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4.5 out of 5 stars23
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 2 December 2002
I find Stephanie Laurens Bar Cynster group fantastic and cannot put their books down and until they are good and done, then I find myself going back to reread them later. 'The Promise in a Kiss' is no different. This one takes you back to the beginning with Helena and Sebastian. Of course you know how it turns out because there is Sylvester or 'Devil', however, that does not stop you from enjoying the steps taken for this incredible set of men to come to fruition. Fantastic if you are a historical romance buff he likes a little spice added in to the mix.
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on 8 March 2003
Confession: I have never read any of Stephanie Laurens' Bar Cynster series. I liked a couple of her other regency romances and decided to give this series a try. The Promise in a Kiss was written last, but is a prequel to all the other books, so it seemed to make sense to read it first. And that would have been okay, except that Laurens has a family tree right at the very start of the book. From that I learned two things which made this a doomed romance from the start.
One, Sebastian, the Duke of St Ives, has an affair resulting in an illegitimate child while he's married to Helena. So how can I believe in Helena and Sebastian's love affair after discovering that? I can see why people who have read the entire series also have a problem taking this book seriously.
Second, the family tree shows Sebastian as dead. Now this, I expect, applies to the later books in the Cynster series - but still, even before I've *read* his story, I know that Sebastian dies within about 30 years of the end of his book, leaving his Helena a widow.
It's difficult to get facts like these out of your mind when reading a romance novel, let me tell you!
Anyway, the book itself. Laurens is no Balogh or Beverley, my favourites of this genre, and she does tend to go overboard on the intimacy/sensuality in a manner which simply isn't right for the period, but it's done tastefully. Sebastian and Helena met for the first time when she was seventeen and he stole a kiss. They meet again six years later and know each other instantly. Helena thinks that Sebastian is a confirmed bachelor and enlists his help in finding a suitable husband; he knows that she's going to be his wife and he uses every trick he knows to persuade her...
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on 21 December 2007
I had trouble getting past Sebastian's future infidelity revealed in the Bar Cynster series. At first, it didn't really play a big part in how I viewed the story. The beginning is captivating and holds a great deal of promise for the rest of the book. But towards the end, when the honesty and unfailing devotion come into play, it gets a little hard to swallow. I think Helena and Sebastian would have been better served to be written with less emphasis put on the 'powerful' nature of their characters. The reader expects their love to be just as powerful as they are themselves, and that characteristic is in direct opposition with a future already revealed. I am a fan of Laurens, and have read the entire Cynster series. Aside from the inconsistencies between this and the later novels, this is not one of the better books she has written. I found myself easily putting it down at the slightest distraction, skipping paragraphs and wondering how far ahead I could go without losing the train of the story.
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on 27 April 2004
This is my 2nd time reading Stephanie Laurens. I vaguely remember readinganother one of her books before, but it was forgetable. I decided to giveher books a try again, since so many readers obviously love her...
I was not disappointed. The Promise in a Kiss is definitely a greatread...I like the idea of two powerful people in a power tassle, bothattracted towards each other, and yet, unsure and unwilling to relinquishtheir power to each other.
It is exceedingly refreshing to read about a proud, french aristocrat whoknows her own worth. I can imagine her growing old - she'll be one ofthose powerful dowagers you hear about, charming, yet utterly in controlof herself and the people around her. Managing, yet done with subtlety.
I am definitely eager to read more about the Cynster family. Altho Iconfess seeing the family chart at the beginning makes me wonder how itcould be that the Duke ended up having an affair and another child withhis mistress. Especially since in this story, we are witnesses to theferocity of his love towards his Duchess. I'll have to read the rest ofthe Cynster series to find out...maybe the author will find some reasonthat can exonerate the Duke. But I for one am never a willing believer inadultery in a marriage, especially when two people claim to passionatelyin love.
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on 16 February 2013
A kiss is exchanged and she saves him from being discovered.

Years later when Helena under the control of her controlling Guardian, Fabian, is sent to London to find a husband. She meets Sebastian Cynster again, and love and passion eventually conquer all, but not before Sebastian assists Helan in rescuing her sister from Fabian's clutches....she even gets wounded by her guardian when she puts herself between their rapiers.

This isn't the first of the Cynster novels ~and like all of them is a stand alone piece ~ it is actually the start of the Bar Cynster.

Another thorough good read, and a big fat 5 out of 5 for me, and not one to be missed.
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on 4 February 2008
I thought the characters were flat and uninteresting and the writing formulaic and uninspiring. This really wasn't worthy of Stephanie Laurens and author whom I have always enjoyed.
It isn't that the novel was bad -- which is why I suppose it got such high marks from other people; it's just that it was way too much like her previous books in the series. She seems bored with this series and should probably find something new and fresh to write about -- I'd recommend instead Tino Georgiou's brilliant novel -- The Fates -- if you missed it.
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on 12 February 2013
I enjoyed this book immensely. It fits into the series quite nicely even though it is all about how the Cynster dynasty starts and if like me you are reading the books in order you are already 7 books in about later characters, even though this is the case there is no feeling of interruption at all.

I found the story engaging and it flowed well. The characters are well rounded and interesting. Unlike a couple of others in this series which have come across as a bit formulaic this one was definitely individual.
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on 14 April 2014
I am in the middle of reading this but if it is anything like the six books about the Cynsters I know I will enjoy it. This is the seventh book in the series I have read and love the characters and following the Cynster family. I look forward to reading the rest of the series of books about the Cynster family.
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on 27 February 2013
A very good read. A first class novel. Well recommended. Stephanie Laurens never disappoints to do a good story. A writer that you look forward to the next book available.
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on 24 February 2013
This is the prelude to the Cynster series of novels.
It is a good tale and happily lacks most of the "gushing" vocabulary that mars for me Ms Laurens later books.
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