01 September 2009

Bar Cynster Challenge: A Rogue's Proposal

~click on cover to buy a copy~

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Avon (October 1, 1999)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0380805693
ISBN-13: 978-0380805693


Demon Cynster has seen love bring his brethren to their knees, and he's vowed that he will not share their fate...until he spies Felicity Parteger sneaking about his racing stable. Demon remembers Felicity as a mere chit of a girl, but now she stands before him - begging for his help - all lush curves, sparkling eyes...and so temptingly worthy of the love he's vowed never to surrender to any woman.

Felicity knew Demon was one of the ton's most eligible bachelors and a rogue of the worst sort, but he was the only one capable of getting her friend out of trouble. Her fascination with Demon had nothing to do with the power lurking just beneath his devil-may-care facade - or with the desire that flares when he takes her in his arms. Felicity knows Demon will never yield her the love she desperately seeks, but could a marriage of passion alone - even with a man like Demon - be enough?

When a Syndicate wreaks havoc in the horse racing season with fixed races it is bound that rumors will take root when lots of money is lost. Demon Cynster not only feels the need to discover the heart of this Syndicate, he also finds trouble on the doorstep of his breeding farm in the form of a jockey named Flick.

Flick is Felicity, the pupil of his good friend Sir Gordon Caxton also knows as “The General”, and an independent spirit whose luscious curves drive him nuts. Now they will join forces to stop a Syndicate bend on greed as another force is set ablaze between Demon and Felicity.

Reading a Bar Cynster novel each month has never been less then entertaining to read and A Rogue’s Proposal is no exception to that. I really applaud Stephanie Laurens for giving me a different backdrop in each novel other then the Ton of London. The country life isn’t hell bend on the etiquette though it does have its own form of conduct that provides a person with social norms and values. With Demon I got a taste of the racing circuit in New Market, of training horses and cross breeding of certain pedigree. I will always welcome the change of pace this kind of backdrop provides for a Regency-set Historical novel and I quickly became familiar with New Market and its people.

With reading Demon and Felicity’s story I came to the realization that I need to be captivated by more than the basic romance or a different backdrop to have my reading pleasure elevated beyond the entertaining level. Otherwise the romantic development of a Cynster, instantly falling for its bride, wooing her in that determinant Cynster way, which is answered by receiving a taste of their Bride’s audacious and self-sufficient spirit, loses its flavor for me. I must say that this is probably also due to the fact that I am reading a Cynster novel each month so that the hallmark buildup of each romance feels somewhat repetitive. Now an entertaining novel is not by definition a bad book but I noticed various things that lessened my overall pleasure in reading Demon’s story.

Demon is every bit a Cynster as his predecessors where; good at what he does which in his case is breeding horses and racing with a few. He is a ladies’ man, he likes to flirt, he is charming, sensual, also serious, a bit cocky and on top of the world he lives in. I really like the blue print of each Cynster, love the self-assured male who can take matters in to his capable hands. What I like more is how the right kind of woman gives them a run for their money.

Felicity has been taken in by The General as a child and since then she grew up among horses. She knows how to take care of herself, she is head-strong but at the same time she is longing for a family. With The General’s son involved in the Syndicate she takes matters in to her own hands as she has done throughout their childhood years. Felicity as a heroine adds a wildcard to Demon’s plans and makes it interesting enough for me to keep involved in the ongoing story. She is just a likeable woman who made me want it all for both of them. They just fit each other like a glove, only they had to come to the same understanding.

The romance was endearing and had a sensuousness to it that I can always appreciate but in the end Demon and Felicity didn’t give me more or affect me all that much. What also was a loss in my opinion was that the plot lost its effect on the story. While the Syndicate and the front man for it really spiced it up when the story took place in New Market, it lost its grip fast when Demon and Felicity went to London. Where I thought the concept held so much potential to make me believe a group of people where out for their own greed it faded quickly within the second half of the story. Only to be solved rather quickly in the end as it provided a moment of angst leading up to the happily ever after for Demon and Felicity.

I find it hard to say something new about a novel that holds all the recognizable markers for a Stephanie Laurens novel which made it a solid read but nothing that truly stands out in and of itself. I liked Demon and I liked Felicity. I liked their dialogues and romantic storyline. I liked the passion they shared and how the fit together. What I noticed while reading this story though was that not once was I triggered to read page, after page, after page, to find out where they were going and how it all would end.

Of course the Cynster family makes an appearance, especially the twins Amanda and Amelia are a breath of fresh air. A Rogue’s Proposal has a charming, passion stirring romance, at times vibrant dialogues of male clashing with female and a thin plot. Still, I closed this novel with a lovely epilogue that brought a smile to my face in a Bar Cynster enriched happy ending.

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  1. Nice review - I as well like a hero who flirts and is a bit cocky but has that serious side. I have never read Stephanie Laurens but this Cynster family has me intrigued. What a name too..Demon :)

  2. Leontine,

    Great review. I agree with Mandi though - the name Demon is a bit strange for the hero. I think it would throw me off. LOL


  3. @ Mandi, The original Bar Cynster all have such namens:
    Sylvester, 6th Duke of St. Ives nick name is Devil

    Richard's nickname is Scandal
    Spencer's nickname is Vane
    Harry's nickname is Demon
    Rupert's nickname is Gabriel and Alasdair's is Lucifer.

    Each nickname has a meaning and the Bar Cynster are a nice regency-set historicals, perhaps not as intense as Anna Campbell/Sherry Thomas or Meredith Duran but holds its very own charm :)

    @ Michelle, each nickname holds a story perhaps when you find out about it, it isn;t so strange anymmore. when I first read the Cynsters, like in my mid twenties I loved this, it made them stand out within the historical genre :)

  4. I've never read anything by Stephanie Laurens but she sounds like I writer I might enjoy. Thanks for the review!

  5. Hi Leontine
    Liking those nicknames, even if a bit weird.
    Nice review, I'd sure like to read about the Cynsters. Perhaps I have to go back to Amazon and bookmooch, have been there all day

  6. Thanks for giving me another new author to look up and put in my TBB list!!!
    Your review was great!!! Love the nicknames and can not wait to find out more about them!!!
    I hope you have a great day or evening, I should say!!!

  7. I thought you said short review LOL.. Love all the Cynsters, though A Secret Kiss with Gabriel is my favorite. This one never did it for me, but with Laurens you can always count on a classic, solid romance story.

  8. I'm with Marissa on the length of the review. If you call this short...? LOL

    All kidding aside, great review. I read these Cynsters up to the girl twins, a very, very long time ago (pre-review era) and since re-reading is prevented by Mt. TBR I have no reviews of them but am loving yours.


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