by Stephanie Laurens
Release Date: March 1, 1998
Book #1 in the Cynster series
Number of Pages: 416
Ages 15 and up
CW: murder, violence
When Devil, the most infamous member of the Cynster family, is caught in a compromising position with plucky governess Honoria Wetherby, he astonishes the entire town by offering his hand in marriage. No one dreamed this scandalous rake would ever take a bride. And as society mamas swooned at the loss of England′s most eligible bachelor, Devil′s infamous Cynster cousins began to place wagers on the wedding date.
But Honoria wasn′t about to bend society′s demands and marry a man “just” because they′d been found together virtually unchaperoned. No, she craved adventure, and while solving the murder of a young Cynster cousin fit the bill for a while, she decided that once the crime was solved she′d go off to see the world. But the scalding heat of her unsated desire for Devil soon had Honoria craving a very different sort of excitement. Could her passion for Devil cause her to embrace the enchanting peril of a lifelong adventure of the heart?
Let me first address the obvious. The surname of this family is Cynster, which isn’t much of anything by itself. Then you start getting into the nicknames. The MMC in this story is Devil. There is also Demon, Scandal, etc. I love the fun the author had with this family’s names. I thoroughly expected them all to be arrogant jerks due to the Cynster name. They’re arrogant, that’s for sure. But they don’t seem to be jerks judging off this first book. In fact, they’re pretty amazing.
While this book seemed extraordinarily long, it was not. You would think that would mean it didn’t keep my attention, but it did. I greatly enjoyed this read, but it did seem to go on. Being the first book in a large series (although I’m unsure if the author realized how immense this series would get) there is a lot of groundwork that needs to be covered. I’m not sure that there is anything that could have or should have been left out even while feeling it was overlong.
I adore the heat and passion between Devil and Honoria. She is not one to be told what to do or to bow down to anyone, no matter their station. He doesn’t know how to back down from a challenge. What is so great is that Devil is immediately aware that Honoria is the one for him. Before they’ve barely exchanged two words, he knows she was meant to be his wife and he’s so matter-of-fact about it when discussing her with his cousin. It seems that in his family when you know you know. Not only that, they all know it’s futile to fight that destiny.
“According to all precepts, Cynster wives are the only beings on earth of whom Cynster men need be wary.” – Devil Cynster
The verbal sparring is amazing and doesn’t deteriorate into any type of disrespect. In fact, Honoria and Devil have the utmost respect for one another. There are times Devil seems to want to shove Honoria back into a “good wife/proper lady” mold, but when she pushes back it seems to be one of the things he most admires about her. That backbone and determination she has to be herself and not someone else’s version of who she should be.
The cousins are such a joy! All of them, even the rakish men of the bunch. They play hard but they also love hard. They stand with each other no matter what and, while very serious about protecting their family, have a light-heartedness that drew me in.
This wasn’t a perfect book. There are a few things I would have liked to see happen that didn’t and I was a bit annoyed Devil wasn’t figuring things out more quickly than I did. But I still had a grand time reading this one and am looking forward to seeing many more of the Cynster cousins taken down by some strong, independent women.