The second book in the Cynster Sisters series, published September 2011.
Eliza Cynster is on the hunt for a husband, with no potential suitors to be found among the cream of the ton, she knows she must look elsewhere. But her curiosity costs her dearly as she falls into an elaborate trap.
Brazenly kidnapped from her sister Heather’s engagement ball, Eliza Cynster is spirited north from London to Edinburgh. Desperate and determined to escape, she seizes upon the first possible champion who happens along – gentleman scholar Jeremy Carling.
Villains and rescues are a far cry from Jeremy’s area of expertise, yet he cannot abandon a damsel in distress. But danger lurks and hurdles abound in their race to elude the mysterious laird, until a final confrontation on a rugged, windswept cliff reveals what their future life could hold – if both are daring enough to seize and submit to their passionate desires…
Eliza is very happy that her sister Heather has finally found her hero. But her own future is not so clear. With all they Cynster males on the alert for another kidnapping attempt, she cannot go anywhere without an escort from her brothers or her cousins. And they are so totally suffocating her! So when a servant gives her an anonymous note from a gentleman to meet her in the back parlor, she goes. Not expecting anything to happen in a house full of Cynsters, she is not under guard at the moment. And that is when it happens if course. She is drugged, and abducted in moments. She only comes too on the road to Edinburgh. But not the main one, a secondary road where her family won’t be searching for her. And Eliza’s captors are more refined then Heather’s were, keeping her sedated for days with Laudanum, even though the Laird has given orders she is not to be drugged or harmed in any way.
She is given absolutely no chance to escape, or get someone’s attention. And if she would, her captures would just tell the tale that her guardian has tasked them to fetch her home. No one would believe her, and if they did, her reputation would be destroyed.
But just before they cross the border, Eliza gets a little chance. A carriage going the other way has a familiar gentleman driving it! So she presses herself against the window and calls for help! But when the carriage appears to be driving on, her capturers only laugh at her feeble attempt. She is to weak to try anything more, and falls asleep again.
But the gentleman in question, mr Jeremy Carling, brother to Leonore, did recognize Eliza from the time his sister took him to all the balls and parties of the ton. And as he just left Wolverton Castle, he also knows what happened to Heather, and the treat to the other Cynster sisters.
As there is no way to send a message south to warn Wolverton and the Cynsters, he will have to follow the coach herself, and try to rescue Eliza.
At the first stop, there is no possibility to take her away, as she is still too weak from the laudanum. So it will have to happen in Edinburgh, before she is handed over to the Laird. Luckily, he is well known in Edinburgh and has some friends there who will help with the rescue and the escape.
The rescue goes flawless, it is the escape that gives the problems, as Eliza is not a good enough horsewoman. And so, instead of going at all speed back to England and Wolverton, they have to walk, as hiring a gig is not so easy. And of course, they have to evade their pursuers. The Laird, and his henchman who won’t give up even though ordered to.
I really enjoyed this story. Of course, it is a lot similar to the previous book in the large storytelling line, the abduction, the rescue, the escape, all the walking, but Jeremy and Eliza are such different characters, I loved both from the beginning. They are not hero material, Eliza is a quiet kind of lady, not liking to walk or ride, but to play music and embroider. She is not daring like her sisters. And Jeremy is a scholar, not a warrior like the other heroes in Stephanie Laurens’ books. But they get along very well, and I liked how they handled things. Together. As equals, and not one trying to dictate the other.
The description of the country they have to traverse, is lovely and very clear. I could picture myself there easily. The kind people they meet on the way.
And there is a bit more about the Laird who has to capture a Cynster sister to safe his clan. I am very curious about him and his vindictive mother. The abductor himself is scarily fixated though, and gives a lot of suspense filled pages nearing the end. Loved it. (Scared the .. out of me when my phone rang during one of those!)
And even when they finally are home safe, the story keeps interesting, as no one of their extensive family can believe they are a love match after all …
Another good book written by Stephanie Laurens. And I am happy that I don’t have to wait very long for the third book in this series. The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae. This will be Angelica’s story and I do believe the Laird is in for some rough times with this very willfull Miss!
If you have never read a Stephanie Laurens book (which I cannot believe if you are a lover of historical romance novels, she has written so many!) what can you expect? A character driven book, not really easy to read fast because of the language, she tends to use long words and descriptions, and a lot of thinking by her main characters. But the story is entertaining, and you will like if not love the main characters. She writes strong heroes and heroines, and I love it that most of them appear in the other books she writes as well. Of course there are some good love scenes, an adventure and a slow bonding between the main couple.