The Untamed Bride
Stephanie Laurens
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Buy *The Untamed Bride (Black Cobra Quartet)* by Stephanie Laurens online

The Untamed Bride (Black Cobra Quartet)
Stephanie Laurens
448 pages
October 2009
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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It's another Stephanie Laurens novel, and if you've read her books before, you know what to expect. Her heroes and heroines are generally appealing characters; their romances aren't beset with misunderstandings, hatreds and problems but are generally smoothly done with any problems arising from external events. Such is the case in The Untamed Bride, the first in the new "Black Cobra Quartet," about four army officers traveling back to England from India with evidence against a well-connected Englishman in India.

The hero of this first book is Colonel Derek Delborough, a man who has lived the army life for years - he fought at Waterloo before joining the East India Company - who hasn't really thought much about his future. But as he reaches port in England while carrying his copy of the evidence, a letter in a scroll-holder, he finds that he has unexpectedly been tasked to accompany a woman, a friend of his aunt's, to the North.

Miss Duncannon won't take no for an answer, and when she saves Del's life, she is drawn into the deadly game of hide-and-seek as he tries to keep himself and her safe while he delivers the evidence to Dalziel, the spymaster. But the two can't travel in each other's company for long without finding an attraction building between them. Will it come to anything?

One notable aspect of The Untamed Bride, putting aside the central romance, is its rather large cast of characters. Laurens appears to have included almost everyone from her previous novels in this one - the Cynsters and others - and for this reader, it's just too busy. There are an awful lot of previous books and an awful lot of previous husbands and wives, and they serve to detract from the story. I can't work out who's who anyway, and when there are over a dozen men, all manly and heroic, jostling for space on the pages, it becomes a bit much.

I also find the writing style in the sex scenes a bit disjointed.

We start a new paragraph for each sentence.

Every time.

It's irritating.

As usual, the story is more to the fore than the historical setting, although generally the setting is reasonably portrayed. The language occasionally slips into more American phrasing, and (despite what the author says) I'm not entirely sure that the behavior of hero and heroine is entirely accurate. Still, these books leave the reader with a positive feeling about the couple, and they are a great deal better than many others of this genre, if rather samey after a while.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2010

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