Stranger in My Arms

Stranger in My Arms

by Lisa Kleypas

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“One of today’s leading lights in romantic fiction.”

Seattle Times


USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas is one of America’s most acclaimed and popular authors of historical romance fiction—and Stranger in My Arms is one of her most beloved novels! A classic tale of a noble lady whose life is upended when her despised husband—believed lost at sea—returns, a remarkably altered, more passionate and loving man…if he is, indeed, who he claims to be. A two-time RITA Award-winner—and a nine-time nominee—Lisa Kleypas is at her sensuous best with Stranger in My Arms.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380781454
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/22/2011
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 248,895
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas graduated from Wellesley College with a political science degree. She’s a RITA award-winning author of both historical romance and contemporary women’s fiction. She lives in Washington State with her husband Gregory and their two children.

Read an Excerpt

Stranger in My Arms

Chapter One

"Lady Hawksworth, your husband is not dead."

Lara stared at James Young without blinking. She knew she had not heard the estate agent correctly... or perhaps he had been drinking, though she had never known him to tipple before. It was possible that he had grown a little dotty from having to work in the service of the current Lord and Lady Hawksworth. They would surely drive anyone mad, given enough time.

"I know it is a great shock to you all," Young continued earnestly. Concern flared in his bespectacled eyes as he glanced at Lara. "To you in particular, my lady."

Had the news come from a less reliable source, Lara would have dismissed it immediately. However, James Young was a cautious and trustworthy man who had served the Hawksworth family for at least a decade. He had done an excellent job of managing her trust property′s income since her husband′s death, no matter that there was precious little money to oversee.

Arthur, Lord Hawksworth, and his wife, Janet, regarded Young as if they, too, doubted his sanity. They were an ideally suited couple, both of them blond, tall, and spare of frame. Although they had two sons, the boys had been packed off to Eton and were seldom seen or even mentioned. Arthur and Janet seemed to care about one thing only-to enjoy their newfound wealth and status as conspicuously as possible.

"Preposterous!" Arthur exploded. "How dare you come to me with this nonsense! Explain yourself at once."

"Very well, my lord," Young replied. "I received word yesterday that a frigate recently arrived in London carrying a most unusual passenger. It seems that he bears an uncanny resemblance to the late earl." He glanced respectfully at Lara as he added, "He claims to be Lord Hawksworth."′

Arthur exploded with disbelieving scorn. His lean face, carved with deep lines of cynicism, flushed a vivid shade of red. His long beak of a nose twitched angrily. "′What sort of outrageous hoax is this? Hawksworth has been dead for a year. It′s impossible that he could have survived the shipwreck off of Madras. My God, the vessel literally broke in half! Everyone on board was lost. Are you telling me that my nephew somehow managed to survive? The man must be a lunatic to think that any of us would believe him."

Janet′s thin lips tightened. "He′ll be proved an impostor soon enough," she said crisply, smoothing the toothlike points of dark Vandyke lace that trimmed the bodice and waist of her emerald silk gown.

Ignoring the Crosslands′ furious disdain, Young approached the widow. Larissa sat in a gilt-wood armchair near the window, her gaze fixed on the carpet covering the floor. Like everything else in Hawksworth Hall, the Persian carpet was opulent to the point of tastelessness, woven in a fantastical design of surreal flowers spilling from a Chinese-style vase. The worn toe of a black leather shoe protruded from beneath the hem of Larissa′s mourning dress as she absently traced the edge of a scarlet flower with her foot. She seemed lost in memories, not noticing Young′s approach until he had reached her. Abruptly she straightened like a chastened schoolgirl and lifted her gaze to his face.

Even in her dark bombazine dress, as high-necked and pristine as a nun′s habit, Larissa Crossland possessed a soft, elegant beauty. With her dark sable hair always seeming on the verge of tumbling from its pins, and sultry pale green eyes, she was original and striking. However, her looks generated little heat. She was often admired. but never pursued...never flirted with or desired. Perhaps it was the way she used cheerfulness like a weapon, if such a thing were possible, keeping everyone at a distance.

It seemed to many in the town of Market Hill that Lara was an almost saintly figure. A woman with her looks and position could have managed to snare a second husband, yet she had chosen to stay here and involve herself in charitable works. She was unfailingly gentle and compassionate, and her generosity extended to nobleman and beggar alike. Young had never heard Lady Hawksworth utter an unkind word about anyone, not the husband who had virtually abandoned her nor the relatives who treated her with contemptible stinginess.

But for all her apparent serenity, there was something unsettling in her translucent green eyes. Some quiet turbulence that hinted at emotions and thoughts she never dared express. As far as Young could tell, Larissa had decided to content herself by living vicariously through the people around her. It was frequently said she needed a man of her own. However, no one could ever seem to think of a particular gentleman who was suited to her.

