A Secret Love
by Stephanie Laurens, historical (2000)
Avon, $6.99, ISBN 0-380-80570-7


In the sensitive, PC-landmine laden world of the online romance community, I think I may be breaching the Ye Can't Criticize An Author's Writing Style protocol by saying this, but you know what? I'll say it anyway.

Ms Laurens is on her way to becoming a one-note author. If she isn't one already. The whole Bar Cynster series, taken as whole, seems like a massive encyclopedia of Romance Clichés. Compromise, girl in boy's disguise, rakes, virginity, heroine that plays hard to get, even psychic Scots heroine, everything is more or less covered. In A Secret's Love, we this time explore Chapter 21: Girls In Boy's Disguises. How about Chapter 4: Heroine Saving Daddy's Company? We'll take a brief overview too. And I think we have some time for Chapter 6: No to Marriage, Yes to Boinking.

Does the plot matter? Plots are like window dressings in the Cynster series. This time it's Honoria playing Alathea Morwellan dressing up as a boy to visit rake Gabriel Cynster (played by Devil). She asks him to help save her daddy from some unscrupulous conmen out to fleece the Morwellan money. Let's take a leaf from Chapter 5: Hero and Heroine As Childhood Enemies and lather the lessons thick here. And oh, let's not forget the Golden Cynster Rule: Love at first sight, pursuit, she says nonono, he kisses her (mua, mua, mua!), they boink. Then it's Marry me! No! Marry me! No! time. Since Gabby will kiss her for each time he comes to her aid, Alathea eagerly reads Chapter 1: Spunky Regency Heroine Running Headlong Into Trouble so that she will get lots of kisses.

Trademark Laurens sensuality is lathered generously too. This A Secret Love recipe can serve up to five (books). Hopefully there won't be any leftovers of this tasteless gruel of a cliché soup for book six. Either way, this whole thing is pretty palatable the first time around, but I won't stick around for a second helping, thanks very much.

Rating: 62


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