Thursday, January 26, 2023

Stephanie Laurens - A Rake's Vow

He vowed never to marry.
She vowed no man would trap her.
But some vows are meant to be broken...
Vane Cynster greatly enjoys his dalliances, but he's always remained aloof when other Cynster men stepped up to the altar. Resolved to never submit to being leg-shackled to any woman, he believes hes found the ideal temporary refuge from London's infuriating husband hunters at Bellamy Hall. But an encounter with irresistible Patience Debbington has his head—and his heart—spinning...and soon he has more than mere seduction on his mind.
But Patience is not about to succumb to arrogant, presumptuous Vane's sensuous propositions. Certainly his kisses leave her weak, and his caresses leave her flushed and burning with desire. But he is bound to be unfaithful—just like every other man—and despite his assurances, she will not trust the handsome, elegant rogue with her heart.
But can a promise to resist temptation stand firm when passion demands otherwise?

Comment: Last year I've read the first book in the Cynster novels, which are quite popular and one of the author's most successful work. I liked that book although it wasn't perfect, so I felt curious to keep going. I've gotten this second book and hoped for more of the same which did happen but the main characters weren't as likable to me as the ones from the other book.

In this second novel, we have the story of Vane, another one of the six older male cousins who are the central characters in the beginning of the series.
Vane wants to avoid the same fate that affected his cousin Devil, who found his bride in unusual circumstances and that is why he has avoiding riding during storms, for instance. However, one day he does get stranded and knowing aunt Minnie lives nearby and having always been fond of her, he seeks temporary shelter in her house. As soon as he arrives he sees a lady looking for something beneath a windowsill and when she turns around, he is smitten. Aunt Minnie always has a full house, of relatives and connections, and he knows he will find out who this woman is, but the longer he stays, the more devoted he feels to Patience, his aunt's niece...will he convince her they would be a perfect match or her wariness of men of leisure be too much to win her favor?

As I expected, this story develops in the same way and style as the first one. With this I mean it's a quiet story with some mild mystery ongoing - someone is stealing small inconsequential things in Minnie's house and most of the guests seem to blame Gerrard, Patience's younger brother, he is 17 and at considered to be at an age to amuse himself with pranks - and a central romance between Vane and Patience, the same method seen in the previous book. I can only assume most books in the series will have similar plots and formulas.

I think the formula works and allows the author to develop things in a steady and relatable manner, making it seem as if the characters are taking their time to act and think about their actions. This also means it becomes easier to think time is passing by and interactions help create an opinion, so if we see them having conversations, thoughts about one another and such, the connection they are creating seems more believable and when the HEA comes, it will feel emotionally stronger.

For me, the problem here is that I wasn't as invested in these characters as I was in the first book. Vane is pretty much a copy of Devil and this isn't to be a surprise, all cousins are made to look like they're alpha males with self confidence and arrogance, but they cherish their family and those who are part of their sphere of influence. One might see them as being too controlling and influential but that is obviously part of the allure. But Vane considers himself to be a great catch and when he starts thinking Patience is his choice, he acts in ways that made me think him of being conceited.

I expected this, so I wasn't too concerned for I was looking for to see how the author would "humble him" so that the romance would be more balanced. The problem is that Patience wasn't the heroine I imagined... I did like how cautious she was at first, thinking of Vane as being someone too out of her expectations, plus she had seen how her parent's marriage crumbled because her father didn't love her mother the same way and she wishes to remain independent and love free. I did like this aspect of her character and how she seemed to be firm in her wants.

Of course, we wouldn't have a romance without compromise and a change in both their attitudes but I was a little disappointed by how Patience saw her relationship with Vane as soon as she realized she was attracted to him. She felt like "experimenting" because he was a rake and they could just be close without having to marry or anything. I can understand the logic but the romance reader in me was disenchanted because I wanted her to try to stay away for longer or perhaps she would see he wasn't as bad as that in a different way. Their relationship felt very silly from a certain point on.

Anyway, things progressed in a more traditional way after a while and the HEA being more than obvious,the focus would also be on the plot and the case of the thieving, as well as exposing the error which was to think Gerrard was the prankster everyone believed him to be. I liked how certain things were developed and how some characterization of secondary characters was hinted at, I bet it will be important in future books. 

Still, all things together made for a decent story but I kind of wished for more and in the end, the romance wasn't as amazing. I will probably read the next one some day... I will want to read the first six books at least, perhaps as a whole they will be more than acceptable.
Grade: 6/10


  1. Series that go on so long, always have wildly different ratings for me. I did like this one but it's tough to vary the story and characters enough to pop from the series. I think I've read up to book 6 in this and I just checked and there are 32 books now!

    1. Hi! Yes, it seems it's quite long... with multiple cousins and family friends and brothers or sisters in law, then the children... I have set my bar at 6, the first main male cousins. After that I'll see... after all, it does seem the formula is quite repetitive.