The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae
Grade : D

I literarily wended, linguistically traveled, and read with eager purpose, burgeoning desire, and incendiary yearning. Utterly determined — alone and seeking a reviewer’s sweet satiation — engaging my somnolent disbelieving emerald orbs – fraught and needy, laboring to find the pinnacle of completion, desperate beyond measure to finish this book. Done. Basking. Glorying in the magnificent awareness, the enthralling conviction I will no longer – never again – have to read prose like that found in Ms. Laurens’ overwrought and overwritten tome The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae.

The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae is the eighteenth book featuring the Cynsters. Perhaps the only interesting thing about this novel is that, in it, the Cynster males — Devil and his uber-masculine kin — are as boring and unnecessary as a dance number on the Oscars. Sadly, the Cynster women aren’t any more engaging — I found the heroine of this book, Angelica Cynster, annoying, silly, and verbose. She’s yet another Laurens heroine who is practically perfect in every way: A virgin with a harlot’s skill, exquisitely beautiful without a trace of icky vanity, able to handle any challenge thrown her way with clichéd wit and chirpy charm.

She’s also able, with just a glance, to see that a tall, incredibly handsome man she spies at a soiree is destined to be “her hero.” She’s has a magical necklace dangling betwixt her breasts, passed onto her by her sisters, a “talisman that The Lady, a Scottish deity, had gifted to the Cynster girls to assist them in finding their true loves.” Somehow, between wearing this pendant and noticing that “he was undeniably the most gorgeous male she’d ever seen,” she’s determined to marry the man before they’ve ever exchanged a word.

The gentleman in question is Dominic, the eponymous earl of the novel. Dominic is at this party searching for Angelica, whom he’s never met. He is the elusive quasi-villain of the first two books in the Cynster Sisters series; a man who for reasons unknown kidnapped and then released unharmed Angelica’s two older sisters. When Angelica approaches him and makes it clear she’s like to take a walk in the garden with him, he takes her up on her offer, sweeps her into his arms and over his shoulder, gags her, binds her arms and legs, and tosses her into a carriage he has waiting in the mews. Angelica, despite being uncomfortable and miffed, gives some thought to his behavior and decides that, yes, he’s still her true love and yes, she’s still meant to be with him. She tells herself, “Whatever it takes, he will be my hero.”

And wouldn’t you know it, shocker of shockers, she’s right. Dominic has tied her up, kidnapped her – ruining her reputation – and put her in harm’s way because he has no choice. He’s doing it to save his clan. Dominic’s mother, Mirabelle, a woman so absurdly evil she’s inadvertently amusing, has spent her whole life resenting Angelica’s mother, the woman her husband, Dominic’s father, loved, lost, and never got over. Mirabelle stole a goblet from Dominic — the goblet has a long and convoluted back story involving Sir Walter Scott, Prinny, and the Regalia of Scotland — which he needs. His father long ago promised the goblet to bankers in exchange for a huge sum of money. If Dominic doesn’t get the goblet to the bankers by the end of the month, all of his assets are forfeit and his clan homeless out on the Scottish moors. Mirabelle will only give Dominic the goblet if he kidnaps and ruins a daughter of the woman — Angelica’s mother, Celia — Mirabelle neurotically loathes.

Unlike me, Angelica buys into this preposterous story. He is, after all, her hero, and she must help him and then he will fall in love with her and the two will live happily ever after and have perfect children who romp and play in the spectacular heathery hills of the highlands. She sends her family a note saying she’s fine and has just vanished to help a mysterious friend, and tells them not to worry about her. Unfortunately for the reader, the Cynster males ignore her plea. The mass of them gather in Angelica’s parents’ palatial home so they can stand around and natter on about Angelica’s whereabouts, who she is with, and what they might do about it. Their women, who are sure Angelica is fine and off finding her hero, sit, sip tea, and natter on about the men. It’s mind-boggling dull. I feel sure, were Devil Cynster a real person, he’d sue for character defamation. No one would believe the man he is in 95% of this book could have ever seduced Honoria so arrogantly well.

Ms. Laurens has written over forty books and novellas. One would think her writing might have become more assured and subtle over the years. Instead, she uses language in this book like a bludgeon. Every thought, action, and emotion is expressed, usually repetitively. Her characters talk incessantly at each other, sharing information that’s patently obvious by their actions and/or contexts. Her language is so overblown it could pass for parody. I lost track of the number of times passion was “incendiary” with lots of “welling” and “swelling.”

The two don’t just make love, for them:

The familiar cataclysm awaited them, but more intense, almost unrecognizable in its power. Ecstasy caught them, held them, shattered them. Utterly. Completely. Wracked, broken, and emptied — of thought, of will, of self — they floated in that golden glory where the aftermath of pleasure spread like a benediction, soothing, refilling, overflowing.

Dominic kisses Angelica and,

with a simplicity she hadn’t expected, an honest courage she hadn’t foreseen, ripped away every veil, every screen and shield that had been or might ever be between them. Within the cocoon of the covers, desire and passion bloomed, yet in the dark, in the heated silence, no reality existed beyond his body, hers, and what drove them. What hung in every gasp, what invested each and every caress

This book is almost 450 pages long but it read as though it were endless.

There are other things I didn’t like about this book — the other (not Mirabelle) villain of the piece appears suddenly and with no explanation, Dominic — clearly not a Cynster — refuses to have sex with Angelica because it would be distracting, which makes all his constantly stated lust hard to trust, the fate of the goblet —why wouldn’t the Crown get it? — is implausible, the ending is saccharine. In fact, the only thing I liked about this book is its cover which is subtle, sexy, and elegant… all things the book itself is emphatically not.

Reviewed by Dabney Grinnan

Grade: D

Sensuality: Hot

Review Date : February 2, 2012

Publication Date: 2012/02

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Recent Comments …

  1. I also thought of the Pern books with the idea of when the dragons are mating their riders feel the…

  2. I didn’t get that feeling and I really enjoyed it! I didn’t find the negative review to be too harsh,…

Dabney Grinnan

Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day. Publisher at AAR.
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