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Is it altogether possible that an historical romance can have too much of a good thing? I can say, unequivocally, yes, it can. And that does not make for a good book.  In Stephanie Laurens’ latest novel in the Bastion Club series, Christian Allardyce,  Lord Dearne, and Lady Letitia Randall, nee Vaux,  mix it up quite a bit on their way to a reconciliation.  Usually, I don’t complain about such things, but if there is one problem I have with this author’s writing style, it’s the fact that she must have an open thesaurus on her desk for every sentence.  Laurens re-states the same sentence using different words so many times, that the book is probably twice as long as it should be.  The love scenes have a certain descriptive repetitiveness to them which had me fast forwarding. In fact, the entire book had me wishing for the last chapter.

The story revolves around Christian and Letitia’s long ago love affair.  Christian leaves her  to work as a sort of early MI6 agent and Letitia, while promising to wait for his return, is forced into marriage with a man who can save her family’s fortunes. Fast forward 12 years, and her husband, a Mr. Randall, is found murdered in his study. Letitia calls on Christian for help. So what if  they haven’t spoken in 12 years and they are both  still hurt and angry  from what each see as abandonment by the other. Who else should Letitia call on, if we are to have a story, hmm?

While the story is a good one, as these plots go, there are times that you just shake your head at Letitia’s stubborness and downright volatility.  Laurens puts this down to Letitia being a “Vaux,” like that should explain everything.  The name “Vaux” was mentioned so many times, that by the end of the novel, I was totally immune to it. Please.  Who cares?  Letitia is high maintenance. Say it once since that’s what you really mean,  and leave it at that.

Anyway, the best part of the novel comes at the end, when the identity of Dalziel, the ring leader of this merry band of ex-spies who titled themselves the Bastion Club, is revealed. He gets his own book next Fall. I’m hoping that by then I will have forgotten how much I dislike this author’s writing style. After all, Dalziel’s story should be the most interesting, and the culmination of the Bastion Club series. The characters in this series should not be faulted for their creator’s writing peccadilloes. Each and every one of the Bastion Boys are definitely worth a look.

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