Cynster Sisters Trilogy , Book 2
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-206861-3
October 2011
Historical Romance

London, England and Scotland – 1829

“McKinsey” (not his real name) is determined to kidnap Eliza Cynster and bring her back to Scotland; and to aid in the kidnapping he's hired Mr. Scrope, one of the best men to make inconvenient relatives “disappear”.  McKinsey already tried to kidnap Eliza's sister Heather, but Timothy Danvers, Viscount Breckenridge, rescued her and they have now announced their betrothal.  Since Heather is unavailable, McKinsey is determined the middle of the Cynster sisters, Eliza, will have to do.  It's up to Scrope to kidnap her from under the watchful eyes of the entire Cynster family.  McKinsey isn't sure Scrope can handle the kidnapping, so he will be following behind him to make sure Eliza is not hurt in any way.

Jeremy Carling is a scholar whose specialty is ancient Mesopotamian and Sumerian text and hieroglyphics.  He's famous in ancient language circles, but hardly the type who lives for the ton .  But just recently after visiting his friends Royce and Minerva at Wolverstone Castle , he starts to think of having a wife and family.  As he's riding home, he sees a woman with her face pressed to the window of her coach and looking like she's yelling “help me”.  He knows he's seen her before—after considering, he remembers at Wolverstone Royce got a letter from Devil Cynster saying Heather had been kidnapped but then rescued.  Jeremy also remembers meeting Eliza at a ton party years before, and figures out she has been kidnapped.  With care and discretion, he follows the coach to a house in Edinburgh , and with his friends, Cubby and Hugh, they succeed in the “rescue”.  But his idea of a long day riding hell bent for leather to the safety of Wolverstone Castle ends when he learns Eliza, daughter of the famous horse loving and breeding family, can't ride a horse faster than a slow trot. They know after spending several nights together Eliza's reputation is now in tatters, and it is incumbent on Jeremy to offer for her.  But they are each determined they will face this fact after enjoying every day (and night) during their adventure.

McKinsey is an entirely different kind of a kidnapper, and perhaps the most compelling person in the story.  After capturing Heather, he sees what Viscount Breckenridge goes through trying to save her and realizes that Heather trusts him enough to marry him.  But that doesn't solve his problem, so he turns to the second daughter, Eliza.  He also watches over her, and when she is rescued, he also tracks them and watches their relationship to see if Jeremy is worthy of her hand.  Well, at least there's one daughter left, Angelica, who is just twenty-one.  Perhaps she is too young, and he hears she is not very biddable, but she is next on his list.  Our most complicated character, all we know is that his mother wants a Cynster daughter “ruined” by the kidnapping experience, and then she will give him some sort of goblet he needs to save his estate and his clan.

Stephanie Laurens has written an entirely original story with a kidnapper with a good heart and a hero who isn't at all alpha but a cerebral type of person.  Jeremy is more interested in thinking things through before acting, and Eliza is also the quiet Cynster.  She knows she's not as adventurous as her sisters.  The story is told from everyone's point of view, McKinsey's, Scrope's, Jeremy's, and Eliza's.

While a tempting story of a kidnapping, the slow pace was extremely aggravating.  Jeremy and Eliza were on the run for five days—and we know about each minute of each day, going from horse, to rig, to walking.  They spent pages and pages walking through hill and dale, over mountains and around rocks, always looking behind them.  Then there was “the map”.  This is Jeremy's map of the area, which is consulted on rocks, on tables in huts, in pubs, on the back of a horse, anywhere it can be opened it was consulted.  This has to be the best map of the century, showing every track, city, village, trail, road, and mountain in the area.  Even now “the map' still makes me shake my head.

Secondary characters are Scrope, McKinsey and the two other people who help Scrope with the kidnapping and Jeremy's two friends who aid in the rescue of Eliza.

IN PURSUIT OF ELIZA CYNSTER is the second in the Cynster Sisters Trilogy, and while I have not read the first book (VISCOUNT BRECKENRIDGE TO THE RESCUE, August, 2011) there did not seem to be much that I felt was missing by not having read it.  Despite the interesting and compelling story and characters, I don't feel this is Stephanie Lauren's best Cynster novel, though I look forward to finding out why McKinsey wants to kidnap one of the sisters.  THE CAPTURE OF THE EARL OF GLENCRAE comes out in January, 2012, and will hopefully answer all our questions.  If you enjoy Stephanie Laurens and have read other Cynster novels this might be just your cup of tea.

Carolyn Crisher