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The Ideal Bride [Mass Market Paperback]

Stephanie Laurens
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 10 2005 Cynster Novels (Book 12)

Aristocratic, elegant, and effortlessly charming, Michael Anstruther-Wetherby is a man destined for power. With his close connections to the influential Cynster family, Michael's future in Parliament appears assured, except that he lacks the single most important element of success: a wife.

Driven to seek a gently bred young lady, he discovers such a paragon. But there is an obstacle in his path: her beautiful, strong-minded young aunt, Caroline Sutcliffe.

A woman of style and status, Caro will not sacrifice her cherished niece to an unhappy marriage. However, Michael suddenly has his eye on Caro herself. But danger is stalking Caroline Sutcliffe. It will take great courage to protect her -- and every ounce of Michael's seductive charm to convince her that becoming his bride will bring her all her heart desires ... and more.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Laurens's newest romantic offering, set in early 19th-century London, possesses two of her trademarks—coolly confident characters and plentiful and graphic sex scenes—but it lacks the fire and feisty humor of her earlier works (All About Passion, etc.). Once readers encounter Laurens's protagonists, it's clear why. A self-possessed young widow, Caro Sutcliffe, whose late husband was an ambassador, and a calculating political player, Michael Anstruther-Wetherby, are adept at diplomacy; they know who to align themselves with, how to manage the people around them and what to say in every situation. Unlike the protagonists in Laurens's previous novels, Caro and Michael hardly ever lose control of their emotions, which makes them seem more like marionettes than people. When Michael sets his sights on marrying Caro's 19-year-old niece, Elizabeth, who's actually in love with somebody else, Caro intervenes not by confronting him but by attending a number of social gatherings and instructing Elizabeth to behave in ways unbefitting a politician's wife. Caro's plan works, but she soon finds that she's become the object of Michael's pursuit. Laurens stuffs the story with sex scenes, but her second-by-second analyses of every kiss and caress brings new meaning to the word tedious. Her overblown metaphors also detract from the sensuality of these scenes ("she was dimly aware when he reached his own limit and release caught him, racked him, then the storm rolled on and he lay beside her on that golden shore"). A well-executed mystery subplot involving attempts on Caro's life lends some zest to this offering, but not enough to satisfy fans of Laurens's popular Cynster novels.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"'marvellous...' Cathy Kelly" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not her best effort - but still good! April 30 2004
Format:Hardcover
Setting - Eyeworth Manor, near Fritham in New Forest, Hampshire, 1825 --- For fans of Laurens earlier Cynster novels this one features Michael Anstruther-Wetherby, who at 33 is a rising member of Parliament -- a man who clearly has a very promising future, quite possibly destined for greatness but insiders confided to him that advancement would be conditional upon him acquiring a wife. Handsome, well-born and naturally charming he is matchmaking mama's dream, especially with his connections to the wealthy and influential Cynster family -- his sister is married to Devil Cynster, the Duke of St. Ives (DEVIL'S BRIDE).
Knowing that he needs a perfect wife, who would be politically astute, Michael has looks over his acquaintances and decides that 19 year old, Elizabeth Mollston would make a perfectly acceptable wife and helpmate as she came from a politically involved family herself. The only problem is that Elizabeth is in love with another and has enlisted the help of her Aunt Caro Sutcliffe, to help her in discouraging him from declaring himself. It doesn't take long before Michael discovers what that Caro has been 'managing' him and that it is Caro, the very accomplished foreign ministers widow, who would be the perfect helpmate. Only Caro, whose previous marriage to a much older man, is adamant to remain 'The Merry Widow' and NEVER intends to marry again. Michael has to use all of his abundant diplomatic charm to convince her to become his wife. At the same time, in a secondary sub-plot, and after numerous 'accidents', he must discover who is trying to kill her.
While this latest entry has abundant and graphic sexual encounters, it seemed to me that Laurens came up a bit short in the fire and feisty humor department.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Super-sexy historical thriller March 26 2004
Format:Hardcover
Michael Anstruther-Wetherby has a challenge. There's an opportunity to move into the British cabinet, but only if he can do so as a married man--married to the right kind of woman. Because in 1825 England, women control society and can make or break a man's career. Michael identifies a candidate, Elizabeth, the daughter of a neighbor, and moves in. But his plans don't take into account the schemes of Elizabeth's aunt Caro. Elizabeth has fallen in love with another man and begs Caro to help her fend Michael off. Caro is willing and her plan works--sort of. Because Michael is soon convinced that Elizabeth isn't his perfect bride after all--Caro is.
