Friday, March 26, 2010

The Promise in a Kiss by Stephanie Laurens

Sheltered in a French convent school, Helena has little knowledge of men. But that changes one snowy Christmas Eve when she unexpectedly meets a mesmerizing Englishman who leaves her with a powerful kiss.

Grown into a stunning beauty, Helena cannot forget that forbidden kiss. Now, though, she must put aside her dreams and marry, an obligation that takes her to London.

There she is determined to meet Society's most eligible bachelor, Sebastian, Duke of St. Ives, a man sworn never to wed. But when they are introduced, Helena is shocked...for Sebastian is none other than her wild Englishman.

No matter how many times I pick up historicals by other authors, Laurens still remains my favorite. Maybe it's because the romance is paramount to me, but when I read a historical I actually don't care all that much about accuracy. I don't need to know the intimate details of the worst experiences of being a member of London high society - if I wanted to know, I'd read a history book. I read these for pleasure, and the joy of imagining some well to do woman scorning her place in life and going out to do what she wants to is just more interesting. Laurens in particular writes stories of women who are opinionated and want to make a difference, but understand that being born into certain families come with some responsibilities. Thus they can't always make the decisions they'd want to, though luckily Laurens creates a great journey and happy ending for them anyway.

As a prequel to the rest of the Cynster line up, I love this book just for the look it gives you at the beginning of a dynasty. The Cynster's are known for a very particular set of qualities and reading about the man who started it all, who set the pace for the generations of males who came after him, is both enlightening and engaging. Helena and Sebastian's love permeates through every book in this series, and reading finally the whole thing not only gives you a deeper understanding of the books you've already read but, if you haven't read the series yet, gets you excited to continue on to the rest.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. One of Laurens' best, the story of Helena and Sebastian is filled with adventure as well as romance.

Series - There are 16 books (so far) in the Cynster series and that's a bit much to list here. Check out Stephanie Laurens' website, but know that while this book was released 8th in the series it's a prequel so it doesn't really matter when you read it.