Mary Cynster is the youngest in her generation. The last chance for other families to join their names with the Cynster name (which holds much clout). However, Mary is known to be a take-charge, bossy kind of gal. In fact, she has most of the eligible men of the ton rather intimidated. Ryder Cavanaugh is not intimidated though. He’s intrigued. He likes the challenge that Mary presents for him but most of all he likes that sense of family that she has, a sense that he didn’t have growing up. Things can’t be that easy, of course. Mary has set her sights on someone else (Ryder’s half-brother) and is resolutely ignoring the stirrings she feels for Ryder. Ryder knows Mary would be able to walk all over his half-brother. She needs someone more her equal, someone like him. Challenge accepted.
My first thought when I picked this book up was “Holy Crap! The family tree in the beginning is making my eyes cross.” Then I realized that I had managed to pick up the 20th book in this series. And finally I realized that somehow in my 6+ years of reading romance, I had managed to NOT stumble across one of the other 19 books. Amazing. And then I started reading.
Mary and Ryder’s relationship made me smile from the first page. Mary’s continued denial of her feelings for Ryder made the first part of the story drag a bit, but once she finally admitted her feelings to herself (about a 1/4 of the way in), the story takes off and never slows down. The relationship between Mary and Ryder was humorous, even if not out right laugh causing. There was such a sense of fate surrounding the two that you just couldn’t help but root for them. And for all you suspense fans, there’s a bit of that here too. If I had one complaint, it would be the epilogue. It seemed to be more of an epilogue for the series, and since I haven’t read the earlier books, it was a bit confusing trying to keep everyone straight. I’m sure readers of the earlier books would appreciate it though.
Reminding me of Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens has made a new fan. I will not hesitate to turn to her for my next historical romance fix. And although the thought of reading the prior 19 books is a bit daunting, it’s a task I will be undertaking.
Because once I start a series, I can’t stop, I’m not a huge fan of super-large series. I prefer a trilogy of books. How about you? What’s the perfect number of books for a series to contain?