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Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurens

brazen bride by stephanie laurens Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurens

I must admit that I'm not all that intimately acquainted (pardon the pun) with romance novels, so I was quite excited when the lovely Harper Collins Australia offered to send me a review copy of best-selling Australian romance author Stephanie Laurens' new book. While Laurens' name is certainly one I've heard before, The Brazen Bride is the first of her novels I've read. It's the third in the Black Cobra quartet (the first two books being The Untamed Bride and The Elusive Bride), but rest assured that' it can easily be read as a standalone'although it may help to have some proficiency with remembering character names.

The book opens in the middle of a fight-scene (full of exciting things like dirks and cutlasses, no less), during which a young man is dangerously wounded and tossed overboard. As luck would have it, he is discovered by devastatingly beautiful and devastatingly independent Linnet Trevission, wealthy landowner and savvy businesswoman. Linnet takes exceptionally good care of her ward'so good, in fact, that the pair somehow manages immediately to have sex even whilst our thus-far nameless chap is out cold on the bed. Regaining consciousness in the morning, and pondering a certain vivid dream, the young man finds that a nasty bump to his head has robbed him of his memories'all he knows is that his name is Logan, and that he is on a mission of unknown purpose to an unknown destination.

The book moves a little slowly for the first few hundred pages, it must be said, with Linnet slowly coaxing Logan back to health and attempting to help him regain his memory. (And all this in between rather frequent bedroom encounters'the time management-related wonders of a television-free world!) Both Logan and Linnet are fighting their emotions, knowing that investing in a relationship would require each of them to relinquish, well, power and freedom, and it's this tug of war that comprises the first half or so of the book. To be honest, there's a certain amount of tedium here, as after Linnet's tenth mention of her fears of giving up her landowning ways, it's rather difficult not to yell at her that you understand, you really do, and that there's no need to keep banging on about it. Speaking of banging on about it, the frequent sex scenes, also' don't really add much to the narrative, as there's a certain lack of sexual tension given that the characters leapt in to bed so easily in the first place. A slow build-up here might have helped with the lagging pacing during this first half of the book.

However, in the second half of the book, things really do pick up, although they do require a good deal of suspension of disbelief. The olfactory delights of a home-cooked curry lead Logan to suddenly recall that he's an East India Company cavalry officer charged with delivering an incriminating piece of evidence as soon as humanly possible, and all of the sudden he's off and ready to swashbuckle (yes, I do think this is the most appropriate verb to describe his actions). At this point, we suddenly find out that Linnet is also the owner of Trevission shipping, and also an experienced sailor and ship's captain. And that she owns a pair of fashionable leather breeches. There's quite a bit of action from this point on, with all sorts of assassins and cultists and incestuous baddie brothers filling up the pages. It's all extremely silly, but really quite a lot of fun.

However, Laurens' characterisation seems to suffer a little towards this latter end of the book, as we're introduced to a whole cast of characters from the previous books in the quartet (and from what I can tell, previous related series). There's a degree of similarity about all of the characters: they are essentially all forthright, modern women who don't subscribe to the politics or social norms of the day, and large-shouldered, strong men who despite their admirable masculinity, treat their wives as equals (in 1822, no less). I can't help but feel that The Brazen Bride would have been stronger without the inclusion of these characters, who are really all mirrors of Linnet and Logan without any notable traits of their own. It's a shame, as for all its silliness, the second half of the book would otherwise have gone a long way to mitigating the slower first half.

Rating: star Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurensstar Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurenshalfstar Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurensblankstar Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurensblankstar Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurens

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Other books in the Black Cobra quartet you might enjoy:

elusive bride stephanie laurens Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurensuntamed bride stephanie laurens Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurens

The Elusive Bride The Untamed Bride

234 x 60 Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurens Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurens

234 x 60 Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurens Review: The Brazen Bride by Stephanie Laurens

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