That was undoubtedly a good thing, if it turned out that the late earl really was alive.

"My lady," Young murmured apologetically, "I did not want to distress you. But I felt you would want to be informed immediately about any matter that concerns the late earl."

"Is there any chance it could be true?" Lara whispered, her face shadowed with a frown.

"I don′t know," came Young′s careful reply. "As they never found the earl′s body, I suppose there is a chance that he -- "

"Of course it isn′t true!" Arthur exclaimed. "Have you both taken leave of your senses?" Brushing by Young, he assumed a protective expression and settled his hand on Lara′s narrow shoulder. "′How dare this scoundrel put Lady Hawksworth through such torment!" he exclaimed with as muchpity as he could muster.

"I′m fine," Lara interrupted, stiffening at his touch. A frown knit her smooth brow. She pulled away and went to the window, longing to escape the overdecorated parlor. The walls were covered in bright pink silk and heavy gold scrollwork, the comers filled with vases of exotic palms. It seemed that every inch of available space was taken up with a collection...

Stranger in My Arms. Copyright © by Lisa Kleypas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Stranger in My Arms 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 132 reviews.
SaraBetty More than 1 year ago
I read many of Lisa Kleypas books and I really enjoyed this one. About half way through I can usually figure the ending but this one took me totally by surprise. I found Lara to be a kind and loving woman and the "new" Hunter was certainly a hunk. As historical novels go this one seemed to be totally believable (others didn't think so). In todays world the plot probably would not be believable but remember we were in 1800 England. Anyway, I am an avid reader and I loved the story, the characters and I am a great admirer of Ms. Kleypas writing skills. She builds characters, plots and explosive finishes as well as anybody writing today. That said, I wish she would write more contemporary books because I loved Blue Eyed Devil, Smooth Talking Stranger and Sugar Daddy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book even though the female lead often made me want to throttle her especially in r egards to janet and arthur. Otherwise the book was entertaining and well written. I would like to find out what happened to rachel.
Zeeelicious More than 1 year ago
Review contains spoilers This is a very unique story, I thought and I never expected the twist in the end when it was revealed who the real Hunter was. When it was revealed that the stranger was Hunter's half brother, I felt that it was a little bit unsettling to a certain extent but I still enjoyed reading this story. The story starts off with the family solicitor announcing that Hunter, the Earl of Hawksworth was not dead as was originally thought of a year ago. Apparently, Hunter was the only survivor of the ship he was on when he was in India leaving behind Lara a widow. Hunter and Lara's marriage was a typical one of that era, arranged and without love. However, it left Lara hurt and disillusioned with her building a wall around her heart and devoting herself in charity endeavors. Hunter, on the other hand, continued his scandalous relationship with a widow without any regard to Lara's feelings. To top it off, Lara was unable to bear any children which was the only reason Hunter married her. With Hunter dead and with no issue, his title went to his cousin and his wife who did not treat Lara well and in the span of a year, nearly bankrupted the whole family. Of course, the couple did not take kindly to this new development and vowed to expose Hunter to the fraud that he really is. Incidentally, Hunter's mother was touring the continent so they couldn't ask her to identify him for the time being. Since the solicitor and the family doctor, and even one of his closest friend (who was married to Lara's sister), and even Lara (with doubts) vouched for his identity, he was able to reclaim his legacy. Naturally, it is not revealed in the story if the stranger is really Hunter but from his actions alone, one would guess that something was not right. Most especially Lara, since the return of her husband brought about changes in his demeanor and treatment toward her. In fact, Hunter had changed and this time, he wanted his marriage with Lara to work. Lara, who had built a wall around her heart started to believe that this would be a second chance at finding love at last and appeared to ignore the obvious changes in her husband. I love the sparks that flew between Lara and Hunter. I liked that this Hunter was doing his best to make up for his supposedly transgressions before he left for India. I also liked that the author focused on those little things that made Lara fall in love again with her husband despite her suspicion and misgivings. I also fell in love with Hunter, well the new Hunter. Because he was a bastard and he wanted to live the kind of life his brother, the real Hunter took for granted. Both men had met in India when the new Hunter (it was never revealed in the book what his real name is) confronted his half brother who was being a jerk as always. The new Hunter was desperate to find out his real family and he snooped around and managed to read his brother's journals and Lara's letters to the real Hunter. Stealing a locket that Lara gave Hunter before he left for India, he started to become a little bit obsessed with Lara. Despite the creepiness of Hunter's desire to take over another person's life, I thought this story was perfectly executed. In fact, the theme did not feel creepy or disturbing at all and I love it! I will definitely be re-reading this book again!
Rita Westerson More than 1 year ago
