The Reckless Bride
by Stephanie Laurens
I have always enjoyed Stephanie Laurens' world. When I first started reading romance, it annoyed me to no end that authors would create these fabulous characters that I fell in love with and never saw again. When I finally got introduced to Ms. Laurens I felt like I had found my nirvana. Here were these wonderful families and friendships that I get to keep revisiting without having to read the same book over and over. I suppose The Reckless Bride was meant to show me that too much of a good thing can ruin it for you.
The "Black Cobra Quartet" revolves around four soldiers whose mission is to deliver to England a letter that provides incontestable proof against the villain known as Black Cobra. They were each given their own instructions on how to get back to England. Only one has the true original while the others have copies. The Reckless Bride is the fourth installment in the series and features Rafe Carstairs and Loretta Michelmarsh.
Rafe's journey brings him into Buda just in time to stop four men out to harm Loretta's aunt. The ladies have been looking for a guide and a guard for the next part of their journey, while Rafe and his partner need a disguise. They decide to travel together to satisfy both needs.
For me, the most difficult part of this book was the lack of depth in the characters. For three-quarters of the book, there are only six major characters. I would have expected that with only six characters to explore Ms. Laurens would have made me love all of them. Three of them are completely glossed over, with no personality to speak of, and Loretta's aunt is only slightly more expounded upon. Even Rafe and Loretta, the hero and heroine themselves were uninteresting and pretty one-dimensional, despite spending most of the book with them. The overall effect being that I really didn't care about the characters or the story.
But then, Ms. Laurens decided, in the last quarter of the book, that she was going to bring all of her past characters into the storyline. The Cynsters, along with their friend Chillingworth and the entire Bastion Club all come back to help solve the mystery of the Black Cobra. With the four leads from Black Cobra and their boss, that brings the total to 18 strong male leads. Now, obviously, Ms. Laurens couldn't spend too much time on the character development of all 18 men, but there was none. So, if you haven't been following her series I don't know how you would know what was going on.
I will admit that I have not been reading the series to date, so that could have something to do with my lack of connection to the storyline. If you are going to read this book, you absolutely have to read the previous ones in the series. If you have been following the series you will want to wrap up the mystery of the Black Cobra. But, if you are just looking for a good read, pass on The Reckless Bride.
“The final installment in the Black Cobra Quartet ”
November 2010, 464 pages
He races to complete their mission against escalating odds--his task made more perilous when he loses his heart. She's determined to defy convention and live a solitary life--until she tastes the reckless pleasure found only in his arms.
Drawn together by fate, united by fiery passion, they pursue their shared destiny...one they'll live to see only if they unmask the Black Cobra.