by Stephanie Laurens

September 2005
ISBN: 0-06-059331-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Stephanie Laurensí readers know what to expect - a well-written historical romance with excellent character development and a fast-paced plot. Ballroom to bedroom, Ms. Laurens crafts her novels with an exquisite attention to detail and a warmth that invites the reader behind closed doors. Her Cynster series is the gold standard of this genre, and she has now reached the same heights with The Bastion Club.

A Fine Passion is the best book in the series to date. It contains all of the aspects that we require in a top-notch historical romance - and then provides even more substance. The characters linger long after the final page is reached and may prove to be the epitome of hero and heroine in this genre.

We have met Jack Warnefleet before, of course, through the previous books. He has proven his bravery time and again acting as a spy during the Napoleonic Wars. Once back on English soil, he longs to return to his country home, but an unexpected inheritance keeps him tied up in London for months. Now, after a seven-year absence, the hills of Gloucestershire are a welcome sight. He cannot wait to be home at Avening, taking up the reins of his baronial estate and easing the workload of his aging steward, who kept his home secure during his absence.

He has not even reached his gate when a carriage accident commands his attention. A young man lies pinned beneath the wreckage, and a woman from a nearby field is trying to calm the terrified horse. As he immediately takes over the rescue, he discovers that the young man is alive, but gravely hurt, and that the woman - classically beautiful but uncommonly tall - is not at all impressed with his assistance. In fact, once she learns his identity, she is absolutely scornful! What has been going on here?

Lady Clarice Altwood cannot believe the gall of some people! First, he returns to the battlefield even after his fatherís death makes him a Baron. Then, after seven years abroad he spends months enjoying himself in London after the war. And now, he expects everyone to be glad to see him? Well, he can think again! Time has not stood still in Avening and matters have needed his attention. Decisions needed to be made and someone had to take charge. Another useless nobleman intent on spending his inheritance is the last thing the people of Avening need.

Find a comfortable spot, dear readers, and let the games begin!

Reviewed in August 2005 by Paula.

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