Lisa Kleypas – “Where Dreams Begin”

30 Mar

GENRE: Romance / Historical
PUBLISHED: Avon Books, 2000

The back blurb:
“Zachary Bronson has built an empire of wealth and power, but all London knows he is not a gentleman. He needs a wife to secure his position in society – and to warm his bed in private. But one alluring, unexpected kiss from Lady Holly Taylor awakens a powerful need within him beyond respectability.
An exceptional beauty whose fierce passions match Zachary’s own, Holly always intended to play be society’s rules, even when they clashed with her bolder instincts. But now a dashing stranger has made her a scandalous offer that does not include matrimony. Should she ignore the senuous promise of a forbidden kiss … or risk everything to follow her heart to a place where dreams begin?”

Where Dreams begin is a slow novel in the best sense for me. There is not much action taking place (for example, no suspense plot), it’s completely character-driven. It’s about to people from very different social backgrounds and with very different characters (or so it seems) who discover that they’re attracted to each other. It’s about how they deal with that in a time when social status was defined by your ancestors. But mostly, and that’s what I liked, it is about how two (very different) people fall in love.

So, I liked the background of social inequity; I liked the etiquette lessons (Holly acts as a social guide for Zachary and his family) which gave the story a nice historical feeling, for example how to bow or how to pour tea and what it tells about your upbringing; I liked Zachary’s dilemma of wanting Holly in his bed (maybe even knowing he could have her), but knowing if he did, he would lose her.

There are a few nit-picking things which kept this novel from getting a straight 5 / 5 grade and which kept me from being completely wow-ed:
– a dragged-out ending. It made sense in terms of closure, but being written the way it is, it comes with the question “They’re married already. Why do I have to read on?” The answer to that is a bit out of the blue in that there are hardly any hints that something like this might get important. In fact, I think I would have really liked it because of the sense of closure it provides to the story (leaving aside one thing that’s over-the-top there).
– Holly’s motivation to act as Zachary’s social guide. I wasn’t convinced in the beginning. It’s only much later in the story that I got some sense of where she’s coming from and why she did it. But by then I had read for some time about a heroine who in my eyes did something just to get the hero and heroine together which weakened her character.
– the fairy-tale and enough-is-enough feeling I get when reading about heroes with so much more money than everybody else. Zachary’s spending of money left and right is important for his characterisation. For example when he gets a Da Vinci it tells a lot about his character but it also made me go “I know he’s RICH and more powerful than other men. It’s enough now.”

One of the secondary characters says about another secondary character: “She’s my perfect match in every way that matters” (p. 326) meaning their different social status doesn’t matter for this statement. And that’s the point Kleypas is making in Where Dreams Begin about Holly and Zachary, too: that they are a perfect match. The difference in their social status doesn’t matter.

It’s a nice (and modern) message and Kleypas makes it work in this well-written and structured novel.

Would I recommend this novel? Yes.

Would I read this novel again? Yes.

Grade: 4,5 / 5


One Response to “Lisa Kleypas – “Where Dreams Begin””


  1. Re-Read Challenge: “Where Dreams Begin” By Lisa Kleypas « Books and Games - Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    […] here my first […]

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