Friday, October 16, 2009

The Untamed Bride, by Stephanie Laurens. A Review by Angie

UNTAMED_frontcoverSetting aside Laurens' love of her thesaurus, I was very happy to hear she was coming out with a new series.  Her storytelling is excellent and I fell in love with all the Bastion Club gentlemen, and this series looks to be just as entertaining.  However, we aren't completely finished with the Bastion boys, as they make prominent appearances throughout the entire series, along with the Cynster clan.  The series revolves around four British officers stationed in India in 1822.  They are attempting to unravel the mystery of the Black Cobra, putting themselves at risk as they investigate.  At the heart of the matter is a letter with a very condemning seal, one that could bring down a very influential member of the aristocracy.  One comrade has already died to get this information, and the series revolves around getting the letter in the right hands.  To do this, three copies of the letter, and the original, are spread between the four remaining comrades in an effort to mislead the foe and get the letter into the correct hands.   All have their fallen friend on their minds as they make the trip across the sea to England.

The Untamed Bride is the story of Colonel Derek Delborough and his journey back to England with his copy of the letter.  Upon arriving he learns he is to escort a young woman, Miss Deliah Duncannon, back to her parent's estate.  Irritated with the added task, when is already undertaking a dangerous mission, he attempts to dissuade Miss Duncannon to accept the escort of servants, to which she vehemently refuses.  Del has no choice but to bring her along, and hope that he can protect her along the way.  A run in with a would be assassin while still in port prompts Del to be on his way quickly, as Miss Duncannon's view of the killer puts her in immediate danger.  They set off for London for some addition investigation, putting on the pretense of being in town for pleasure.  During balls, the theater, and museum trips, he learns more information of who the elusive Black Cobra may be.

Deliah has secrets of her own, and is making her way back from Jamaica to her parent's estate.  Raised a parson's daughter, her spirit clashed with her parents views of what a young lady should be.  After a scandalous affair, she flees to Jamaica and her Uncle, and lives there for several years before coming back to England.  She is no typical young miss; Deliah is bold, courageous and smart, assisting the gentlemen several times with their mission, and pointing out flaws in their plans.  She finds kindred spirits in the women of the Cynster clan, ladies much above her in station, but much alike in temperament.  She loses her heart to Del despite all she does to keep it.

The pair find love along the way as they search for information and fend off a rather unrealistic attack where they all come out unscathed.  Their goal is to make it to the Duke of St. Ives and his estate, where they attempt to work out who the Black Cobra is and the person behind the violence.  With the assistance of several of the Cynster women, a few Bastion Club boys, Del and Deliah get one step closer to revealing the Black Cobra with a daring set up.

And that's where the book ends.  I believe, and I could be wrong, that each book in this series will end without a complete "ending" for the hero and heroine.   At the end of this book, Del and Deliah have promised themselves to each other, but the story is left wide open at the conclusion.  I'm assuming (and hoping and praying) that at some point in the series, we will see a happy ending for all the heroes and heroines.  Despite the odd end, the book is very, very good, and as usual, Laurens tells an intriguing story that keeps you hooked until the last page.  Her portrayal of the military precision of the time is flawless, and her story of love against most all odds is very endearing.

The Untamed Bride will be in stores October 27, 2009.  Be sure to pick this one up!

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