Stephanie Laurens – And Then She Fellby admin
It seems like I’ve been waiting an eternity to read Stephanie Lauren’s latest novel, And Then She Fell. Which is really just a gross hyperbole, as this woman churns out novels at an alarming rate (eat your heart out, Nora Roberts). Nevertheless, finally having the book in my hands, I read with great swiftness.
To varying reactions.
Dubbed The Matchbreaker by the ton, Henrietta Cynster is renowned for breaking up ill-fated pairings. But when she urges her friend to turn down the delectable James Glossup, despite her best intentions, she makes a muddle of things. For James needs to marry within the month, if he wishes to keep his inheritence. And so The Matchbreaker becomes Matchmaker, offering to find James a wife.
What Henrietta didn’t expect was to want the man for herself. The path to happily ever after is made all the murkier with a murderer intent on silencing Henrietta. Permanently.
Stephanie Laurens was my first Regency read, and my second romance ever. She has taken me on this incredible journey with her Cynster family, and I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. They’ve become a staple in my bookshelf, and are read with an alarming frequency.
Sadly, I’ve grown tired of her books of late; the last trilogy just rambled on and on, with the same things happening in each book, descriptions and introspection going for way too long, and there were just too many pointless love scenes.
I was seriously considering giving her up.
But some tiny part of me clung to her novels like ivy. And I’m glad I did. And Then She Fell is a wonderful change from her last trilogy. The book is smaller, for one (hoorah!), and Ms Laurens’s waffling has disappeared. The story had me hooked from the first chapter.
And don’t you just love that cover?
I am so happy that we get to see Henrietta’s siblings again. Strangely enough, with the exception of Devil Cynster, Henrietta’s family is my favourite: Amanda and Martin, Amelia and Luc, and Simon and Portia. I’m afraid I grinned quite maniacally when I saw them return (my apologies to anyone who saw me on the train!).
It’s a little hard to view the Cynster wives as being in their forties, and the Cynster twins in their thirties, but they were aged well and according to character. Though I shudder to work out just how old Devil is now.
The plot is intriguing for the entire story; I had my suspicions on who the culprit was, but it was nice that I couldn’t say for sure who it was. I hate guessing these things too early!
Most of all, I am ecstatic at the return of James Glossup; he was my hero in The Perfect Lover. I love Henrietta and James together. They have an interesting connection, not quite there from the start, but strong once realised. Sort of like Simon and Portia reprised. James is not quite your typical Alpha male, displaying just the right amount of protectiveness to earn him the title of adopted Cynster.
Henrietta does kind of blend in with many other of Ms Laurens’s heroines, but I guess when you have so many heroines, it’s hard to make each distinct and original. Not that this excuses her…
Overall, this novel was an enjoyable return to what I love about Ms Laurens.
However, I do have some quibbles.
I rather thought the whole Simon-Henrietta-James triangle was severely underplayed. Simon didn’t seem to care that his best friend had his eye on his sister. James didn’t ruminate too much on the fact that he was going after his best friend’s sister. and Henrietta didn’t seem to think much on her growing fascination with her brother’s best friend. These tropes are played out so well in many other Regency novels, yet it was lacking in this one.
Sigh. Maybe I’m just being too harsh – the best friend/sibling trope is one of my favourites.
As for my other problem…there’s no point in beating around the bush. I am getting pretty bored with these love scenes. If you go back to the very beginning, to Devil’s Bride, Ms Laurens offers a lush sensuality that simply takes your breath away. But these days, you barely get a glimpse of naked skin. It’s all symbolic and metaphoric – exploding novas, desire’s scalding whip, and so on. We see his thoughts, then her thoughts, then his, but we never actually see anything. What happened to these love scenes??? Since when has Ms Laurens become a prude?
If she wants to skimp over the details, fine. Close the door. Have them kiss and then wake up the next morning (which is exactly what we see at present, just minus all the BS). But don’t carry on and on about this emotional orgasm, because quite frankly, it bugs.
If she keeps this up, not even a good, entrancing plotline will keep me interested.
I hope for all our sakes that Mary gets a little more physical action.
And Then She Fell