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4.2 out of 5 stars17
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 22 August 2008
What starts off as a rather slow book developed into something that was interesting and enjoyable, if flawed in places. Lady Leticia Randall's husband is murdered and her brother Justin is the only suspect - he was at the house that evening and has fled the scene, leaving behind bloodstained clothing at his rooms. Yet Leticia knows Justin wouldn't have killed Randall and so she goes for help to one man she can trust, her former lover, Christian Allardyce, the 6th Marquess of Deane.

Christian and Leticia's history is complicated. Everyone thought they would marry but twelve years before Christian went off to serve King and country and whilst he was away Leticia married Randall. They've barely seen each other since but Christian immediately comes to Leticia's aid.

As they begin to search for clues to the murder they discover that Leticia really didn't know a great deal about her husband. As his private affairs are slowly unpicked Leticia and Christian find that he is a man of many secrets and that it will take more expertise than they have to get to the bottom of them. At the same time as the search for the truth of Randall's murderer, Christian has to try to convince Leticia to trust him and to come to see that her place is by his side. But if they get too close to the truth of the murderer, might they not be risking their own safety?

This was a surprisingly long book and it moved quite slowly. The interest built step by step as the layers in the plot were brought to light. After the first few chapters the book settled into a rather uneasy format where we followed Christian and Leticia's murder investigation during the day and then spectated on their bedsport at night, then on to the next day. As the book made progress we spent more time on the investigation and less on the romance and this was rather an improvement. As far as the romance side went, it was understated in some ways as it was a rekindling of love between people who had been incredibly close in their past. The characterisation of both Christian and Leticia was sparse at times - Leticia has a temper, we learn, and Christian is very controlled and calm, but this reader never felt like she really got to know them.

Although I did enjoy this book I was rather dubious about some of the behaviour of the main characters in that historical context. The lead couple spending pretty much every night in bed in each others' houses, with Lady Randall a widow of just a few days and still theoretically in deep mourning, felt rather too unlikely. Where were all the servants in a Marquess's house who would normally have noticed this kind of thing. It appeared necessary for Laurens' romance side of the plot but it all felt a bit too modern for the Regency period.

Despite this the rest of the book was a good read and I didn't guess the murderer until the end when they were revealed. Although part of a series this book worked well on its own and set up the reader for the next and last in the series, featuring Royce Dalziel.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008
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on 2 October 2008
Having been a massive fan of Stephanie Laurens for a while I have been waiting for this book to arrive and was sadly more than a little dissapointed. After the cliffhanger intro in the previous book I had really been anticipating so much and what a let down...

I had hoped Christian and Leticia would have caught my imagination as the previous main characters in the Bastion Club novels had but they didn't at all. It was a great shame, but the back plot build up of Royce kept me reading and I will be getting the final book as I am sure many others will.

To be honest this book was a dissapointment and I had the feeling Stephanie Laurens was writing to a formula and not really investing herself in the book.Apparently the Vaux family are a bit snobby and prone to temper tantrums this point is hammered home over and over and over and over...

Out of all the Bastion Club novels this is the least interesting.
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on 29 September 2010
Christian Allardyne is the 6th member of the Bastion Club. He gets an urgent message for help from his former lover Lady Letitia Randall.

Lady Letitia's husband has been murdered in his study. The last person he was to meet that night was Letitia's brother Justin. He was admitted by the butler who is only too happy to put the blame on Justin for the murder. Letitia needs Christian's help to prove Justin didn't murder her husband.

When Christian finds Justin, he confronts him and asks who he is protecting. He was worried Letitia murdered Randall and he didn't want her being suspected of the murder so he threw suspicion on himself. They come to the conclusion Justin knows something he can't remember and must come back to London. They decide Justin should hideout with Dalziel.

