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Publisher: William Morrow / HarperCollins
Release Date: March 2004
ISBN: 0060505737
Format Reviewed: Hardcover
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Genre: Historical romance
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Barbara Buhrer
Reviewer Notes:  Review One

The Ideal Bride
A Cynster family series
By Stephanie Laurens

Cara Sutcliffe, whose late husband was an ambassador, is knowledgeable in the ways of 19th century London society.

Richard Anstruther-Wetherby, rising star in Parliament, needs a wife to ensure his success in the political area. He is a member of the Cynster family and has set his sights on Caro's 19 year old niece, Elizabeth. Unfortunately Elizabeth is in love with someone else.

Caro intervenes, instructing Elizabeth in ways of behaving which are not becoming for a politician's wife. The plan is successful. Michael abandons his pursuit of Elizabeth, and instead Caro becomes the object of Michael's pursuit. While Michael is attempting to persuade Caro that she is his ideal bride, several attempts are made on Caro's life. It becomes necessary for Michael and Caro to discover who the mysterious assailant is before they can come to terms with their lives.

This is a view of society in early 19th century London with the main characters, two very confident people, challenging each other. The atmosphere and the manners of the people portrayed evoke the spirit of the times.

The plot is involved and moves at a reasonable rate with the characters personalities undeveloped.

If you are looking for a book which contains sexual encounters with no detail omitted then this is the book for you. There seem to be more pages devoted to the encounters between Caro and Michael than there are pages devoted to the story. Laurens has perfected the technique of steamy scenes with no detail unwritten. I found that I was skipping pages devoted to these scenes in order to follow the story and the character development (which is minimal) . . .

This is a quick read with little substance.