The Promise in a Kiss, by Stephanie Laurens

2017-04-03-the-promise-in-a-kiss-by-stephanie-laurens
It's been a few months, so it's time for another attempt in my ongoing (and frequently unsuccessful) search for historical romance novelists whose work I actually like. Sadly, if her 2001 novel The Promise in a Kiss is any indication, Stephanie Laurens is considerably closer to the dreadful Jane Feather than Georgette Heyer.

The Promise in a Kiss is book number eight in the seemingly interminable Cynster Family Saga, and features the romance between Sebastian and Helena (eventual parents to Sylvester, the protagonist of the first Cynster novel). It's 1783, and Helena is a lovely young Frenchwoman determined to marry a weak man who will allow her some independence. Powerful and manipulative, Sebastian is the opposite of what she's looking for. They're wildly attracted to one another, but Helena's shadowy guardian has his own schemes in the works.

Taken at face value, The Promise in a Kiss is a bog-standard C-grade romance novel. There's a lot of purple prose, loads of anachronisms, and the story relies upon some plot contrivances that are as stupid as they are far-fetched. There's decent chemistry between the two protagonists, but seriously: 99% of this novel could have been churned out by a machine. There's only one notable thing about this story [Spoilers]: in the context of the larger series, Sebastian eventually cheats on Helena, creating a son. I was far too bored and irritated by this book to read the novel in which the extramarital affair occurs, but I strongly feel that eventual infidelity should not be the only thing making your romance novel even remotely memorable.
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Posted by: Julianka

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