I’ve heard that the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem, so here goes. Oh Internet, I have a deep and shameful secret to confess. I am hopelessly addicted to Stephanie Laurens books. It started with this one, believe it or not.
I bought it on a whim, and it drew me in with its interesting vocabulary (honestly, susurrate, cynosure, limned?) and fabulous old lady characters. Then I bought and read all of these books, because I am, clearly, an idiot.
Oh. My. God. It’s horrifying to see all those covers laid out like that…
And do you know what? They are all pretty much the same book, just with different physical descriptions (and, in the fine strokes, different character descriptions, but the broad strokes are all the same) and, for the most part, a different type of intrigue or danger that the characters face together while deciding whether or not to boink and whether or not to marry (spoiler alert: the answer is always yes.). In fact, perhaps the only one truly worth reading is the first one: Devil’s Bride, because it (alone) doesn’t rely on poor communication as a plot and conflict device.
These books contain (1) an alpha male who is handsome, rich, compelling, good in the sack (and so experienced–and it’s uncomfortable that the dude’s experience gets mentioned so often–that you have to wonder how all these alpha males manged to avoid social diseases), and feeling a bit jaded and restless with his life–a.k.a. primed for matrimony; (2) a strong female who has some past experience or quirky character trait that creates a desire (a) never to marry without a solid belief that she is entering a love match, (b) the idea that this solid belief can be obtained only by the gentleman saying, “I love you,” and (c) the disinclination ever to express this desire in words that the poor hero could ever understand; (3) some sort of life-threatening intrigue or danger that both throws the hero and heroine together often enough for them to boink occasionally and, towards the end of the story, places the heroine’s life in danger so that the intelligence-challenged hero can realize, finally, that he loves her–and can tell her so in those words–so that she can finally agree to marry him. These books also contain multiple episodes of the same bizarre sex scene, in which the characters’ boinking creates (what I hope is) a metaphorical aurora borealis of afterglow.
I know, right?! Why did I read 28 versions of the same story? Clearly, I have an illness.
And, actually, I read 29.
I know! It’s painful. Anyway, The Lady Risks All was released last fall, and I really tried to hold out, but I failed. I held out all of two weeks before I bought the book, read it, and then felt all the awful feels. Was it the same plot all over again? Yep. Was it pretty much the same characters all over again? Yep, for the most part. Did the sex scenes involve sunbursts and starbeams and being both wracked and wrecked while tossed on the far shore the island people go to, if Laurens is to be believed, after they’ve had an orgasm and are floating in the sea of sated bliss? Yes, yes it did.
Anyway, there’s a new Laurens book out now, and I need your help, friends, in resisting its insidious call. Do any of you have this illness, too (towards different authors, perhaps)? Do you find yourself buying and reading these books and then wondering, why did I do that?! I knew it would be bad! Is there a cure?