All About Love, by Stephanie Laurens (Cynsters #6)

>> Monday, January 19, 2004

All About Love, by Stephanie Laurens is the last in the original Cynsters series, the story of the sixth male cousin, the last member of the Bar Cynster. After that, probably due to the fans' demands, the author wrote some more spin-offs (Chillingsworth's story, those of the twins Amanda and Amelia, and, I believe, that of Devil's parents).

Alasdair Cynster, known to his intimates as Lucifer, decides to rusticate in the country before the matchmaking skills of London's mamas become firmly focused on him, the last unwed member of the Bar Cynster. But an escape to Devon leads him straight to his destiny in the irresistible form of Phyllida Tallent, a willful, independent beauty of means who brings all his masterful Cynster instincts rioting to the fore. Lucifer tries to deny the desire Phyllida evokes--acting on it will land him in parson's mousetrap, one place he's sworn never to go. But destiny intervenes, leaving him to face the greatest Cynster challenge--wooing a reluctant bride.

Phyllida has had a bevy of suitors--her charm and wit are well known throughout the countryside--but none of them has tempted her the way Lucifer does. His offer to teach her all about the ways of love is almost too tantalizing to resist. And although she's not yet completely surrendered, she knows only a fool stands against a Cynster...and Phyllida is no one's fool.
All About Love might not be the best entry in this series, but nonetheless, it is an enjoyable, solid one. A B+.

Is Laurens writing the same book over and over again? I may be dense, but I just don't see it that clearly. I've heard it said that her heros are the same guy, only with a different hobby. If it's Gabriel, then he's interested in money, Harry in horses, and that's the only difference, apparently. Well, that's not what I've felt while reading the series. Apart from their being possessive (in a good way) guys, ready to pursue the women they love, I definitely see them as different characters. As for the heroines, is their only defining characteristic that they don't want to get married? Well, no, and this isn't even accurate. Ok, enough about the series in general, and let's proceed to the book itself.

As always with Laurens, both the sexual tension and the love scenes themselves were scorching hot. They were my favourite kind, the kind that doesn't feel gratuitous and furthers the development of the characters.

And speaking of the characters, nice job. For all his alpha-ness, Lucifer is a considerate guy, who does give a damn about how he wins Phyllida, and tries to do it in a way that won't hurt her pride and make her happy. He sees how she about the courting she's received from the other men in the village, how she's disgusted because they all want her only because of what she is, not of who she is. This means he will do his best to show her that it's her he wants, not what she can give him. Ergo, he won't seduce the truth out of her, because he wants her to know that it's her own self that he wants. I find this consideration much more romantic than the guy who kidnaps the heroine because he wants her, so he feels he has the right to.

The suspense subplot was enjoyable, even if it was a murder investigation, as in Devil's Bride. I say "even if" because I thought the suspense subplot in Devil's Bride the weakest in the series. Everything was handled better here, from Phyllida's insistence on being involved in the investigation, which made much more sense than Honoria's, to the final confrontation and the whole motivations of the murderer.

The investigation itself was nice, serving to link the characters together, with no stupid macho posturing on Lucifer's part about how Phyllida as a woman must be kept in the dark. No, no, these two were pretty much partners. Also, I liked how Phyllida's having a secret was handled. She did her best to tell Lucifer as soon as she felt she could, though well, personally I would have thought a murder investigation would take precedence over her acquaintance's hysteria, but ok, not to Phyllida. And Lucifer knew she knew more than she told him, but trusted that she would tell him when she could and that she had enough sense not to withhold a piece of information that would be important to the investigation.

I am now going to read the next books in the series, even if the couple of reviews I've read tempt me less than the ones of the first 6 books. I'll give a pass to Devil's parents' story, though, because going in already knowing that in the future the hero will cheat on the heroine would completely ruin the book for me.


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