Stephanie Laurens is a prolific writer of historical romance. Her Cynster series is one of my favorite long-running romance series so I was happy to get my hands on The Lady Risks All, Ms. Laurens’ latest book.
The Lady Risks All with our hero, Lord Julian Delbraith, giving up his current life to save the family. The family has a special curse that keeps them from being able to resist gambling. One family member per generation is actually good at gambling but the rest of the members are not. Julian happens to be the one good at gambling. For many years it seemed his brother had escaped the curse until one day he committed suicide. In order to save his mother, sisters and nephew he passes them his money and he disappears from society. A couple of years later Neville Roscoe appears and opens several gambling halls. Lord Julian is no more and Neville Roscoe has taken his place.
Several doors down from Neville Roscoe’s London residence lives Miranda Clifford. Miranda has been taking care of her brother for most of her life and now that he is almost a man she is at loose ends. They live with their aunt who is an overwhelmingly strict observer of the rules. When Roderick goes missing one day their aunt will not even allow Miranda to go to the authorities for fear of scandal. Miranda has nowhere to turn but to Roscoe.
Most of Ms. Laurens book are incredibly sensual. The Lady Risks All was the same but it took forever for our couple to get anywhere. When they finally had their first kiss I looked at my kindle to see 25%. Normally that wouldn’t be too bad but in a 500 page book that is a long time to wait for some payoff. Once the deed is done there is scene after scene of lovemaking. It was all so very repetitive. I think you could have cut about 50 pages of sex alone out and there still would have been a good bit to read.
The main conflict of Roscoe and Miranda finding her brother was also kind of drawn out. The rushed through towns and along country sides for a long time before anything was resolved. When they find Roderick he is injured and there is nothing to do but take everyone off to Roscoe’s home. Roscoe’s sisters are at home planning a wedding for the youngest so he is able to spend time with his family something he never does because of his secret identity. This also allows Miranda to learn the secret of who and what he is.
Once they leave the family home, their relationship is in limbo. While he is Roscoe, he is not at the social stature to be around Miranda but if he were to become Julian he would be above her social reach. This creates quite an issue that the couple must work through. I think once the conflict of saving Roderick was past there were many, too many, pages of extra stuff that was not needed. I didn’t need to rehash the same social issue six times before I got that it stood between Roscoe and Miranda being together.
Overall, I was let down by the book. When I read the blurb I was thinking I would get a Derek Craven like book. You know the Lisa Kleypas hero that was too yummy for words? The book could have gone so many ways with a gambling hall owner but it didn’t. It was flat. There were parts that reminded me of the Cynster series but it was too long and too drawn out. I was hoping Ms. Laurens would be starting a new series I could get behind but if they books are going to be like this I am not sure I can make it through the next one. Final grade- C-
“To secure happiness in her life, it is imperative for a lady to know her own mind.”