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on 6 March 2013
I am still not sick of these books, she writes so beautifully that I am completely enthralled and just want to learn more about the loves, lives and characters in her literary world.

This time the story of Gerrard Debbington (Brother of Patience Cynster - wife of Vane) a celebrated landscape painter, who also dabbled in portraits of people very close to him, but not any other in the ton, despite many requests to do so) who is lured down to Cornwall by Lord Tregonning to be the only person to paint the famous (and closely guarded gardens) at Hellebore Hall. All he needs to do in return for free access is to paint what he sees in his Lordships daugher, Jacequeline face.

The book weaves together the reason for the two murders, and why another murder is attempted. The killer is unmasked, and all becomes clear at the end in regards to the Truth About Love - be it the right or the wrong kind. Completely enchanting story that kept me guessing until the end a 4 star rating.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 February 2015
"The Truth about love" is a 19th century romance and detective story in the author's "Bar Cynster" series, and first introduces as a supporting character the gentleman detective Barnaby Adair who goes on to have a sub-series of his own. The hero is commissioned to paint a portrait of the heroine but soon finds that, with Barnaby Adair's help, his real task is to prove her innocent of two murders.

There is a combined family tree and list of novels in the series at the front of most of the books, which lists this one as number 12 in the main Cynster series.

If you add the prequel novel The Promise in a Kiss (Bar Cynster) which is set a generation before, this would be the thirteenth Cynster novel. However, if you list the whole lot in chronological order this would be number sixteen, because "The Truth about love" is set in 1831 and the three books of the "Cynster Sisters trilogy" which on the author's own list are numbers 16 to 18, are set in 1829, some two years before this one.

The hero of this story is Gerrard Debbington, brother of Patience who was the heroine of the second Cynster novel, "A Rake's Vow: Number 2 in series (Bar Cynster). An member of the aristocracy by birth he is an artist by choice, this being one of comparatively few occupations which gentlemen were permitted at the time, provided they wre not doing anything so vulgar as using it as the main means to actually earn a living.

Gerrard's main interest is painting landscapes, but he has also painted a few portraits of family and friends, and these were sufficiently popular to make him very sought after as a portrait painter to the "ton" as high society was known.

At the start of this book, Gerrard is approached by agents acting for Lord Tregonning who wants him to paint a portrait of his only child, his daughter Jacqueline. Ordinarily he would refuse a commission to paint someone other than a friend or family member, but in this case there is a very powerful lure - the opportunity to also paint the gardens, whose beauty is legendary, of Lord Tregonning's seat at Hellebore Hall near Falmouth.

Fortunately the terms of the commission allow Garrard the opportunity to bring a friend, and even more fortunately, the friend he brings is an amateur detective, the Hon. Barnaby Adair. Because soon after they arrive in Cornwall it becomes apparent that something is seriously amiss at Hellebore Hall ...

I liked the main characters in this book, the ongoing romantic tension building between them, and the fact that much of the story is told with a great deal of dry wit and humour which was more than a little amusing. The detective story is interesting and the mix of romance and thriller is well managed.

There are, however, some glaring differences between the way characters in the novel behave and speak and the historical period in which the story is set.

Well-brought up young ladies of the ton, as high society was called in the early nineteenth century, did not generally behave the way that many of those in this series and most of Stephanie Laurens' other recent books do. In particular they rarely abandoned their virginity before marriage as readily as these characters do, not least because an unmarried young lady of the early nineteenth century who enthusiastically jumped into the hero's bed would have no reliable means of avoiding pregnancy. If they did, and their fathers or brothers realised what was going on, the most likely outcomes would be a very hasty wedding or a duel.

But overall I enjoyed this book, and most of those who gained pleasure from the author's other books will like this one.

For reference, the Cynster series to date consists of

1) Devil's Bride (Bar Cynster) (Devil and Honoria)
2) A Rake's Vow: Cynster Family Series, Book 2 (Cynster Novels) (Vane and Patience, sister of the hero of this book)
3) "Scandal's Bride" (Richard/Scandal and Catriona)
4) "A Rogue's proposal" (Harry/Demon and Felicity)
5) "A Secret Love" (Rupert/Gabriel and Alathea)
6) "All about Love" (Alistair/Lucifer and Phyllida)
7) "All About Passion" (Lord Chillingworth gets Rachel for Leah)
8) "On a wild night" (Amanda Cynster and Martin)
9) "On a wicked dawn" (Amelia Cynster and Luc)
10) "The Perfect Lover" (Simon Cynster and Porchia)
11) "The Ideal Bride" (Martin and Caro)
12) This book, "The Truth about love" (Gerrard and Jacqueline)
13) "What price love?" (Dillon and Priscilla)
14) "The Touch of Innocence" (Charlie and Sarah)
15) "Temptation and Surrender" (Jonas Tallent and Emily)
16) "Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue" (of Heather Cynster)
17) "In pursuit of Eliza Cynster" (Eliza)
18) "The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae" (Angelica)
19) "And then she fell" (Henrietta)
20) "The taming of Ryder Cavanaugh" (by Mary Cynster)

As mentioned above there is also a prequel "The Promise in a Kiss" which tells the story of the romance between Devil Cynster's father and mother, and Barnaby Adair, who appears in this book and the next two also goes on to have his own sub-series

Barnaby Adair's investigations are:

* Cornwall, June 1831 (this book)
* Newmarket, August 1831 ("What Price Love?")
* Somerset, February 1833 ("The Taste of Innocence")

and in his own series,

* London November 1835, ("Where The Heart Leads: Number 1 in series (From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair)")
* London, October 1837, ("The Masterful Mr Montague: Number 2 in series (From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair)")
* Somerset, March 1838 ("Loving Rose: The Redemption of Malcolm Sinclair: Number 3 in series (From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair)").
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on 29 August 2009
This was another great novel in the Cynster line, a well developed plot, good characters, a mystery, an atmospheric site, an innocent damsel, two despicable villains, some sensitively written love scenes, a fitting denouement, a fitting final battle with the villains, a hero wins the day and all live happily ever after. introduction to a character who we will meet in future books assuring us that the Bar Cynster will live to fight another day, all in all just what the doctor ordered.
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on 15 July 2010
having met gerrard debbington and his friend barnabyin a previous novel it was nice to have a book about them. as a leading ton painter gerrard is employed by Lord Tregonning to paint his daughter and in true Bar Cynster fashion we a given a delightful love story. but we are also taken on a murder mystery adventure which has a great ending and with many red herrings i didnt figure out who it was. another excellent story
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on 14 November 2013
I have read these books from the first and enjoyed all of them until this one - usually I can't put the books down but this one was a real struggle to finish.

I am hoping it is just a blip and the next one will be better.
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on 25 April 2012
This book pushes the bounds of 'believability', even for this genre. It has the usual elements of romance fiction, the hero, the damsel in distress and all the other ancillary characters. But the plan to rescue the damsel in distress is for the hero to paint a picture, which will prove to the world that she isn't a murderess. As storylines go, this one is bordering on ludicrous.
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on 12 December 2013
Have just started reading this series and must admit to being hooked what I call my light reading, and I like books where I know the characters and how they relate to each other
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on 16 December 2012
Well written - easy read - entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable, as each book unfolds we also meet and catch p with some of the characters in previous Cynster novels.
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on 14 August 2015
The Truth About Love, was another fine example of Stephanie Laurens wonderful Romance and intrigue, with the same colourful characters we have seen before.
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on 24 September 2013
I have now read the first 12 novels in this series and find them easy to read, pick up and put down at any time. They melt my stress away!!
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