Scandal’s Bride ~ Stephanie Laurens

  • Title: Scandal’s Bride
  • Author: Stephanie Laurens
  • Series: Cynster #3
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Format: e-book
  • Source: own copy
  • Reviewed by: Erica
  • Rating: 3 out of 5

Description:  How can an honourable lady like Lady Catriona Hennessy unite with a rake like Richard Cynster? Though charmed by his commanding presence, she cannot give up her independence. Marriage had not previously been on Richard′s agenda, but perhaps taming the lady was just the challenge he needs – if he can have the rights of the marriage bed without making any revealing promises of love?

Review: I’m very much in two minds about this book. On the one hand it was an easy read which kept me entertained throughout. On the other hand it was repetitive and with a plot so sketchy that it was hard to find sometimes.

Our hero is Richard Cynster, half-brother to Devil, born to another man’s wife somewhere up in Scotland but raised as a full-born Cynster, since his real mother died when he was only a baby, and he was then dumped on the Cynsters’ doorstep.

The book starts when he is called to Scotland because his real mother’s husband has passed away, revealing that he kept back a bequest she had for her son. The Scottish lord is also the ward of one Catriona Hennessy, a stubborn lass with her own holding in the lowlands, who is known as the Lady of the Vale.

There is some convoluted plot to force Richard and Catriona into marriage, which brings the usual conundrum of the Cynster man being very much in favour of this, and the woman in question being very much against it.

What I liked: Catriona is a lady in her own right, used to being in command and making decisions. The bulk of her objections against the marriage stem from the fact that Richard is a true Cynster male, and therefore an alpha, and she does not want him to usurp her authority. Richard, on the other hand, understands her and her position enough to not interfere with this and support her rather than taking over.

What I didn’t like: quite a list, actually, but the main problem is that there are so many repetitive elements in this book that it started to wear on me. Catriona is a pagan who follows The Lady and practices the healing arts, and as such she is a witch. I have no problem with this, but whenever we’re in Richard’s head she is referred to as ‘his witchy wife’ so many times that it started to grate. Apart from that the Cynsters are a right bunch of rabbits, so there was a lot of sex. Again, I don’t have a problem with this in itself, especially since the author is very good at the sex scenes, but it did get a bit samey after a while, and I’d have liked to see a bit more plot instead. I also had to roll my eyes at Richard’s petulance when he couldn’t have sex one morning because his wife had the audacity to get up before him.

There is the usual inability of either party to say ‘I love you’ to the other, which makes any lamentations of ‘I need to make sure that he knows I love him’ a bit idiotic, and after three books of it, that too is getting repetitive.

Considering the list of dislikes one might think that this book is bad and I didn’t like it at all, but that’s not the case. As I said at the start, it was an easy read which kept me entertained without effort. It just wasn’t brilliant.

I also feel it necessary to say something about the terrible editing of this e-book version. I have no idea whether this is any different in other editions, but this had so many instances of two people talking in the same paragraph that it was actually starting to get confusing. Very disappointing to see from a professional publisher.