007), Sharon M. Bressen, review of Where Dreams Begin; Flora Bell, review of Wish List; Emily Anne, review of Worth Any Price; Harriet Klausner, review of Worth Any Price; Suan Wilson, review of Against the Odds; Harriet Klausner, review of Against the Odds; Suan Wilson, review of Again the Magic; Harriet Klausner, review of Again the Magic; Harriet Klausner, review of Secrets of a Summer Night; Suan Wilson, review of Secrets of a Summer Night; Harriet Klausner, review of It Happened One Autumn; Kristi Ahlers, review of Devil in Winter; Harriet Klausner, review of Devil in Winter; Marilyn Rondeau, review of Gifts of Love.
Curled up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (May 7, 2007), Kelley Sittner Hartshorn, review of Against the Odds; Calissa Leigh, review of Dreaming of You.
Dear Author,http://www.dearauthor.com/ (February 27, 2007), review of Sugar Daddy.
Fantastic Fiction,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (May 7, 2007), bibliography of Lisa Kleypas.
Laurie Likes Books,http://www.laurielikesbooks.com/ (May 7, 2007), review of Then Came You.
Lisa Kleypas Home Page,http://www.lisakleypas.com (May 7, 2007).
Paperback Reader,http://www.paperbackreader.net/ (May 7, 2007), review of Sugar Daddy.
Readers Read,http://www.readersread.com/ (May 7, 2007), review of Wish List; review of Worth Any Price.
Road to Romance,http://www.roadtoromance.ca/ (December 8, 2003), review of Dreaming of You.
Romance Journal,http://www.romancejournal.com/ (May 7, 2007), "Lisa Kleypas."
Romance Reviews Today,http://www.romrevtoday.com/ (May 7, 2007), Carolyn Crisher, review of Devil in Winter.
Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (May 7, 2007), Kathe Robin, review of Worth Any Price; Kathe Robin, review of Where Dreams Begin; Marilyn Weigel, review of Sugar Daddy; Kathe Robin, review of Scandal in Spring; Kathe Robin, review of Secrets of a Summer Night; Kathe Robin, review of It Happened One Autumn; Kathe Robin, review of Devil in Winter; Lizabelle Cox, review of Because You're Mine; Kathe Robin, review of Again the Magic.
Writers Write: The Internet Writing Journal,http://www.writerswrite.com/ (May 7, 2007), Claire E. White, "A Conversation with Lisa Kleypas."