30 May 2009

Bar Cynster Challenge - Devil's Bride

~click on the cover to buy a copy~
Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Avon (March 1, 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 038079456X
ISBN-13: 978-0380794560

Summary:

TO HAVE. . .
When Devil, the most infamous member of the Cynster family, is caught in a compromising position with plucky governess Honoria Wetherby, he astonishes the entire tom by offering his hand in marriage. No one dreamed this scandalous rake would ever take a bride. And as society mamas swooned at the loss of England's most eligible bachelor, Devil's infamous Cynster cousins began to place wagers on the wedding date.

. . .AND TO HOLD
But Honoria wasn't about to bend society's demands and marry a man justbecause they'd been found together virtually unchaperoned. No, she craved adventure, and while solving the murder of a young Cynster cousin fit he ill for a while, she decided that once the crime was solved she'd go off to see the world. But the scalding heat of her unsated desire for Devil soon had Honoria craving a very different sort of excitement. Could her passion for Devil cause her to embrace the enchanting peril of a lifelong adventure of the heart?


Introduction:
I am starting these first few months in my Bar Cynster challenge with several re-reads from my twenties and Devil’s Bride is no exception to this. As this month progressed I thought of Devil and always got this strange butterfly feeling which I couldn’t place. No scenes came to memory, no quotes or character descriptions. Just the lingering impression that Devil and Honoria were so wonderful to read about and their story once must’ve beguiled me. As I opened Devil’s Bride I looked at the family tree and saw their names: Devil, - Scandal, - Vane, - Demon, - Gabriel, - Lucifer and a grin wider than the Grand Canyon split my face. I can tell ya that their names appealed to my wicked nature and the thought of them as a group, the connection they share and their loyalty to one another made me look forward to each of their stories.

With a somewhat busy month I looked at my calendar en noticed it was already May 25th *eek* and I still had to read Devil’s Bride *dang*. I absolutely abhor doing things at the last minute so I quickly opened up Devil’s Bride and started to read.

Review:
This is the first novel published in the Bar Cynster series and for me, as I read the last pages, turned out to be one of Lauren’s classics in this series. It showcases her pillars within the story; an autocratically and vigorous male, opposite a fiery and smart woman, who have an instant chemistry and a plot that infuses the story with a touch of suspense. Somehow I feel this will be the blue print of many Cynster novels to come and I am looking forward to finding out if Stephanie Laurens can keep it fresh and entertaining.

On a tumultuous night of thunderstorms Honoria finds a young man shot and he’s in dire need of help. They are both quickly found by Devil and he decides to seek shelter in a lumberjack’s cabin while together they try to save the young man’s life…and fail. The next day Honoria is under the impression she can go straight back to her employees but Devil instantly knew this was going to be his bride, his duchess, and the hunting instinct of the Cynsters was coursing through his veins full force.

With the murder of Bartholomew Cynster a.k.a Tolly a blow to the heart of the Cynster clan is given and everybody is grieve stricken. There are six men who will not rest until the murderer of their cousin has been held accountable for his or her actions. However, none of them expect the interference of one very stubborn woman.

The first chapter was immediately attention grabbing with not only the instant palpable sizzle between Devil and Honoria, it is also the suspense which from the get go commences as many questions arise. While I read this book in my native language I was instantly there in that stormy night in Somersham, Cambridgeshire. The writing style made it easy for me to picture the scenes of them soaking wet, the dying Tolly in his last hours and Devil with a bare chest riding his steed as various emotions torment him. The whole story flows from this moment and it grabbed hold of me as I tried to remember the revelation of who-dun-it?

Sylvester Sebastien Cynster, sixed Duke of St.Ives, nicknamed Devil by those who are so familiar with his nature. He nurtures an aristocratic arrogance like certain men can have in positions of leadership and power. He is loyal to his family, he is confident without becoming high-handed and by nature a fierce hot-blooded male.

Honoria Prudence Anstruther-Wetherby is all I can want in a heroine; adventurous, smart, stubborn and driven when she is passionate about something. She is of mind that a woman can contribute to the world of men instead of just being a china face doll sipping thee and be pretty. She swiftly acquires the approval of the Cynster women, the dowager Helena Cynster included.

Because of Devil’s nature he is very sure in his statements towards Honoria of her becoming his wife. This of course gives a friction with the self sufficient person Honoria is. The back and forth dialogues are like duels with sharpened blades and it sparkled with each parry. It is exhilarating to read how two people can fight their attraction verbally but ultimately let the body speak and in the end, their hearts. With Devil’s Bride I would tell you to prepare for seduction scenes in gardens and alcoves, for independent minds at play, it speaks of blossoming female passion which gets entangled in male heat seeking virility.

Devil is such a heartthrob of a man I couldn’t help myself but thoroughly enjoy the complete package of assets. The hunt of a man for his woman is something Stephanie Lauren’s displays in all its dramatic emotions while still keeping it light and easy to read. From start to finish the capitulation of a woman to a man and vice versa was deliciously increased from chapter to chapter and crested at the right time and at the right place with an über romantic epilogue I can wallow in as a romance reader.

Of course the Cynster clan marched by in this episode, a plethora of uncles and aunts, the dowager Helena, the twin Amanda and Amelia with their brother Simon who were so endearing but it was the core of six males that demanded attention. Every other character in this family and household forms the backbone but these virile men know how to entice the reader and become the center of attention. Scandal, - Vane, - Demon,- Gabriel and Lucifer are supporting characters whom I know have their own story, but had I read Devil’s Bride on release day I would have cheered for their own story. They each walk the walk and talk the talk of a handsome, innate sensual and strong minded male. It makes me look forward to the next tale in this series until each and everyone has their happy ever after.

With an easy flowing story, an interesting whodunit plot, heartwarming romance and burning desires (for the time of publication) I am, once again, infatuated with the Cynster clan. Devil’s Bride was but a distant memory and it was with the re-read that everything vividly blossomed again!

Dutch quote:
De Cynsters – zonder hen zou de ton niet hetzelfde zijn. Ze waren een soort op zich – onstuimig, hedonistisch en onvoorspelbaar.

Free translation on my part for my English readers:
The Cynsters – without them the ton would not be the same. They were a separate species – fierce, pleasure seeking and unpredictable.

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