Aug 24 2011 9:30am

Fresh Meat: Stephanie Laurens’s Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (August 30, 2011)

Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie LaurensViscount Breckenridge to the Rescue
Stephanie Laurens
Avon, August 30, 2011, $7.99

You are cordially invited to the wedding of Miss Heather Cynster...but not before she encounters kidnappers, danger, and a daring rescue at the hands of Viscount Breckenridge.

Determined to hunt down her very own hero, one who will sweep her off her feet and into wedded bliss, and despairing of finding him in London’s staid ballrooms, Heather Cynster steps out of her safe world and boldly attends a racy soiree.

But her promising hunt is ruined by the supremely interfering Viscount Breckenridge, who whisks her out of scandal—and straight into danger, when a mysterious enemy seizes her, bundles her into a coach, and conveys her out of London.

Now it’s up to the notorious Breckenridge to prove himself the hero she’s been searching for all along...

I came upon Stephanie Laurens early in my Romance reading career and fell immediately in love with Sylvester (Devil) Cynster, Duke of St. Ives and hero of Devil’s Bride (1998), followed by brief flings with several other Cynsters of Devil’s generation, particularly Spencer (Vane in A Rake’s Vow) and Rupert (Gabriel in A Secret Love). I loved that these men fell head over heels for their heroines and pursued them, regardless of the heroine’s refusal (and, oh, they did refuse). Of course these men, in turn, refused to say those three little words that would overcome all resistance.

If you, too, loved this trope and if you still love it, then Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue is for you. In this case, the reluctant heroine is Heather Cynster (young cousin of Devil, et. al.) and the pursuing hero is, naturally, Viscount Breckenridge. And, my friends, therein lies the distinction between this and the rest of Laurens’s Bar Cynster novels: only the names have been changed.

This book will provide you with everything you have come to expect from the Cynster men (whether or not they are actually Cynsters) and the women they love:

You have the engaging heroine who will settle for nothing less than love.

For years she’d searched through those more refined reception rooms for her hero—the man who would sweep her off her feet and into wedded bliss—only to conclude that he didn’t move in such circles.

Of course, she steps out of those circles, gets herself in hot water and must be rescued by Viscount Breckenridge.

Of course, our rakish hero, on running into Heather in a slightly shady salon, realizes immediately that Heather is the one.

The idea of her as his wife simply slipped into the center of his nebulous universe and clicked into place, acting as a catalyst, allowing associated elements to connect and clarify. Solidify.

Soon thereafter, we get the two things that I always look for in a Laurens novel.

She inwardly humphed.

Yes, we get a lot of inward expressions, comments and emotions and enough humphing (inward and outward) to earmark this as Stephanie Laurens.

To get on with the plot, Heather is kidnapped for purposes never really revealed (although I suspect they may become apparent in the next book of this series), and Breckenridge pursues her and her kidnappers into Scotland, where he does eventually rescue her and they end up in the Vale (home of Richard Cynster and his witchy wife, Catriona, Lady of the Vale).

But that’s not really the story. The story is the approach-avoidance romance so typical of the Cynster books. Breckenridge falls in love, although he won’t admit it to anyone, even himself.

She was a Cynster to her toes. Much better she never knew just how deep his fascination with her ran. Just how persistent and intense—intensely irritating—that fascination had proved to be. Just how impossible to eradicate. He’d tried. Hundreds of times. No other female had ever been able to supplant her in his mind. At the core of his desires, at the heart of his passions. And that was definitely something she never needed to know.

Here we also get Laurens’s characteristically efficient use of one subject for several sentences.

Heather, like any good Cynster heroine decides that

The notion of sharing a brief, passionate liaison with him before commencing the rest of her lonely life held serious appeal.

And, yes, they end up in bed and do go at it for hours, at the end of which, I’m exhausted, but they’re up for a rematch.

He offers marriage but never mentions the “L” word. She refuses until she hears it. He persists. She persists. He insists. She resists. Ultimately, he’s injured and she comes to the conclusion that he loves her (duh!) and succumbs.

So, yes. Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue is vintage Laurens, complete with single-minded hero and heroine, destined to be together, and replete with the sensuous love scenes that have long been Laurens’s hallmark. If you are pining for a good Cynster romance with not too much extraneous plot to get in the way, grab this one. You’ll love it.


Myretta Robens
The Republic of Pemberley

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Janet Webb
1. JanetW
This sounds predictably Laurens*nesque and heavens above, I have oodles of Stephanie Laurens on my shelf. I read her new books so quickly, though, as to almost fan myself as the pages fly by -- as an early reader, are you intrigued by the hints of a mystery? My library faithfully buys everything SL publishes so I'm sure I'll read it.
Patti P
2. musicalfrog
what a beautiful cover. I have never read a Stephanie Laurens. Maybe it is now time that I correct that.
Myretta Robens
3. Myretta
@JanetW. I did wonder throughout the book why Heather had been kidnapped. I'm not sure I'd go as far as "intrigued," but I might read the next book to find out.
Myretta Robens
4. Myretta
@musicalfrog, if you've never read Stephanie Laurens, I recommend starting at the first Cynster book, Devil's Bride. I loved it when I first read it and admit that I still do. Here's a post I did on Schadenfreude Moments that included a section on Devil's Bride
Flora Segura-Buchler
6. fsbuchler
I have read all of Stephanie Laurens Books (even the early ones) and I had the pleasure of meeting her at Avon's Tea at this year's RWA Conference. She was lovely; answered my questions, signed my books and did not mind my gushing! Nevertheless, I do have a criticism of her more recent work. I feel that they are tending to be a little formulaic, when the same phrasing is used over and over from one book to another, it starts to feel stale. That Said, I am looking forward to this new series about the younger generation of fiesty, strong-willed, and intelligent Cynster Women! I am also interested to see what SL does with slightly later than Regency time frame.
Louise Partain
7. Louise Partain
@Myretta -- I posit that you still love Devil's Bride because that was the beginning of the formula, the first outing, and you had never seen it before. I have to admit, my fascination every time I am suckered into reading her is will she or won't she break the formula. And sometimes, the sex scenes go on for so long over the same territory that I want the heroine or the hero for that matter to say "I'm so sorry. I've got a headache." It was an interesting twist to bring the Cynsters, the Bastion Club members and the Black Cobra Quartet couples for a rousing conclusion to that series. Kind of forced and melodramatic but made for a smashing ending none the less. And yet I keep on reading her! Can't figure it out. She is kind of like a Barbara Cartland for mature readers albeit much better looking if not as well connected.
Myretta Robens
8. Myretta
@Louise Partain. You'd be absolutely right. The formula was fresh and fun for Devil's Bride and the fun continued through most of the original Cynster men. It sort of petered out for me, but - go figure - every once in a while I like to check in and see how it's going.
Myretta Robens
9. Myretta
@fsbuchler I think you'll find the formula intact. But, for all that, no less fun.
Alie V
10. ophelial
I recently just discovered the Cynster series and I'm catching up. One of my favourite tropes is the hero insisting upon marriage to an unwilling heroine. *sigh* Bestill my romance loving heart.
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