Yes, I splurged and bought the hardcover copy of the latest Stephanie Laurens book. This is #16 of the beloved Cynster series by this author. I have been a fan for some time, and of course read the entire series in chronological order (as well as the Bastion Club series). Laurens is the epitome of traditional historical romance...beautiful heroines, alpha male heroes, fascinating tidbits of the Regency era, and a mystery thrown in for good measure. Laurens is also known for her high sensuality rating...love scenes have been known to go on and on and on...oh my! (Is it getting hot in here?) Although this is not the very best of her Cynster series, I found this story very sweet and satisfying. Jonas Tallent and Emily Beauregard make an engaging couple in traditional Laurens fashion...he is protective, she is hiding a secret, he seduces her, she surprises him with her passionate virginal response. I really enjoyed the suspense portion of this story. Emily is trying to solve the mystery of an old poem supposedly describing the hiding place of their family fortune. If you are a Laurens fan, then this book is a like a nice hot cup of jasmine tea...comforting, pleasant, but not really full of too much excitement. After finishing Temptation and Surrender, I realized that what makes Laurens' books really pop is very strong hero/heroine combinations....like Devil and Honoria, Richard and Catriona, Gyles and Francesca, and my personal favorites Gabriel and Althea from A Secret Love. If the hero/heroine combo is not vivid enough, the story is enjoyable, but not necessarily memorable. Laurens fans will enjoy this latest installment of the series, but if you are new to this author I suggest starting with Devil's Bride, especially if you prefer apple-tinis over a hot cup of tea. Grade: B
P.S. The most exciting part of this book is the excerpt for Mastered by Love, the final Bastion club book, which is Dalziel's story. Ya-hoo!!!! I cannot wait. The book is slated to be released on July 28, 2009. Dalziel is my kind of hero...dark, brooding, mysterious, dangerous...one hot tamale!
With the Utmost Graciousness, Penelope