Dreaming of You (The Gamblers of Craven’s) – book review

Dreaming of You
by Lisa Kleypas
Release Date: January 1, 1994
Publisher: Harper Collins
Book #2 in The Gamblers of Craven’s series
Number of Pages:  384
Source:  MCL
Historical Romance
Ages 16 and up
CW: mugging, attempted rape,
kidnapping, gun violence
She stood at danger’s threshold–then love beckoned her in.

In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Fielding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven–and into Derek Craven’s dangerous world.

A handsome, tough and tenacious Cockney, he rose from, poverty to become lord of London’s most exclusive gambling house–a struggle that has left Derek Craven fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he allow Sara Fielding into his world–with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But here, in a perilous shadow-realm of ever-shifting fortunes, even a proper “mouse” can be transformed into a breathtaking enchantress–and a world-weary gambler can be shaken to his cynical core by the power of passion. . . and the promise of love.

Okay, I finally read this book and can now say I know what the fuss is over Derek Craven.

I am well aware that this is a story that was published in the 90’s and it may not be for everyone. In fact, I saw that quite a few people who used to love this book ended up really disliking the story after re-reading it years later. I get that. And I’ll warn you, while there’s not cheating because Derek and Sara are not together as a couple at the time, one of the main characters has sex with someone else and one attempts to have sex with someone else. I know for a lot of people that is a hard line they draw, so if that’s you I’d suggest skipping this book. For everyone else, keep in mind the era in which it was written and enjoy!

Derek is not perfect, but that’s what makes him so great. He has a lot of flaws. A lot. He’s definitely an alpha male. The thing is, Sara is his perfect counter. She is so truly kindhearted and wants to help everyone. She doesn’t think anyone is less than her no matter their lot in life. Most importantly, Sara doesn’t take crap from Derek. She is swayed by him more because of their off the charts chemistry, and the same can be same about Derek. He cannot seem to say no to Sara unless he feels it’s something that will actually cause her harm, like himself. He cannot allow himself to give into his attraction to her for fear he will only hurt her in the end.

There is an air of mystery and danger thrown into this story. Derek has many enemies, but it seems a jilted lover is the most dangerous of all. Because of the image and power of certain people, things aren’t handled properly when it comes to Derek’s obsessive ex and it leads to many touchy situations.

Here’s the thing about Derek Craven, he has such a super mushy interior. That was somewhat evident in his dealings with Lily in the first book. Yet even Lily, his best friend, couldn’t get past that final wall he had up. Sara took a sledge hammer to that wall without even trying. These two are just meant to be. He is so gentle and sweet with her. And honestly, Sara’s glasses! **swoon** If you haven’t read this story yet, I’ll let you discover what I mean by that for yourself.

Needless to say, I’m glad I finally got around to this book and this author. I’m looking forward to reading more from her. Of course, I’ll say it again, going in with the knowledge some of her books were written over 20 years ago. I’m very interested to read some of her more recent work knowing it must be even better.

5 stars

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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