Monday, September 6, 2010

The Lady Chosen by Stephanie Laurens

The first book in a series, this story introduces seven of London's most eligible bachelors (all former spies recently returned from the war) who form the Bastion Club. The purpose of this gentlemen's club is to provide a refuge from society and support for their search for acceptable brides on their own terms.

Tristan Wemyss, Earl of Trentham, has a more urgent need to marry than his comrades. If he doesn't marry within a year from when he inherited his title, he will keep the title, estates and numerous elderly dependents, but without the wealth to maintain them. Although he could care less about the title and its associated perks, Tristan's genuine affection for his relatives leaves him no choice but to honor the stipulations of his inheritance. As luck would have it, Tristan quickly discovers an appealing candidate living next door to the Bastion Club's headquarters where he is overseeing its renovation.

Leonora Carling is intelligent and independent. Past disappointments have taught her how to manage on her own. She wouldn't know how to ask for help even if it occurred to her to ask for it. That all changes after a series of attempted break-ins at her home cause her to seek assistance from Tristan. He is more than happy to help since he doesn't like the idea of Leonora being in danger and it offers him an opportunity to press his suit for her hand. Leonora may be stubborn, but Tristan excels at getting what he wants.

I like this book a lot better than the other one I've read by this author (Captain Jack's Woman). If you can get past the way too convenient plot device of seven men inheriting titles after the untimely demise of the title holders and/or their heirs, this is a promising series. When I compare it to the other book, the plot is better and the characters are more likeable. The writing style is still pretty jerky which is annoying, but sticking with it to the end was worth it.

BEST FEATURE: The mystery behind the break-ins. Who was the thief and what was he trying to steal from Leonora's house? The answer was never really obvious.

WORST FEATURE: The writing style. There were too many half and incomplete sentences which made reading difficult. Examples include:
- She hauled her gaze back up to his eyes. Blushed.
- Faint light from the distant hallway reached him as he closed the door, turned, straightened.
- Knew absolutely that it was only partially due to surprise. Sensed his own response to that fact. Ruthlessly reined it in.

PARENTAL WARNING: minor violence, but sexual content explicit enough to be considered adult only.

RATING: 3 - A solid start for a romance series.

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