Caro has never really recovered from her marriage to an aging diplomat. Although she was successful as a society hostess and made her late husband even more powerful, she has always known that he married her only for her political insights and not out of love. As a widow, Caro has a certain power--power she's sworn never to give up by marrying another. Michael may be sexy and strong, she might even consider an affair with him, but marriage--never. Of course, Michael isn't going to give up on his goals. But he'll take whatever path comes open and an affair sounds like the perfect first step. Things really get complicated, though, when Michael discovers that someone is trying to kill Caro.
Author Stephanie Laurens writes a steamy-sexy story. Caro is an interesting damaged character--filled with strength but still wounded from her former marriage. Michael is a fine alpha hero, fiercely protective of his woman and forceful in his lovemaking. Fans of Laurens' books will find a lot to like here, including appearances from some of the Cynster men who were heros in earlier novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars READ WITH VERVE AND ELOQUENCE March 5 2004
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Tony and Olivier Award winner Clare Higgins brings verve and eloquence to her performance of the latest from Australian romance novelist, Stephanie Laurens. Those familiar with the author's Cynster novels will find "The Ideal Bride" an entertaining listen as Laurens mixes mystery with love.
Our hero is Michael Anstruther-Wetherby, a headed-for-great-things politico, who is used to getting what he wants when he wants it. In this case, realizing that a perfect wife will be an invaluable asset to his career, that is what he wants.
Elizabeth, a lovely 19-year-old is the bride he wants. However, there are two obstacles in his pursuit - Elizabeth is in love with someone else, and her very attractive widowed aunt, Caro Sutcliffe, is definitely opposed to such a union.
Caro's late husband was a politician so she well knows the rigors of being a politician's better half and she wants none of that for her beloved niece. The two women devise a plan to convince Michael that Elizabeth is not a suitable mate - the young woman will behave inappropriately at public functions.
Sounds like a good idea. However, their stratagem backfires - quite romantically.
Mix in some murder, an unknown enemy, and you have a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars VERVE AND ELOQUENCE IN THIS READING March 5 2004
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Tony and Olivier Award winner Clare Higgins brings verve and eloquence to her performance of the latest from Australian romance novelist, Stephanie Laurens. Those familiar with the author's Cynster novels will find "The Ideal Bride" an entertaining listen as Laurens mixes mystery with love.
Our hero is Michael Anstruther-Wetherby, a headed-for-great-things politico, who is used to getting what he wants when he wants it. In this case, realizing that a perfect wife will be an invaluable asset to his career, that is what he wants.
Elizabeth, a lovely 19-year-old is the bride he wants. However, there are two obstacles in his pursuit - Elizabeth is in love with someone else, and her very attractive widowed aunt, Caro Sutcliffe, is definitely opposed to such a union.
Caro's late husband was a politician so she well knows the rigors of being a politician's better half and she wants none of that for her beloved niece. The two women devise a plan to convince Michael that Elizabeth is not a suitable mate - the young woman will behave inappropriately at public functions.
Sounds like a good idea. However, their stratagem backfires - quite romantically.
Mix in some murder, an unknown enemy, and you have a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.
- Gail Cooke
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
As with all of the Cynster Novels in this series, this book is Amazing and keeps you reading from the first page to the last
Published 7 months ago by Crystal Hanson
2.0 out of 5 stars long and drawn out
As a Laurens fan I couldn't wait for this book! Well, I should have kept on waiting. Sorry to say, it took my days upon days to get throught this book. Read more
Published on May 7 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars YAWN-fest
Tedious and tired. Lots of filler. Neither of the main characters are memorable, much less likeable. Reading this book was like being tortured with boredom. Read more
Published on April 29 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing entry in the series...
I enjoyed most of the previous books in Lauren's Cynster series but was disappointed with The Ideal Bride. Read more
Published on April 5 2004 by C. McMann
1.0 out of 5 stars wooden
The Cynster series (very loosely linked!) has gone on for far too long, and the author is really repeating herself here. Read more
Published on April 2 2004 by J. Mullally
5.0 out of 5 stars A Never Miss Hit
I really enjoyed this book, the force of his feeling for the heroine was expected but was not unforgettable. Read more
Published on March 23 2004 by Erica
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the price of a hardback
I've been waiting for the Michael's story. Stephanie, it was worth the price of the hardback edition. Thank you.
Published on March 19 2004 by latenight423
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ideal Bride
I'll not take up your time by telling the story. All I will say is this is a keeper. The "older" characters from pass books make this one a delightful read.
Published on March 13 2004 by Reader in Alabama
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine romance
By 1825 everyone in the know believes that the future in Parliament is bright for rising luminary Lord Michael Anstruther-Wetherby. Read more
Published on March 2 2004 by Harriet Klausner
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