However, a bigger secret is revealed when it is learned in Randall's will that he was the owner of a gaming establishments and he with the help of partners was instrumental in the lie that forced Letitia to have to marry him. With the help of other Bastion Club members, they solve Randall's murder.
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on 14 September 2008
I thought this a far better book than others in the Bastion Club series and I liked the fact that several of the members linked up to find the bad guy. But what grated - a lot - was the sheer superiority of the heroine. If I read once that the Vaux family did this or thought like this or acted like that, I read it dozens of times. Far too many! Such snobbery runs throughout the book and spoiled it a bit for me especially since the hero seemed to accept and even like this trait. I note that Vaux also don't mind having sex fairly indiscreetly but then of course, only the lower orders, the staff, are aware of it so probably doesn't count! Having said that, Stephanie Laurens knows how to wind the reader around her story and succeeds in making it a page turner. Intriguing that the remaining mystery about the secret service chief, is going to be revealed in the last book in the series.
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on 2 November 2008
I was disappointed in this book. I have agreed with other reviewers who have suggested that the quality and originality of Laurens' work has deteriorated since the glory days of the early Cynster novels but have stuck with her as I still felt the books were an enjoyable read. This one however deserves the comments I am about to level at it.

The book gets off to an extremely slow start and not enough information is given to the reader about the back story of Christian, Letitia or their previous relationship. Bottom line - by the time the romance starts to heat up you don't really understand or relate to them as characters. I fail utterly to understand Laurens' laboured points about the Vaux family - you cannot simply say to a reader that these are the family characteristics therefore they could never be guilty of murder. By the end of the first few chapters I felt that if I read the word Vaux one more time I might have to bin the book before reaching the end! I also agree with a previous reviewer that the book isn't exactly sympathetic to the strict practices of the Regency period in terms of mourning and Christian and Letitia's affair is far from discreet.

I realise all Regency romances contain an element of similarity but other authors seem able to find new and fresh ideas to bring to the stories that keep the reader engaged - Julia Quinn and Suzanne Enoch in particular are two of my favourites. There is no need to rehash the same story over and over and steamy scenes aren't enough to keep readers coming back - a lesson that Laurens needs to learn.

I have been looking forward to Dalziel's story all series so I will be buying this one, after that I am going to have to seriously think about investing any more time and money in Laurens' books. For people who are coming to this author for the first time I would recommend starting with the Cynster series, the early books of this being fantastic.

I have my fingers crossed that things will improve...
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on 20 October 2008
This book shows that Stephanie Laurens can still write a good story - it has all the elements of her earlier works. The only thing that I don't like is the pages-after-pages meaningless love scenes . I have noticed this with all her more recent books. The love scenes seems to act as the "fill-in-the-gap" to try to "tell" readers that the H/H are "in love". Personally, I would be like to read more emotionally-driven sexual tension rather than "they fall in bed together hence they're in love". I gave 3 stars because I love the murder plot and the appearance of the Bastion Club members. I have high hope that SL will put a much better effort for Royce's book.
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on 26 January 2012
This is probably my all time favorite romance novel, granted I don't read a lot of them, but this has the hottest scenes. Letitia is bold and sassy and Christian is dark and knowing. It's just too good. The mystery in it is actually really interesting and it gets better and better as the book goes on. The mystery finale was awesome, I just loved the ending, and that's hard to find! There is a lot of cooling dialogue in between the hot scenes, but I really loved this book, and am still searching for more as good!
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on 14 April 2015
Ihave found all the bastion club novels really exciting reading especially the edge of desire
the author includes intrigue murder and love together to make really exciting light reading
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on 16 February 2013
I think Stephanie Laurens might well become one of my favourite authors ~obviously not No. 1 that distinction goes older author ... I really love her easy style of penning a romantic novel.

The 7th one in the Bastion Club stable, it still stands alone and was a thoroughly good read, with no need to have read any of the others before .... just as well, I have only just read one other in the series ... actually only 2 from Stephanie Laurens so far anyway LOL.

Again, it's steamy, and again, I loved it ~a thoroughly good read~ trust me I've read a LOT of romantic historical novels over the years.
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on 10 December 2013
If you like Stephanie Laurens these are the books to get as the story line is great, a most get
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