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Opinions on Stephanie Laurens?
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MMcA



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 680

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bev, it's just so hard to know without the book.

Sometimes, after discussions like this, I've reread a scene, and it's been much milder than I had remembered - perhaps I had read it at the wrong moment, and something rankled that normally I'd have read past.
But equally, sometimes I reread, and still feel the same way.

I'm glad to know I wasn't totally imagining it, though. Very Happy
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
Posts: 2064

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bbmedos wrote:
I have been flipping through On a Wild Night, Amanda Cynster's story, and I'll be doggone if I can figure out what all the fuss is about.

One, while I think I've found the scene in question, the only Cynster who appears is Devil and he simply escorts Lady Jersey out of the room. Yes, maybe he was lurking outside of it but maybe not. Whatever.


Like Cynster stories aren't ever about strategies as much as sex scenes.


It's not the library scene (that was one of the "close calls"). It's the later scene. I'd have to look again to decide where it was, but there were multiple cousins involved.
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
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Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MMcA wrote:
Bev, it's just so hard to know without the book.

Sometimes, after discussions like this, I've reread a scene, and it's been much milder than I had remembered - perhaps I had read it at the wrong moment, and something rankled that normally I'd have read past.
But equally, sometimes I reread, and still feel the same way.

I'm glad to know I wasn't totally imagining it, though. Very Happy


Oh, you weren't imagining it. Very Happy

I was beginning to think I was going nuts though because I couldn't find it. The reason I wanted to though was because the ones of you that remembered it were so vivid in your descriptions. Your reactions to it were too intense and I wanted to see why because it was ringing absolutely no bells with me.

I think I can understand your reactions now, too. For one thing, we as readers don't actually witness the cousins standing around within the narrative. All we get is a line or two about it after the fact as Amelia tells Amanda they were there. So all the readers share are Amanda's emotions as she reacts to why she thinks they were there. There's even a line in her thought processes about them throwing her to the lion, AKA Dexter. So, yeah, going on gut feelings at that moment if we didn't know the Cynsters as a family, it could easily be interpreted exactly as if they'd colluded in her seduction in an attempt to marry her off.

The first problem with that is that we, as readers, and she already know that the cousins knew it isn't her first time with Dexter by a long shot and that these are the Bar Cynsters. Family is first and foremost with them. If they wanted the marriage to happen, they wouldn't be lurking outside the door, waiting. Conversely if they didn't want the marriage, he'd be gone. Period. There is no middle ground . . . and yet they appeared to be lurking. Confusing but leaving her with a lot of thinking to do.

Second, they're in the infamous conservatory at Horatia's house which isn't a single room but a huge garden like space under or along the ballroom if I remember correctly. I mean the image of anyone lurking outside the door of one room is one thing but outside the conservatory and actually hearing/seeing anything? Quite another picture altogether.

Now if they'd been peeking in one of the windows - shades of whats-his-name from Devil's Bride - that would've definitely been weird. Shocked

So, anyway, I'm not discounting anyone's reaction to it. I'm just saying there is another interpretation that's consistent with the Cynsters.

And, while I've always thought the twins books were weaker stories and never can quite figure out why I feel that way at the same time, which is why I always wonder if it's the male/female factor, I also have issue with a couple of the other books just like this, so I completely understand the sentiments. In particular, there are moments in Demon's book that irritate me to no end and it's at the bottom of my Laurens list because of that fact alone. I won't say I hate it but I could definitely nitpick it to death given the chance. Very Happy
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allyson wrote:
Wow, lots of people are very defensive about these books! I've noticed the tendency before on this board, that people get rather offended and put out by readers who aren't a fan of the overbearing hero, but Laurens seems to bring that out a lot...

If someone's read her books and doesn't care for them, why is that so problematic If I don't like a hero and find him too domineering, I get told I'm being too PC or modern, and the guy is just 'alpha', a term I've rather come to hate!

Read Devil's Bride. It was alright, didn't feel any huge compulsion to read further though.


It has nothing to do with anyone's personal taste. It really is to each their own. People can read and like whatever they want.

However, I will openly admit that I will actively defend any and all books when anyone starts saying groups of them have the same plots. Or that the characters are all alike. Doesn't matter who the author is. Doesn't matter what the genre is. Someone has to prove it to me with specifics. I'm not going to just sit there and accept it blindly. Which means I have to respond. Ask questions. Provide proof myself.

And that's especially true when it's an author and genre I read and enjoy. Wink
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bbmedos wrote:


However, I will openly admit that I will actively defend any and all books when anyone starts saying groups of them have the same plots. Or that the characters are all alike. Doesn't matter who the author is. Doesn't matter what the genre is. Someone has to prove it to me with specifics. I'm not going to just sit there and accept it blindly. Which means I have to respond. Ask questions. Provide proof myself.

