- Title: Devil’s Bride
- Author: Stephanie Laurens
- Series: Cynster #1
- Genre: Adult, Historical Romance/Mystery
- Category: Historical
- Length: 388 Pages
- Website: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/
- Challenge: Mount TBR
Summary: Honoria Wetherby is not a spinster. Yes, she is 24 yrs old and unmarried in 19th century London society, but she has remained unmarried by choice. She is attractive, has money, and has an education. However, the loss of her parents and young siblings at a young age has caused her to be fearful of experiencing more loss in her life. Instead of marriage and children, she has decided that she would prefer to have adventure and travel the world. Biding her time until she is old enough to travel on her own, she has worked as a governess for other titled families.
Honoria’s life changes completely on the day that she comes across a young man with a fatal wound while rushing to her new employer’s home. Stranded with a dying man and a dangerous storm looming, Honoria is rescued by a handsome, overbearing stranger. They spend the night in a nearby vacant cabin while the young man’s life slips away.
Even though there was nothing untoward about the night together, her rescuer, Devil Cynster, the Duke of St Ives, has decided to marry the woman who has been compromised by their time alone. Devil always gets his way, but he was not prepared for Honoria’s stubborn refusal to marry. Only a man as determined and strategic as Devil stands a chance of changing her mind and winning her heart.
The murder victim turned out to be Devil’s cousin. He and the other Cynster men intend to find the killer and avenge the death, and Honoria wants to help. Months pass by, but despite their efforts, the identity of the murderer eludes them all. When someone attempts to kill Devil also, they discover that the murder was neither random nor accidental. The killer must be stopped before another family member dies.
Review: In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share a review of a traditional romance novel today. No monsters or magic or preternatural creatures, just a whole lot of wooing, temptation, romance and traditional marriage vows. Every once in a while, I enjoy getting a glimpse of this kind of happily-ever-after. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Although I had figured out which character was the murderer when this person first made an appearance, I still enjoyed reading the mystery in this novel. It wasn’t an intense storyline compared to the romance, but as a secondary storyline, it was a nice way to learn the personalities of the different family members. I could definitely relate to Honoria’s stubborn desire to be helpful in the pursuit of the killer, I would have been just like her if I had lived during that time period.
The romance was definitely intense and emotional, and I loved the two main characters. Devil and Honoria are both strong, both smart, and both stubborn. Their stubbornness causes them to butt heads frequently, but it never sounded like petty bickering, and they never got nasty with each other. Rather, it was more like they had to negotiate a serious contract before committing to each other.
This is the first I’ve read of Stephanie Laurens’s romance novels. Most of my feedback is positive, but think her descriptions of the intimate scenes were a little overdone. When every simple kissing scene becomes an entire page of flowery breathless description, I’m sure you can imagine that the loss of Honoria’s virginity and their wedding night were like small chapters. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to go without the chemistry and intimacy, I would just prefer a little less of the dramatic ”soul-shattering” fluff while they “enter the gates of paradise.” Overkill.
I recommend this book to fans of historical romance. If you like this genre, I would also recommend Lisa Kleypas’s Wallflower and Hathaways Series, or Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton Series.