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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: The Taste of Innocence by Stephanie Laurens

A good plot but over shadowed by lengthy sensual scenes.

The Taste of Innocence CD (Cynster Novels) by Stephanie Laurens
    The Taste of Innocence CD (Cynster Novels)
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: HarperAudio; Abridged edition (February 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061227242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061227240
Print pages: 464
Price: Print $7.99; Kindle $6.99; Audio $29.95
Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating: 3.5 of 5.0

When New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens created the world of the Cynsters, she introduced readers to the glittering ranks of aristocratic British society, where arranged marriages are the norm for securing dynasties, where passion is an art practiced by sophisticated lovers and high-born mistresses, and love is a potentially dangerous indulgence. For no gentleman is this more true than for Charles Morwellan, the 8th Earl of Meredith. Although he's seen the many successful unions of his Cynster connections, he has also watched his father's obsessions nearly destroy his family and fortune, a mistake Charles will not repeat. But as Lord Meredith he must marry, so he offers for Sarah, daughter of his neighbors, Lord and Lady Conningham. She's intelligent enough to run his social life, beautiful enough to grace his arm, and old enough to know the value of his offer.
For most young ladies of the ton, the right marriage is the culmination of years of training, perfect deportment and intricate plans and statagems that would impress a general. But as a lady of independent means with a life of her own, Sarah is unwilling to surrender her independence unless it be for unbounded love.
But Charles always gets what he wants. He convinces Sarah to give him two weeks to win her, after which-if he succeeds-they will marry immediately. And so begins an intense courtship. By day, Charles and Sarah are models of decorum indulging in innocuous walks, polite conversation, sedate waltzes. But each night they steal away to the lush, moonlit gardens where sensual embraces turn to searing kisses, which soon become much more. Both are swept away on a tide of passion and feeling neither can resist.
But after the wedding, despite nights of insatiable passion, by day Charles maintains an aloof distance as if the near-sinful sweetness of their nights exists only in a dream. Sarah battles to prove that true love is a force that can't be contained, a gift worth fighting for, but it's only when she's engulfed in a web of increasingly dangerous incidents that Charles discovers how much he's willing to surrender to protect...the taste of innocence.
Review: This is mostly a nice listen but not overwhelming.
The Product Description tells a lot of the story but not all the subtleties. Charles has known Sarah as a neighbor and chooses her as a “suitable” wife since it is time for him to take a wife.  that is not a great attitude for romance in marriage.  Sarah has had a secret crush on Charles for years so she is inclined to marry him but she has a desire to marry for love and he is offering more a marriage of formality to suit society.

When Sarah agrees to allow Charles two weeks to convince her to marry him the nights of sweet seduction begin. Charles only intends to whet Sarah’s appetite but he did not calculate their flaring passions. Each night their passion grows till it is not clear who is seducing whom.

Once they are married, Charles does not want to be pulled into a romance with his wife so he avoids her by day and strictly indulges their passions at night. Of course it doesn’t take Sarah long to feel used in that arrangement so soon even that stops.  Now their marriage is really growing frustrated and tense.

Meanwhile, someone is threatening the orphanage that Sarah owns and manages. During the courtship Charles was proud of her efforts but after the marriage he says he doesn’t want her to tell him about it or bother him because he doesn’t want to share any time or project with her.  When the accidents accelerate Sarah seeks help from another source.  This infuriates Charles as it makes him feel he is not protecting his own wife... which of course he isn’t.

There are several outsiders who influence Charles trying to make him see the treasure he has.  But when she is kidnapped and her life at risk is it too late for him to embrace their love?

I enjoyed the mystery of the attacks on the orphanage and liked considering which character was the villain.  I also enjoyed the richness of the love between Charles and Sarah although the seduction ran almost two discs of the five so this got to be a bit tedious. Still it was entertaining and an okay listen for a long drive.
This was an Audiobook I had picked up. It will be in the giveaway box again soon.

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