And that's especially true when it's an author and genre I read and enjoy. Wink


Do you feel strongly enough about this that you would want me to set up a data base and do parallel themes and near-parallel settings/paragraphs/sentences from the two dozen or so books?
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It always surprises me that the ladies on these boards don't like Laurens' heroes. Unlike the rakish heroes in other romances, Laurens' heroes always "pursue" the heroine; their intentions are always honorable; they always vow fidelity a la the Cynster motto. In most cases, they do not have sex with the heroine until they're committed--which they always are. The heroines always have considerable influence over the heroes, too. Aren't these things that ladies like to see in heroes?

As to the question of historical exactness, I don't think there's a romance book published which doesn't, in one way or another, violate what readers believe is historical accuracy. It all depends, I think, on how well the readers like the book on the first read whether the inaccuracies bother them.

What you and I see as historical accuracy is what historians have told us is historically accurate. What is lost in the mists of the past is just that--lost--to historians as well. All that we can say is that something "appears" to be historically inaccurate. All we can ask is--is it possible that such and such an event occurred. If it is at all possible that an event occurred, I think we have to let it go as a part of the fiction.

That some young lady of the period managed to seduce a young man of the period several times, doesn't strike me as impossible. (In fact, it strikes me as more than likely.) That her family, aware that she was doing so, would want to avoid the scandal of discovery seems reasonable.
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
It always surprises me that the ladies on these boards don't like Laurens' heroes. Unlike the rakish heroes in other romances, Laurens' heroes always "pursue" the heroine; their intentions are always honorable; they always vow fidelity a la the Cynster motto. In most cases, they do not have sex with the heroine until they're committed--which they always are. The heroines always have considerable influence over the heroes, too. Aren't these things that ladies like to see in heroes?


Laurens' heroes are really quite admirable in most ways.

It's just that I pretty much have a surfeit of them by now. Because . . . I'm sorry and apologize to those who disagree . . . in spite of her assigning them different interests, etc., they are basically all alike.

It doesn't mean that I don't read her books. It's just that I've given up on expecting the unexpected.
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
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Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veasleyd1 wrote:
Do you feel strongly enough about this that you would want me to set up a data base and do parallel themes and near-parallel settings/paragraphs/sentences from the two dozen or so books?


To what point?

What I mean is simply how would that either encourage discussion or address the underlying problem, which is completely unnecessary generalizations.

For instance, I could just easily choose another author at random that I've read and either actively disliked or simply not had a taste for and make the same claim about their books regarding plot and character similarities. It would prove nothing and as an opinion it would also be worthless in my own eyes because I know I can't justify that call.

I would also hope the author's readers to call me on it if I did because they should know the books better.

But, yeah, a database as a solution sounds great. It's a lot like statistics, though. They can be made to say whatever one wants. Plus they're cold and unfeeling. Active discussions, comparisons and contrasts of individual books and elements therein are a completely different matter because with them we start to see the nuances that are either there or they aren't.

The books speak for themselves.

Now, I know that some of you at this point are gnashing your teeth and wanting to scream "But what if the plots really are all alike?"

Okay, maybe that's right. Then prove it. Like I said the books speak for themselves. How are all the stories so similar? What is the exact plot that she's repeating over and over? How are her heroes indistinguishable from each other in every way?

Because just saying that the heroes are all alphas and the plots are all the same just doesn't quite help clear anything up. That's said about most romances and we all know it's a crock. We also ask for the respect of the genre not being dismissed so out of hand, too.

One thing I ain't touching is the dresses. For all I know all women in the Regency wore the same handful of colors because that's the only inks they had. How's that for avoiding the historical accuracy issue. Rolling Eyes
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bbmedos wrote:
veasleyd1 wrote:
Do you feel strongly enough about this that you would want me to set up a data base and do parallel themes and near-parallel settings/paragraphs/sentences from the two dozen or so books?


To what point?

What I mean is simply how would that either encourage discussion or address the underlying problem, which is completely unnecessary generalizations.


I was hoping that the point would be that by a comparative summing up of elements from one book to another, people would be able to compare and contrast in order to see if critics were making "completely unnecessary generalizations."

Yes, it would be work. Any data base is work. It would probably take a couple of weeks.

Do you, specifically, consider this to be a worthwhile investment of my time? Would the results be of use to you?

Do others consider it to be a worthwhile investment of my time?
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
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Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veasleyd1 wrote:
Laurens' heroes are really quite admirable in most ways.

It's just that I pretty much have a surfeit of them by now. Because . . . I'm sorry and apologize to those who disagree . . . in spite of her assigning them different interests, etc., they are basically all alike.

