Saturday, December 24, 2011

In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster by Stephanie Laurens

 It took me awhile to finish this book -- I felt it was too long and over-written.

This is the second book in the Cynster Sisters series and it is Eliza's turn to find her hero.

 I think Stephanie Laurens did a good thing by introducing us to an atypical Cynster -- Eliza is not like her siblings or cousins.  She isn't bold or daring.  She can't ride a horse.  She's not overly fond of being social.  She is quiet and introspective.

Jeremy Carling is also not your typical Laurens hero.  He is a scholar and leads a quiet and contemplative life.

I felt Laurens could have done more about Eliza and Jeremy -- both out of their element in an adventure better-suited for their siblings/friends.  Instead, Laurens does the same thing -- she rehashes the same plot -- and has Eliza kidnapped and brought to Scotland.  And Jeremy and Eliza go through chapters and chapters of traveling ... on foot.

I am fine with Laurens using the kidnapping as the device to tie the three stories together -- but I don't think it should be as easy as changing the names of the kidnapper, the kidnapped and the rescuer -- (even the end destination was the same!)

I had to keep putting the book down because it was a lot of walking and walking and walking and not a lot of adventure.  Laurens did the convenient thing and made sure to draw out their travel to Wolverstone.  Of course there was an explanation -- and we accept (but don't understand) Jeremy's rationale for choosing such a roundabout route to a place he is very familiar with --

This is also where Laurens commits the error of over-writing -- the tedious discussion of routes and directions -- the ever-present and quite-often consultation of a map --

This story lacked focus.  It also lacked direction. This should have been Eliza and Jeremy's story -- and we should have seen some growth and transformation in the two of them.

In the end, when Eliza realizes that she had changed, I am unconvinced that she had.

When Eliza finally rose from the tub, and wrapped in a robe, toweled her hair dry, she felt ... like her old self, but not. 

She was increasingly certain she could never go back to that earlier self, her previous incarnation. Whatever changes the last week had wrought, they were irreversible.

What Laurens has succeeded in doing is to make the Laird (I assume he is the Earl of Glencrae) a very appealing character.  It is explained in this second book why he was so hesitant in the first book.

He is a reluctant villain -- and it is because of him that I have pre-ordered the third book and will read it.

This book was released one month after the first book was released ... but the third book won't be out until January -- I am hoping that Laurens has used this time to work out the kinks in her story.



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