In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster by Stephanie Laurens-a review
In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster is the second book in Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster Sisters trilogy and the 17th novel in the Cynster series of books. Like the previous Cynster sister book, In Pursuit focuses on the abduction, rescue and eventual HEA of a Cynster female. Including an adventure through two countries and countless little towns and villages, In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster will leave you breathless and longing for a glass of wine and the comfort of your own bed.
Eliza Cynster is tired of the constant presence of her over-protective brothers and cousins. Well aware of Heather Cynster’s kidnapping some weeks before, the Cynster males are taking no chance that the remaining eligible females are put into the precarious position of another potential abduction. But when a note , requesting her presence elsewhere, away from Heather and Breckenridge’s celebration, Eliza is more than ready for a change of scenery. But a mysterious man and a drugged induced stupor quickly force Eliza to realize, that she is the next target of a man named McKinsey.
Jeremy Carling is a scholar, a man who spends most of his time, reading, researching and studying ancient tomes and books. But, when a carriage carrying, what looks like a screaming Eliza Cynster, rumbles by, he remembers the threat against the famous Cynster sister’s and realizes, that he may be Eliza’s only hope for a rescue.
Following the carriage through rural England, he soon realizes that Eliza and her abductors are heading for Scotland. Not wanting to waste time, and possibly losing track of the carriage, Jeremy enlists the help of his brother in law and a couple of boyhood friends, to aid in the rescue of Eliza Cynster. But Eliza’s captives have already made preparations, and quickly escort Eliza out of town, but not before, Jeremy is able to get word to Eliza, that she is not alone.
Eliza’s abductors are hired by the mysterious Laird, known only as McKinsey, to the readers.—an aristocratic man intent on finding a woman of eligible marriage potential- so that he is able to procure the ‘golden chalice’ from his mother. Without the chalice, ‘McKinsey’ will lose everything—his castle, his land and his honor. Therefore, he gives warning to the hirees, that no harm must befall Eliza Cynster-she is to be treated with the utmost respect and care. But Victor Stropes is a hired gun; a man used to getting the job done at all costs. And McKinsey, knowing that Stropes and the others, are only doing their job, takes on the added burden of tailing the trio of kidnappers, wherever they go with Eliza, to ensure her safety.
Jeremy soon enlists the aid of his family, in the rescue of Eliza. When Eliza is hidden in the basement of a newly renovated townhouse by her captors, Jeremy is forced to execute her escape-but he soon finds out that each housing unit is outfitted with an alternate escape, buried deep under foundation. When Stropes and the others finally realize that their captive has alluded them, panic sets in, as McKinsey arrives to handle the exchange. Angered that Stropes and the others have not been able to protect Eliza from rescue, McKinsey releases Stropes from his contract, and declares their partnership ended. Stropes is so incensed that he is now perceived as a failure, sets out on his own, to re-capture Eliza and make good on the deal.
Jeremy Carling senses there is something different about Eliza Cynster. She is not like her sisters. She is quiet, unassuming and seemingly more fragile. When they set out, on their trek homeward, across the harsh Scottish countryside on horseback, he soon realizes, that she is unable to handle the pressures and nuances involved with riding a horse, and they are forced to set out on foot. But the knowledge that both Stropes and McKinsey have not stopped in their hunt to reclaim Eliza, have the young couple running for their lives.
Eliza is comforted to know, that the bookish Jeremy has taken it upon himself, to map out their route, ensuring their safety along the way. But even disguised as a young boy in britches, Eliza and Jeremy’s escape route, is soon discovered and Stropes, as well as a determined McKinsey, pursue them relentlessly. McKinsey’s dogged pursuit is now one of a guardianship over Eliza, fearing Stropes will capture at any cost. And McKinsey, the aristocratic gentleman that he is, is steeped in the knowledge, that Jeremy Carling, is better suited as a potential husband for Eliza Cynster, than he ever will be.
As the story unfolds, Eliza and Jeremy soon recognize that their relationship is more than just one of a search and rescue. Their feelings towards one another blossom, as each day unfolds, and they are forced to stay together each night, for their own safety and protection. But as their trek takes them closer to the Scotland/England border, Stropes disdain for Jeremy and his overwhelming need to re-capture Eliza at all cost, puts the couple at risk for injury and possible death. When Jeremy is shot and wounded by Stropes, McKinsey’s fury at the attempted killing, sparks a fight between the two men, and their resulting plunge off a cliff, force Jeremy and Eliza to the realization how much of a mad-man, Stropes had become. Presuming, both men had died from the fall, Eliza and Jeremy continue on their journey home, crossing the border between England and Scotland, into the welcoming arms of family and friends.
As with all romance storylines, Eliza and Jeremy’s happily ever after, is arguably predictable. During his recovery, the couple, question their love for each other, if only because, their respective families, are completely oblivious to the connection between the couple or play the fools, allowing the young couple to realize on their own- the destiny that awaits. But love conquers all and in the end, another Cynster sister, is betrothed to the man, her hero and friend. The final book in the trilogy is The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae..I do believe we meet the real Mr. McKinsey.
Reviewed by Sandy