Monday, December 19, 2011

Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens



This story had potential --

We are told, at the beginning of the story, that Heather and Timothy, Viscount Breckenridge, hate each other. They are somewhat, distantly related by marriage and they are nemeses.

They meet at an infamous soiree where Heather has sneaked off to -- she is determined to find a man to marry. (It's a strange place to find a prospective husband, considering it is a gathering with questionable purpose.)

Breckenridge compels Heather to go home, threatening to inform her brothers of her outing. On her way to her carriage, Heather gets kidnapped. Breckenridge witnesses this and decides to chase after Heather and her kidnappers.

He catches up to them -- but, instead of escaping, Heather is determined to discover the identity of the mastermind to her kidnapping. She decides to stay kidnapped to try to get information.

This whole part felt odd -- and partly defies logic. But I guess Laurens wanted to use this time for Heather and Breckenridge to develop a relationship. (They meet at night to discuss what they have discovered during the day.)

Finally, (after about 6 chapters), they decide to escape. The mastermind of Heather's kidnapping follows them. (Again, weird: he never seems to catch up. He's riding a horse and they are on foot -- but he never seems to catch up!)

Heather and Breckenridge decide to travel to Vale, to seek help from Richard (Scandal) and Catriona --

When they arrive there, the story changes.

They have forgotten about the mastermind (and the kidnapping) and Breckenridge is intent on marrying Heather. Heather does not want to get married and plans to devote her life to taking care of children. (Um... she sneaked out to a soiree in order to find a man!) She demands his love and he can't give it because of something that happened to him in the past.

There was one moment when Richard and Breckenridge decide to track the mastermind -- but, at this point, his trail is cold. (They should have done it when they arrived at the Vale, when Breckenridge and the mastermind had a standoff. Instead, they wait a few days so he could escape.)

It takes a deus ex machina (in this case, a tauri/bull ex machina) to push Heather and Breckenridge to give in to their feelings. And live happily ever after.

This story had a lot of potential. It would have been nice if Laurens had stuck to one story and saw it through to the end (preferably the kidnapping story). She also needs to edit her work better -- to avoid such lines as:

Their hearty breakfast of porridge and honey stood them on good stead as they marched steadily on. O_o

Some things Laurens failed to address:
1. Why do Heather and Breckenridge hate each other?
2. Who is Helen and what did she do to Breckenridge? (It is implied that she broke his heart but a lot of the details are left out -- I think this is an important part of the story since this is the reason why Timothy can't seem to open his heart to Heather.)
3. What happened to the letter Breckenridge left with Heather's coachman? Why didn't anyone come after them?

Laurens succeeded in piquing our interest about the mastermind of the kidnapping and the reasons behind it -- (which is why I am reading the next book) --

The greatest challenge Laurens has to overcome (IMHO) is creating unique characters. She has written about the Cynsters for more than 10 years and has introduced over 15 of the Cynster children. It becomes difficult distinguishing one from the other -- and one's story from the other.

In the word of her own characters:
The same thing we've all had to do--prostrate ourselves at their dainty feet, swear undying love, and mean it. - Richard to Breckenridge

Whoever your hero is, he's definitely like your cousins... - Catriona to Heather

She tried to step out of the Cynster mold with the Black Cobra Quartet -- but there is a reason why she has decided to return to writing about the Cynsters.

I have the next book and I'm interested enough to continue reading this series.

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