Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae by Stephanie Laurens

The Earl of Glencrae is running out of time -- and running out of options. With the unsuccessful kidnapping of the 2 older Cynster sisters, her mother's constant threats and the coming deadline for the goblet, he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands and handle the youngest, and last, of the sisters.

Like her sisters, Angelica is also looking for her hero and she believes that the new face across the ballroom might be the one. She is intrigued by the intensity and raw power that emanates from the man -- and so she finds a way to get closer.

One minute she is talking and flirting with him -- the next, she is kidnapped and brought to an unknown location -- as her captor plots his next move.

But Angelica, ever the Cynster, makes plans of her own.

I liked that Angelica was clever and strong enough to turn the tables on Dominic -- instead of being a helpless captive, she becomes his equal and co-conspirator (against his mother) and makes decisions for herself (and for him) --

This is the last part of Stephanie Laurens' Cynster Sisters series. I had read the first two and had mixed feelings about them -- but I ordered the last book because I wanted to see how Laurens would conclude the series. She did a good job building up the mystery of the Earl of Glencrae and this is partly the reason why I wanted to read this book.

The Earl of Glencrae has loomed in the shadows of the first two novels in the series -- is he truly a villain? Why is he targeting these sisters?

Since this is the last novel in the series, Laurens is left with the burden of having to cast light on all the details and puzzles she staged. And the untangling of it all has weighed down this book immensely -- and not in a good way.

It begins with a near-monologue from Dominic, Earl of Glencrae which spans pages 35 to 48 of the book. He details the history of his family and how it is connected to Angelica's family, etc. etc. etc. --

I also felt that the recitation of Cynsters and their wives from previous books was almost gratuitous. I understand that Laurens is trying to tie this mini-series to the greater Cyster stories --
p. 58 - 59
p. 74 = 2 paragraphs of Cynster names

This is a double-edged sword -- readers new to Laurens will get lost in the multitude of references to previous books; while fans of her previous books will be delighted to read about their favorites.

There's also a lot of explaining and telling too much, which doesn't allow the reader to decode the nuances in the actions of the characters or their dialogue. There is also a terrible case of repetitiveness --

Dominic Guisachan, Earl of Glencrae, a highland laird accustomed to absolute rule, absolute command ... p.52

He was accustomed to wielding power -- in his case more or less absolute power. p. 110

Stephanie Laurens is a talented writer -- her previous books are proof of that talent. And one finds a glimpse of that talent in this novel:

For the first time, he allowed that realization to fully form, to rise in his consciousness, then sink to his bones. p.92

That line is memorable -- there is a wonderful economy of words but the choice of words are very evocative of the feelings between Dominic and Angelica.

I had hoped to read more of that in the almost-400 pages left -- but, sadly, I did not.

Stephanie Laurens has a good story to tell -- but the story got lost in too many words, too many details, too many mentions of traveling -- just too many of everything.

What is interesting, though -- is that I did not feel there was chemistry between Angelica and Dominic. It is stated in the book how attracted they are to each other -- but I did not get a sense of any deeper devotion between the two.

There is a bonus novella at the end of the book, but I did not read it anymore.

Final note: I did like how the identity of the laird was uncovered. I like the reference to Burke's Peerage. ^_^



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