And Then She Fell by Stephanie Laurens R
Henrietta Cynster is known as "The Matchbreaker" as she often offers advice to young women of the ton who want to know more about the man they are engaged to and this often leads to a broken engagement. When a friend of hers asks for advice on James Glossup, who has been courting her for a few weeks, Henrietta reports back that James is required to marry quickly because of the terms of his Aunt's will. After the courtship is called off James is furious as he needed that money to ensure that his aunt's estate operated smoothly and that the people who depended on him would be able to survive. He confronts Henrietta with the havoc she has caused and, feeling bad, she offers to help James find another candidate for him to marry. Luckily the two run in the same circles as he has many connections to the very large Cynster clan and both are invited to all the important events of the season. Henrietta's youngest sister encourages Henrietta to wear a magical necklace that has helped all the other Cynster girls find "their hero" and even though Henrietta doesn't believe marriage is in her near future, she decides to humor her sister and wear the necklace.
One night while coming out of her friends residence, Henrietta bumps into a strange man in the dark but she cannot see his face. Soon afterwards, Henrietta nearly drowns in a river and is only saved by James heroics and later her horse is shot our from under her and is only saved by James' quick thinking. James is starting to realize that his hunt for the right bride is leading him directly to Henrietta, but he knows that she will not settle for anything other than love and he is in too much of a hurry to take the time to fall in love and have her fall in love with him. Henrietta is also beginning to realize that she does not really want to find James another woman to marry and neither is too upset when a midnight seduction leads to their engagement. Their families are very excited and plans for a quick wedding are started immediately, but more accidents happen to Henrietta and her midnight bump with a stranger are linked to a scandalous murder. The whole clan has to come together to help Henrietta and James survive a madman and plan them a spectacular wedding.
Henrietta is a very practical and well connected lady of the ton and while I admired her realistic out take on life, I found her role as "matchbreaker" ridiculous and I was disappointed that she didn't seem to have any real interests or anything that made her special, interesting, or unique. James was strong and confident and I admired his dedication to protecting those people who depended on him for their livelihood. However, like Henrietta, there was really nothing to make him special or set him apart from any other romance novel hero. Unlike many romances there was really no conflict between Henrietta and James and it really made for an almost boring novel. While I did like that there was no big misunderstanding or something completely ridiculous that kept them apart, when the characters mutually just agree that they need to get married it's just a letdown really. Henrietta and James did spend a lot of time together but there were no scenes that really drew my interest or made me excited to see where their relationship was going.
It seems that Laurens is incapable of writing a book with a decent amount of sex as she either drowns a book in it or she barely has the characters kissing. This book fell into the later category and what sex there was was incredibly flowery and purply and fell into euphemism and dreamy language quickly. The necklace subplot was luckily only occasionally mentioned, which I was very thankful for because I felt like it was very stupid and made me really dislike Henrietta and anyone else who would believe in it. The secondary plot was the murder investigation, which laid pretty low until about halfway through the book and then kind of exploded all over the place. It was unrealistic and ridiculous in the extreme and often seem to serve no purpose other than to show that all the Cynsters were very close and when they united together no one could stand in their way. It ended precisely as everyone knew it would end and really offered very little excitement, even though one of our characters lives was undeniably in jeopardy.
Rating: A very wordy book with two uninspiring characters engaged in an equally uninspiring romance and a murder mystery plot that was barely interesting.