- Title: Devil’s Bride
- Author: Stephanie Laurens
- Series: Cynster #1
- Genre: Historical Romance
- Format: Paperback
- Source: Own copy
- Reviewed by: Erica, Guest Reviewer
- Rating: 4 out of 5
Description: 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 ton by offering his hand in marriage. No one had dreamed this scandalous rake would so tamely take a bride. As society’s mamas swooned at the loss of England’s most eligible bachelor, Devil’s infamous Cynster cousins began to place wagers on the wedding date.
But Honoria wasn’t about to bend to society’s demands and marry a man just because they’d been found together unchaperoned. No. She craved adventure. Solving the murder of a young Cynster cousin fit the bill for a while, but once the crime was solved, Honoria was set on seeing 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?
Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I have to dock it a star for a couple of silly things, the main one being a murder mystery side-plot so ridiculously transparent that I’d sussed out who the murderer was about a third of the way into the book. That’s not in itself a problem, but it made our two leads look a bit thick, seeing as they don’t figure it out until you’re within the last fifty pages.
Still, this is first and foremost a romance, and as romances go the passion really sparks off the pages here. Devil Cynster is the Duke of St Ives and the head of the Cynster family, a tribe of aristocratic rakes and rogues with improbable nicknames like Scandal, Demon and Lucifer, which rather tells you what they’re like before they’re even described. Still, Devil needs offspring to protect, so when he runs into Honoria, the plucky new governess recently arrived in the neighbourhood, he decides that she’ll do as the mother of his sons. She also happens to be the daughter of some local aristocratic bod, which takes care of the good breeding requirement, and since he’s an arrogant sod, her fate is pretty much sealed.
When the two meet, Devil’s young cousin Tolly has just been shot (this is the silly murder plot), and Honoria is the one who found him and has been trying to staunch the bleeding. In the process she proves just how plucky and level-headed she is, and a thunderstorm and the dying youth force them to seek shelter in a little cottage and spend the night together. This of course means that Honoria’s reputation is irrevocably tainted, so Devil offers to marry her. At this point he hasn’t actually told her yet who he is, and Honoria is the stubborn sort who has decided that going off to see the pyramids is much more exciting than being somebody’s wife. Cue much back and forth arguing of the ‘will not’ – ‘will too’ variety.
Hmm, I’m not really selling this, am I?
Okay, forget the silly things. Forget that she overhears him being called Devil, but still sounds astonished when he introduces himself as the Duke of St Ives, exclaiming ‘You’re Devil Cynster??’ like there were three Devils roaming the neighbourhood. Instead concentrate on the fact that the romance in this is blistering. I wish I could write passion this well. Take this as a very good example of a light, fluffy read that doesn’t require you to think too much, but will have you fanning yourself to cool back down. Take this as a book which I think is worth four stars despite all the silly bits, because as a romance it really is that good.
Sometimes you don’t need an amazing plot to enjoy a book. This is that book.