i have read other books by Kleypas, but I was disappointed by this one. I had a hard time even finishing this book. The leading lady is really so self centered it is hard to relate to her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love LIsa Kleypas but I do not at all enjoy widow novels. But this was one of the best books written by Kleypas. I took a chance and read the book. I was not disapointed. Couldn't put it down. I do wish I knew what 'Hunter's' real name was?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first Lisa Kleypas novel and I loved every minute of it! This book started with a bang and ended with one. I would love for Kleypas to write a second novel about Lara and Hunter!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know that the plot may sound far fetched, by the story is so captivating that I couldn't put it down. Kleypas has created to charming characters who share a love so sweet, its rare to find in most novels...and had me in tears. Thank you Ms. Kleypas!
Anonymous 9 months ago
Read it years ago and ran across it recently. I read it again and still love it!!
eljabo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eh - I usually love Lisa's books, but this one wasn't my favorite. I like my heroines with some spunky - Lara was just plain boring. All her work with orphans and battered women and poor people - it was just too much. And I found the whole "is he her husband" or "is he not her husband" plot to be a tad unrealistic.Even the hero was boring. I also found Lara's fear of the bedroom annoying. "Oh no - I can't possibly get it on with you even though you're my husband and we've done it before." "OK Lara, we don't have to do it" "Good 'cause I don't want to" "We don't have to." Let's just get to the action already!
rainrunner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
4 stars only cause it's Kleypas. Really more like 3.5. I read it but I didn't "feel" it. Lara was a heroine I really didn't like. I found myself making odd noises of annoyance far too many times over her behavior. As for Hunter, some of the stuff was out there and rather stalkerish. I don't know, just didn't feel it. It was ok.
melorem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lara is married to a man who has been declared dead. Before he died she had not seen him for years because he left for India. When a man shows up claiming to be her husband she's not immediately convinced. She takes her place as his wife and life becomes so much better for her. The author does a great job of keeping us unsure. Is it him? Is it an impostor?I found Lara to be a bit wishy washy but enjoyed the overall plot of the book.
librarymeg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that is proving hard for me to rate. While I was reading it I was completely engrossed, and I enjoyed every minute of the book. Normally that kind of reading experience would be an automatic four stars, but I find myself strangely resistant to giving this book four stars and it's hard to explain why. I think it comes down to the book's conclusion and the feeling it left me with when I turned the final page.I don't want to give away too much, but Stranger in My Arms fairly begs for a comparison to the movie Sommersby. For those unfamiliar with either, the basic plotline is the widow, finally free of an unhappy marriage, who is unexpectedly faced with a husband seemingly come back from the grave. The reader/audience struggles throughout the story with questions about the husband's true identity as the widow begins to fall in love with the man she was formerly so relieved to lose. It's an intriguing plot, and I enjoyed it, but the author's final twist, for reasons I can't seem to explain, left me feeling slightly disappointed. Nevertheless, I always enjoy Lisa Kleypas and will continue to go to her whenever I'm looking for a few hours of escape.
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lara was a widow, or so she thought. Up until the day she received the unwelcome news that her husband Hunter, Earl of Hawksworth, had survived the shipwreck that had freed Lara from her loveless marriage. But, the Hunter who has returned to her does not act at all as he had and instead woos Lara with an affection she had never dared dream of. Is he in fact, a changed man or could he be a doppelganger with a nefarious secret? And a bigger question, does Lara really want to know the truth?Once again Lisa Kleypas has taken a storyline which may sound familiar and cliché and fleshed it out into an entrancing fast moving tale to keep you guessing. Although I won't say Lara is my favorite Kleypas heroine, being a bit too pious for my taste, I couldn't totally dislike her. Hunter as the hero and the secondary character of Johnny more than took up any slack in the interest level of this story for me. Stranger in my Arms is another wonderful Kleypas novel and I do believe any of her stories are must reads for lovers of historical romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel keeps you guessing until the truth is revealed. Great chemistry between characters, and a good story overall. Not as strong as some of her other work, specifically The Wallflower Series (or any of her series' really), but still a fun read with steamy scenes, heartwarming romance, and a satisfying, if not a bit convoluted, ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seriously this one is hot! All of Kleypas books have amazing chemistry between the main characters but this one is a little extra in a nice way. Not my all time favorite by Kleypas but definitely good and worth reading. Couldn't put it down. If you have never read Kleypas I highly recommend her. She creates amazing romances.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pops95b More than 1 year ago
I agree with some of the others. I can hardly stand to read this book because the female Lead is frosty the snow wife and is hard to like.
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hazelgirl More than 1 year ago
I loved it, I couldn't put it down. I love her books but this one took the cookie:)))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago