Sunday, October 6, 2013
Review: And Then She Fell by Stephanie Laurens
Publication date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Avon Romance
Series: Cynster Sisters Duo #1
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It's fair to say that half of the book is a romance story between Henrietta and James, while the second half is involved entirely with the mysterious murderer who's attempting to get rid of Henrietta. The writing is more in tune with Stephanie Laurens's more traditional regencies (naturally, with a degree of "spice" that's prevalent in this genre) than her earlier Cynster novels, Devil's Bride, for example. What didn't hook me to the story wasn't the fact that James is a man exuding a quiet confidence unlike the other alpha heroes of the Cynster family, but that the romance was almost completely overshadowed by the murder, which isn't what one wants to see in a romance novel.
It is also unfortunate that the given blurb highly exaggerated the extent of Henrietta's fall. Yes, Henrietta was known amongst the ton as "The Matchbreaker," but that is merely a moniker given by the spurned males of those ladies she helped. She was more like a relationship investigator, fishing out details to help ladies determine if their intended is marrying them for love, or for some other purpose. That said, Henrietta was far from denying the institution of marriage, mainly waiting for the right man to sweep her off her feet, which, given her logical and relatively sangfroid nature, had frightened many off until James.
James is the best friend to Henrietta's brother Simon, and due his grandmother's will decreeing he must marry by a certain date or forfeit his inheritance, in which case he would have to no way to support his lands and people, he has increasingly found Henrietta the object of his affections. The more time they spend together convinces him of this fact, and so the first half of the book is involved with James's trying to woo Henrietta and her trying to ascertain her own feelings for James.
My other disappointment lies in that the characters seem too generic, too flat to be of real substance. There really was no spark flying off the pages between them (the "consuming passion" seemed to pop out of nowhere); they both seemed to accept that they liked each other enough, and after a time, convinced that it's love. Well it's acceptable to certain standards, I certainly expected more out of a Stephanie Laurens novel. In fact, the villain of the story seemed more interesting character-wise than either James or Henrietta, and he's a cold-blooded murderer!
My final verdict on this is unfortunately, disappointment. Even without the alpha traits of the Cynsters males that have captivated fans for ages, the story could still have progressed better, more of a "capturing" of Henrietta (she was unwed by age 29, after all), anything but having the last half of the book turn into a murder mystery that did nothing to further the romance, as James and Henrietta had already gotten together before that.
I am waiting to read Mary's book, though it may or may not be the last Cynster novel I readI am waiting to read Mary's book, though it may or may not be the last Cynster novel I read, seeing as the allure of feisty, intelligent heroines paired with protective, alpha males is gone.
Rating: 3 tulips