It doesn't mean that I don't read her books. It's just that I've given up on expecting the unexpected.


I can't seem to stop posting on this topic and for that I apologize but I'd just posted my last message when I saw this last one Veasleyd and had to amend something.

Thinking characters are "exactly" the same and "expecting the unexpected" are to my mind two very different things. There are "types" of characters that permeate the romance genre just like any other and sometimes we can overdose on them. It's a comfort zone thing. Maybe.

Laurens has created a brand of hero that's both standard and unique at the same time. On the surface they appear to be standard alphas but they do have a certain creed that bands them together as brothers under the skin. Even the ones who aren't blood Cynsters. In that respect, they're going to respond to certain situations in similar fashions - but that's their draw. They don't tend to do the "unexpected" and I'd say a lot of that is because they don't tend to do the dark and brooding thing either. If anyone is waiting for the unexpected in that respect, they may be waiting a long, long time.

Clear anything up, Dick? Wink
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Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
It always surprises me that the ladies on these boards don't like Laurens' heroes. Unlike the rakish heroes in other romances, Laurens' heroes always "pursue" the heroine; their intentions are always honorable; they always vow fidelity a la the Cynster motto. In most cases, they do not have sex with the heroine until they're committed--which they always are. The heroines always have considerable influence over the heroes, too. Aren't these things that ladies like to see in heroes? .


This strikes me as a little bit condescending. Not all 'ladies' like the same thing in heroes! Why would it surprise you that people like different qualities? Also, what can read a particular way to one person might come across differently to someone else. Kind of like how I might have a friend who's, to me, talkative and funny, but someone else might find them loud and overbearing.

And just because a hero or heroine has certain qualities that are admirable, doesn't mean I'll like them if they have other qualities I *don't* like!
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
It always surprises me that the ladies on these boards don't like Laurens' heroes. Unlike the rakish heroes in other romances, Laurens' heroes always "pursue" the heroine; their intentions are always honorable; they always vow fidelity a la the Cynster motto. In most cases, they do not have sex with the heroine until they're committed--which they always are. The heroines always have considerable influence over the heroes, too. Aren't these things that ladies like to see in heroes?


I actually do like Laurens' heroes, as far as that description goes. My main issue is that they all seem the same to me, to the point that I don't think of Devil's cousins but of Devil's clones. Laughing Two other Romance writers I can think of who have heroes who are virtually carbon copies of each other are Judith McNaught and Lisa Kleypas. (And I happen to like Kleypas!)

I do concede that it's reasonable that all the heroes (or heroines, or villains, or other types) created by a single Romance writer have major things in common. They're all "brothers" (or "sisters"), after all.

Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if the heroines had some variety to them, because then we would have relationships with different chemistry, but I do feel like I'm reading the same story over and over again. Yes, the plots are different, but the characters (perhaps I should say, the couples) are just like the ones who came before. I'm all right with Laurens' heroes, but Honoria is, so far, the only heroine I can really stand. Confused

bbmedos wrote:
What I mean is simply how would that either encourage discussion or address the underlying problem, which is completely unnecessary generalizations.

For instance, I could just easily choose another author at random that I've read and either actively disliked or simply not had a taste for and make the same claim about their books regarding plot and character similarities. It would prove nothing and as an opinion it would also be worthless in my own eyes because I know I can't justify that call.


I agree. My favourite Romance author ever is Jo Beverley, and it is possible to make huge generalisations about her books, too. There was also one point during my glomming that I felt like I had read the same plot in three different novels.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to Allyson:

NOTE: I hit the submit button in error and tried to delete the incomplete post, but there's no delete button.


Last edited by dick on Thu May 22, 2008 9:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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dick



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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to Allyson: How condescending? I was extrapolating from the many posts on these boards whose authors found "rakes" and "dukes of slut" neither admirable nor desireable nor believable. Laurens' heroes have qualities the opposite of those. How then am I condescending when I express surprise whether lady posters like to see those kinds of heroes in romance fiction? Laurens, in my opinion, is one of the few romance authors who seems to think males of the species have something more than a constant itch to reommend them. She manages to meld the so-called "alpha" with the so-called "beta" with considerable success.
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if the heroines had some variety to them, because then we would have relationships with different chemistry, but I do feel like I'm reading the same story over and over again. Yes, the plots are different, but the characters (perhaps I should say, the couples) are just like the ones who came before. I'm all right with Laurens' heroes, but Honoria is, so far, the only heroine I can really stand. Confused


See, now, it's statements like this that puzzle me because they "appear" to be so contradictory. How can someone feel the couples are just like the ones that came before and yet also only be able to stand Honoria? Doesn't that, um, logically imply that something is majorly different about the rest, at the very least?

What am I missing here? This is honest curiosity.
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