Books I Read: Vol 40, Nov 12

Nov 12, 2017 | Books I Read


Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurnes | The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Ghurke




Devil’s Bride

Author: Stephanie Laurens

Series: Cynster #1

Tags: historical romance, Dukes!, accidental ruination, hiding from the storm, murder mystery

Format: audiobook

Rating: meh.


Oh, heavens to Betsy! This book is very, shall we say, dramatic. In fact, I can’t really tell you much about the plot, since there didn’t seem to be much more than flashing eyes and dark brows and dense shadows and tilted chins and lots and lots of steaminess.

Our heroine stumbles upon a dying young man. The Duke was passing by, and recognizes the lad as his cousin. The three take shelter in a cottage while the storm blows over; the lad dies. The Duke decides to a) marry that chick he just met, and b) avenge the death of his cousin in the space of a minute. The next bajillion pages after that (IDK, it felt so long) is him accomplishing both tasks.


CONFLICTS ARE: she doesn’t want to marry him for, like, reasons, and he is a terrible detective.

Other than the very real concern that he just kidnaps her and moves her into his house immediately after the cottage scene, she doesn’t seem to be very clear in her reasons of refusing him. I mean, they just yell at each other and then make out and then yell at each other some more. At one point she is chasing him, which is only an excuse to have many tension filled almost-sex-scenes.

Meanwhile, the Cynster family try to figure out who killed their cousin without the benefit of deductive reasoning. Devil (the Duke) keeps on thinking to himself, “there was something weird about the murder that I was supposed remember, but I can’t think of it.”

OH, like HOW HE DIED?? This kid is shot in a particular way that one person of his acquaintance knows how to do.

But thinking is hard!


This book was written in 1999. I don’t usually read books written earlier than 2010, and boy do the years make a difference.

Whenever people make fun of romance novels, the words “throbbing member” come up. I have never in my life read a line with those exact words, but in starting this novel, I have heard “throbbing staff” quite a few times.

Oh goodness.

So here’s where we get to why it was published: steaminess radar off the charts.

They are doing it, like, all the time. And this is coming from a person who reads romance novels, and the occasional erotica. ALL THE TIME. Long sex scenes, lots of tension, lots of flowery language.

At one point I actually felt bad for the characters. I was listening to their big first full on sex scene while running errands, so I kept cutting off the narration to go into a store. After the fifth or sixth time, I felt like the characters were going to stop and address me, “hey, Wendy! Can you just wait five minutes and let us FINISH??”


It’s weird. I read Stephanie Laurens before, and for some reason I ended up skipping them the last time I went A-Z in audiobooks. The book I read just seemed a little too serious, with too many characters I don’t know, and, I don’t know, the covers look weird.

Now that I am back at the L’s in Overdrive, I gave Laurens another shot, and oh, goodness gracious. This melodrama, man. It is goopy with melodrama.

So here I am, going down this road. I’ll probably continue until I get too sick of her writing… which will probably be soon, let’s face it. Oh, dear. There are 12 Laurens audiobooks in the OverDrive collection. Wish me luck!


In summary, this book is good for someone who wants some steamy scenes in the most melodramatic flowery way possible.

NOT GOOD FOR: debunking stereotypes of romance novels, reading out loud.

ALSO GOOD FOR: reading aloud silly sex scenes.

The Truth About Love and Dukes

Author: Laura Lee Guhrke

Series: Dear Lady Truelove #1

Tags: historical romance, Dukes!, stick in the mud, businesswoman, suffragist!, love by blackmail, Victorian, gossip newspaper

Format: audiobook

Rating: yay!


Guhrke writes late Victorian, which always kind of ruins it for me. New fangled inventions like cars and trains and women’s rights… And I have no idea what their dresses look like.

I hated the other two books I read of hers with a passion, so I was reticent. But I couldn’t pass up a businesswoman plotline.


I liked it! Our heroine was fun, the hero was solemn in a way that wasn’t annoying. It’s very much a Pride and Prejudice story to the point where certain phrases sounded oddly familiar. If you have memorized every word of P & P, you can easily continue the line.

“I did it for you and you alone.” …dearest, loveliest Elizabeth.


She is a radical-minded scandal sheets newspaper publisher, with a Dear Abby type pseudonymed advice column on love. He is a straight and narrow duke, whose mother wrote into the advice column and ran away with her painter lover. He blackmails our heroine into making her attempt to change his mother’s mind. They have to spend a lot of time together, and wouldn’t you know it? They fall in love.



Ah, Love via Blackmail: one of the most popular morally icky romance novel tropes. It’s right up there with Stockholm Syndrome, Making a Secret Bet, and Plotting to Betray the Lover.

I don’t even care any more. Let’s kidnap the shit out of our romance characters. Everybody kidnap everybody. Lying to your lover is the best foundation for a relationship.


I love my stick-in-the-muds. He was suitably stick-y, but a little slow to the uptake when it comes to women’s rights.

Women have minds of their own, and don’t necessarily need you to protect them.



Oh, and Ms. I’m So Radical I March In Suffragist Parades: have you ever asked yourself what else you could do for your cause? Stick in the mud had to walk you through talking to an MP about it, so I guess just marching is pretty much the extent of your involvement.

Man, if only there was something else you could do! If only you had a large set of tools at your disposal that would help you better spread the cause. Like maybe printing presses, women writers, and a wide, mostly female readership??? Have you not thought of that AT ALL?

Then she gets married and she has no need for money anymore. Perfect time to start that radical newspaper for women’s rights, right?


Ah, sigh.


I would be interested to see what the next ones are about. I do love the idea of an advice columnist. Maybe I will read her new ones.


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