All About Love
by Stephanie Laurens, historical (2001)
Avon, $6.99, ISBN 0-380-81201-0


Memo

From: General S Laurens

To: Monotone Cynster

Mr Cynster,

Your newest role is Alasdair Cynster, who understandably prefers to be known to all as Lucifer. The new story is called All About Love, and this one will defuse all the stupid critics like that Mrs Giggles who keep saying we recreate the same story again and again. In a brand new infusion of originality, we have you and Monochrome Linda (her role is Phyllida Tallent this time around) meeting each other over a murder.

Yep, unlike your previous roles where you refuse to marry because you hate sappy things like love, you refuse to marry because you hate sappy things like love. So you run to the countryside, where everyone knows it's the safest sanctuary from bluestockings. Unlike your role as Gabriel, of course, for that man ran to a different countryside, so they can't say we aren't original here. You stumble upon the dead body of your friend Horatio (both of you are good buddies with scholarly interest for gems and diamonds), and got knocked cold when Phyllida, who stumbles upon the body earlier, knocks something heavy down on you. Accidentally. Isn't that cute? Ha ha. All those readers will giggle over this.

They will also love the subversive way we include all those familiar elements in a way readers will never notice. Nobody will know the absent-minded heroine's father, or the stupid crybaby best friend of hers who left some incriminating letters in a table Horatio bought from the father of the ninny. They may say your Lucifer is just like every other heroine of ours, free from insecurity and arrogant, but we'll tell them to stop picking on trivial matters.

I mean, we cater to the lowest denominator in entertainment, you know? If they laugh and keep buying, hell, we'll keep them coming. Besides, they can't deny this story is less tired than the last story. We have some fun dialogues and a rather romantic declaration of love from you. Even if, of course, the show of schmaltz is completely out of your ultra arrogant character, but who the hell's complaining? (That Mrs Giggles don't count.)

We have fun, we have hot love scenes, we have the feisty heroine saying no and no and no. I'm sure Monochrome Linda has perfected that art by now - after six instalments, she'd better! - and she has better also known the barging-in-the-hero's-investigation drill by heart by now too.

We know how it's done. We play safe. As long as they buy it in spades, who gives a toss what snobby critics say? They aren't the ones paying! Hahahahaha!

General S Laurens

PS: Re your resignation - FORGET IT! You think we will retire this lucrative line? Dream on! We have the cousins, the twins, the in-laws... all requiring you to play the same old hero drill you know so well by now. And pass this message to Linda too. Watch out, world. We aren't just a force, we are now FRANCHISING! Bwahahahahahahahahaha!

Rating: 76


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