Where the heart leads by Stephanie Laurens

Where the Heart Leads
From the case files of
Barnaby Adair
bk 1

Penelope Ashford, Portia Cynster’s younger sister, has grown up with every advantage—wealth, position, and beauty. Yet Penelope is anything but a pretty face in a satin gown—forceful, willful, and blunt to a fault, she has for years devoted her considerable energy and intelligence to caring for the forgotten orphans of London’s sooty and seamier streets.

But now her charges are mysteriously disappearing. Desperate, Penelope turns to the one man she knows who might help her—Barnaby Adair.

Handsome scion of a noble house, Adair has made a name for himself in certain circles where his powers of observation and deduction have seen him solve several serious and unsavory crimes within the ton. His pedigree, relentless intelligence, and discretion make him a deadly avenger in an elegant guise. Despite his skills—-or perhaps because of them—he makes Penelope distinctly uncomfortable, but the stakes are too grave. Throwing caution to the wind, defying every rule for unmarried ladies, she appears on his doorstep late one night determined to recruit his talents.

Barnaby is intrigued-—both by her problem and her. Her bold beauty and undeniable brains make a striking contrast to the usual insipid ton misses. And as he’s in dire need of an excuse to avoid said insipid misses, he accepts her challenge, never dreaming she and it will consume his every waking hour.

Enlisting the aid of Inspector Basil Stokes of the fledgling Scotland Yard, they infiltrate the streets of London’s notorious East End. But as they unravel the mystery of the missing orphans, they uncover a trail leading to the upper echelons of society and a ruthless and clever criminal adept at pulling strings who, becoming aware of them and their efforts, is only too ready to destroy all they hold dear, including their newfound understanding of the intrigues of the human heart.

REVIEW: I have to say that I really really really thought that I would love this book as I have loved all of her other books. This one is part of, but not really a part of, both of her Cynster Family series, and her Bastian Club series.

I am going to start with Penelope. Ms. Laurens writes very strong willed women, women that know what they want and how they are going to get it. Women very strong in their convictions. I have always enjoyed these women and cheered them on. However in the case of Penelope, she bugged the crap out of me from about page 30 on. She firmly believed that her way was/is the only way to do things, and she was going to do them her way. She didn’t care what other people thought. She bulldozed over them all. It reached the point where I had to stop reading because she bugged me so much.

I have loved the character of Barnaby ever since he was introduced in Gerard’s book. I love how he can look at things and see the patterns and puzzles. I had been waiting to read his story and was very disappointed by him in that he gave into Penelope because it was easier than fighting her.

Inspector Stokes and Griselda are a secondary story that I rather enjoyed. I liked Inspector Stokes when he first appeared in Simon and Portia’s story. I think that I would have liked this book better if the main characters had been these two instead of Barnaby and Penelope, and that is only because Penelope was so annoying.

If you have enjoyed the Cynster and Bastian Club books and are hoping that this just like them, well you are partially right in that the mystery/intrigue is there and up to par with her other books, however be prepared to hate Penelope as she very much grates on the nerves.

I give this book a 2.5 out of 5


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