This is the second book in the Black Cobra Quartet and another one of the original four soldiers/spies is on a quest home to bring the scroll which will bring down the Black Cobra cult in India (which is of course run by evil Englishmen). I actually do not remember whether in the first book we realize there is more than one person at the top of the cult (I read so much, I cannot keep it all in my head).
Stephanie Laurens: The Elusive Bride
Anyway, this time we follow our brave English aristocrate (of the warrior type – that’s what they usually are like) on his road home who gets followed by the woman who delivered the original scroll into their captain’s hands at the beginning of book one (we see it from her perspective this time around). She is on the lookout for her “one” (hearing a lot about that kind of a man from her married sisters) and since her first encounter with Gareth Hamilton who moves her senses, she decides to pursue him and see if that is the beginning of her finding her “one”. And now the adventure starts.
What struck me quite strongly in this, is again the warrior theme. All male characters in Mrs. Laurens’ books are these types of dominant, agressive towards bad guys, possessive males that fight against falling in love and thus being weak. Here it struck me as the strongest theme so far. Especially since they travel a part with Berbers where the separation between females and males is strongly enforced but the women know their men love them and protect them (and therefore show their love in such a manner).
But our female hero will have none of that male dominance crap, and wants to be seen as a partner, not someone to be saved who cannot take care of herself. She is actually quite brave. And of course in the end she gets what she wants. But what I find fascinating and admire a lot, in all these relationships and encounters, when one of the characters “wins” in a situation, it is never used as an advantage over the other and spelled out so. It’s a partnership and one that involves compromise. We could all use some of that kind of behaviour in our lives.
Pic by: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/