A woman who defies her time
Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.
A man who breaks every rule
As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.
As soon as I read that Hello Stranger was going to be Dr. Garret Gibson’s book I knew I had to get my hands on it. This book didn’t disappoint, and I’m already in the process of re-reading it. (Confession: I had wanted to re-read it prior to writing the review, but timing and life had other ideas.) The release day means I can also read the book digitally, which means it’s much more likely to happen. Yay for books and format choices! And you know, the wonderful Dr. Garrett Gibson and Mr. Ethan Ransom. (Come on, their names are awesome!) Reading this book made me happy.
I met Dr. Garrett Gibson in Devil in Spring (I’m behind on the other Ravenel books! Shhh.) and I immediately took to her. I love that she’s such a trailblazer, and that Ms. Kleypas based her on a historical figure. It was so nice to see a career woman in a historical romance, and one so nuanced. In my opinion, Hello Stranger is about Dr. Gibson finally allowing for more than “just” medicine in her life. It took Ethan Ransom to truly tempt her and her colleague, actually, who urged her to look for love, romance, and ~fun in life.
Ethan Ransom. What is there to say. What a complex lovely character, with depth and darkness and so much love. He reminded me of Cam – first from Devil in Winter and then who got his own happily ever after in Mine Till Midnight. Ethan was smitten with Garrett from the start, and that’s my reader catnip. Give me a head over heels in love hero, who can’t stay away from the heroine despite himself. He thinks she deserves better, but really cedes the choice to her – and he’s always there. He’s of course also handsome, rich, wicked smart, and stubborn as an ass. (Garrett needs someone who gives her pushback, because she’s stubborn as a mule. They fit.)
I don’t want to get too spoilery so I’m not going to go into detail (sorry!) but I loved how determinedly practical Garrett is throughout. And her “smooth covering” when she admires Ethan with “oh I was just admiring your musculature from a medical standpoint.” She gets jokes written by Kleypas unique to her, due to her career and knowledge. And he’s charming enough to play along with it. I like that the two of them get to play together. Wandering around town, having the self defense training session. The poster with the monkey. Although it’s never entirely frivolous, they can be fully themselves with each other … and yet allow for someone different – someone even more.
The scene where Garrett refuses to tell Ethan she loves him. (For good reason!) It was so perfect, and so necessary for that scene. Then the heartbreaking emotion – on her part because of those reasons … but then her angst and guilt for not saying it. And then poor delirious Ethan who thinks all is lost. It was so nice to see two such practical and pragmatic people reduced to pure emotion … and yet medical know how for Garrett. She’s a super doctor, and he’s practically super human. Let me be clear it isn’t just lighthearted hijinks. There is a lot of plot and emotion, and you might tear up a time or two while reading.
The secondary characters are delightful, and ones new and old make cameo appearances. Of course I loved seeing “old friends” but “cousin West” stole the show for me. Here’s a little quote from early on.
“Why would you change your life like that?” Ethan couldn’t resist asking. Leaving London for a quiet rural existence was his idea of hell on earth. “What were you trying to escape?”
Ravenel smiled. “Myself I suppose. Even a life of debauchery can become tiresome. And I discovered that estate farming suits me. The estate tenants have to pay attention to me, and I’m easily amused by cows.”
* * *
Ethan reached into a trouser pocket, pulled out a wad of pound notes, and flung it at Ravenel’s feet. “Let me know the balance of what I owe,” he snapped.
To Ravenel’s credit, if he was rattled by the gesture, he didn’t show it. Turning to Winterborne, he remarked casually, “No one’s ever showered me with cash before. I must say, it inspires feelings of instant affection.”
I loved the give and take between Garrett and Ethan, and how he woos her so subtly and in such a way perfectly tailored to her. There was also a lot of intrigue that was hinted at in Devil in Spring. Even so, this book describing parts of London we don’t normally see in other historical romances, the emerging industry and technology, this setting, the everything is so perfect for these two.
The attention to detail, the descriptions of imperfect settings and life – showing how it “really was” at the time, at least in part, I thought that was really great. And then the unique careers that both Garrett and Ethan have – the latter’s being rather fluid. I liked that they were such a team. It wasn’t one or the other rushing into danger or decisions. They complement each other so well. Each can stand on his or her own, but the other eases the burden. That is true romance right there.
The Devil’s Daughter is next I really hope we see more of Ethan, Garrett, Pandora, Gabriel, and all their other friends and family in it too. I saw that book 5 in the Ravenels series (The Devil’s Daughter) is going to be about West Ravenel and Phoebe, Lady Clare, and oh my gosh I cannot wait! Cannot freaking wait!!! Give me this book naaaaooowwww. <3 <3 <3 If you like historical romances by Lisa Kleypas, and especially the Ravenel series, you just have to read Hello Stranger.
You can buy a copy here.
*ETA: There’s a giveaway for a copy of this book so … TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK.