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lady of his own

A Lady of His Own

A Lady of His Own (Bastion Club, #3)One of my favorite romance tropes is “young love.” Where either the heroine has loved the hero since she was just old enough to understand what love is, or both hero and heroine experience puppy love, put it aside to grow up, and then come back to it when they are mature and ready for it.

A Lady of His Own, book 3 in the Bastion Club series by Stephanie Laurens, showcases Charles St. Austell and his wayward childhood love Penelope. I adored this book. The premise is that Charles is back from being a wartime spy (a very very common vocation for Laurens’ heroes) and finds Penelope walking the corridors of his house late at night; she, however, doesn’t know he’s back and has run to his house because hers is being inhabited by the cousin who inherited her brother’s title.

The actual plot doesn’t particularly matter to me, though it is interesting and involves spying and treason and that sort of juicy side story. No, for me, this whole book is about the misunderstandings of two people who were very young and very much in love but had a terrible time of being psychic and knowing what the other was thinking and wanting.

Penelope has been in love with Charles for as long as she can remember. At 16, she convinces him to have her way with her, mere days before he leaves for the service. The basic crux of their problem is that Charles thinks that the sex was so bad and hurt Penelope so much that she obviously hated him afterwards. From Penelope’s point of view, the sex wasn’t mindblowing, but was compleatly worthwhile, but she has no chance alone with Charles after the sex but before he leaves.

Cut to 10 years later where they are both still harboring feelings for the other but are positive that the other hates them. To me, this is brilliant. I love watching two people who love each other figure out that the other loves them. It is my absolute favorite part of romance novels. This book does it in spades, and I adored both the characters. They were believable, and I never once wanted to throw the book across the room1 because of character stupidity2.

This book has a permanent spot on my keeper shelf, if only for the following lines:

He held her gaze, thinking for a moment longer, then replied, his voice so low she wasn’t sure she heard so much as felt his words.
“Whatever you wish, however you wish. I’m yours. Take me.”
Love me. Charles bit back the words––not yet, not now. He might be caught, but he wasn’t sure she was.

That moment––when Charles releases his silent plea––that’s the reason I read romance. I have found the love of my life. I’ve had that moment. Before I found Erik, I was searching for that moment, and reading romance gave it to me in all it’s infinite glory. The moment you realize that it really is love and not lust, not friendship, not every other relationship you’ve ever had. I love that feeling, and I get it from living vicariously through fictional people.

  1. Which is becoming harder and harder to do these days with ebooks instead of paperback. 

  2. Another favorite pastime; berating fictional characters for their obvious stupidity when regarding communication. 

Book Review: Captain Jack’s Woman

Captain Jack's Woman (Bastion Club, #0.5)
Sometimes, I read a book and all I can think is “man, that guy is a complete jerk.” That’s what I thought the entire time I read Captain Jack’s Woman by Stephanie Laurens.

This book is supposed to set up the Bastion Club series novels; it’s considered a prequel to the other eight books. And as far as I can tell, Jack is the jerkiest of all the heroes in the series.

For a quick plot synopsis: Kit Cranmer finally finds herself back in the country after having escaped from her conniving aunts and uncles–people so terrible that they manage to make both Kit and her Grandfather think that the other had decided that Kit leaving was the best idea. And a family so headstrong and stubborn that grandfather and granddaughter don’t speak for 6 years, even though their relationship is supposed to be ridiculously strong1. So Kit at long last finds herself at home but she needs excitement. She is bored out of her mind. And accidentally takes over a smuggling crew that thinks she’s a man. Which then gets taken over by Captain Jack’s crew; he, by the way, is ridiculously relieved to find out she’s a woman:

Kit’s identity was only one of his problems and certainly the easier to solve. His odd reaction to the boy was a worry. Why had it happened? It had been decades since any sight had affected him so dramatically. But, for whatever incomprehensible reason, the slim, black-garbed figure of Young Kit had acted as a powerful aphrodisiac, sending his body into a state of readiness. He’d been as horny as Champion on the trail of the black mare! (p. 55)

That’s right–Jack’s body knows Kit is a woman immediately, even though his head doesn’t.

And then Jack becomes more and more possessive of Kit, wanting her to change and be a more, well, lady-like-lady. He thinks to take her as a mistress when he believes she’s illegitimate. When she finds out she’s a proper lady, he slightly regrets taking her virginity, but is more than happy to make her his wife–so long as all she does is become exactly the type of boring woman he despises.

I think we’re to think that over time Jack becomes more mellow, that he realizes that he can’t have his cake and eat it too. He fell in love with Kit because she was wild, he can’t expect to tame her and have her be the same. Also, we’re supposed to believe that he finally comes to his senses that he doesn’t want the lady-like -ladies. After all, that is why he escaped the ton; the match-making mamas and their simpering daughters just didn’t cut it for him.

However, it really is Kit that has to make all the sacrifices in the end. She can’t go riding on her horse alone. She can’t help him with anything that she did before. Jack only promises to tell her what he’s doing in an effort to keep her from “helping” behind his back.

It’s an odd sort of relationship, and Jack is never really redeemed for being a jerk. He is just unveiled as a lord, and thus all his jerkiness is just fine.

This story actually had a plot and drama, so it had that going for it. I just always wish the heroes weren’t such jerks.


  1. It always is, that grandfather-granddaughter bond in romance novels.