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    Mastered by Love by Stephanie Laurens
  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 30th, 2009

Laurens_MasteredPublisher: Avon
Reviewed by: Kate Garrabrant
Stars: 2.0

The former leader of the Bastion Club, Dalziel,  has returned to his childhood home after the death of his father. Dalziel is the new Duke of Wolverstone and has been estranged from his family for sixteen long years. When he discovers Minerva Chesterton residing at Wolverstone castle as its chatelaine, he is pleasantly surprised. He barely remembers Minerva as the young girl who used to follow him around. Now she is an attractive and intelligent woman and one Royce would like to get to know better.

Minerva will not be romanced by the likes of Royce. She is very much out of his league and he must marry an established woman that can run his household. Yet, Royce thinks Minerva would be perfect as his wife despite the fact that she runs from him at every turn. Royce will not be denied. He is use to getting what he wants and he wants Minerva. When it comes to a man like Royce, former spymaster, Minerva won’t be able to keep Royce from seducing her into his bed.

Mastered by Love is the final book in Stephanie Laurens Bastion Club series. I was anxiously awaiting Dalziel’s story because he was such a mystery in the previous books of this series. Dalziel is a typical Laurens hero, the kind of hero her readers have always enjoyed, but after so many books they seem to have a strange sense of déjà vu, I would have to say that Mastered By Love was a big disappointment. The majority of this book is very cut and dry with the reader being privy to Royce’s internal muses about his angst over his father and his desires to get under Minerva’s skirts. Again, this has a strange sense of been there, done that.

Minerva is a spunky character who is very much Royce’s equal. She acts as a proper young woman of her station but the moment Royce’s smoldering eyes touch her body, she is lost in his spell. We have seen this before in a Laurens’ novel; the heroine will fight tooth and nail to deny the hero, and after many long winded scenes of kissing and touching that go on for countless pages, the heroine finally succumbs to the touch of the lusty hero.

Once upon a time I found Stephanie Lauren’s writing and books to be some of the most luscious reads on the market. Mastered By Love is a very pale comparison to what was once great writing by an author who made historical romance the best it could be.

Those who are still fans of Laurens will probably not mind the long winded paragraphs of internal dialogue and longing from both the hero and heroine. I for one could not keep an interest and was close to not finishing.

11 Responses to “Mastered by Love by Stephanie Laurens”

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  1. Maria Lokken
    on Aug 30th, 2009
    @ 3:55 pm

    My 89 year old mother-in-law is a HUGE fan of this series and simply cannot get enough. She thinks it’s ‘hawt’. What can I say?


  2. cyclops8
    on Aug 30th, 2009
    @ 3:57 pm

    Oh no. I love the Bastion Club series and have been looking forward to the last book. I will get a copy and read Royce’s story.


  3. katiebabs
    on Aug 30th, 2009
    @ 4:42 pm

    So disappointed in this book. 🙁


  4. Stacy ~
    on Aug 31st, 2009
    @ 6:22 am

    I admit, I haven’t read Laurens for years. My favorite by her is A Secret Love. Those were the glory days…


  5. Joy
    on Aug 31st, 2009
    @ 9:04 am

    I am a huge Bastion Club fan. My favorite was Christian’s story. I was so looking forward to Dalziel’s book that I made sure I had this book on release day. I was SOOOO disappointed in the book. I had to force myself to finish it …thinking that it would get better; but, it didn’t. I agree with your review of this book. I am a big Laurens fan; but, not of this one.


  6. PJ
    on Aug 31st, 2009
    @ 11:51 am

    I thought her previous Bastion Club book, “The Edge of Desire” was one of the best she’d ever written and couldn’t wait to get my hands on “Mastered by Love”. I probably would have given it a 3, maybe 3.5 if I hadn’t already read the other Bastion Club books but I’ve been reading this series since the first book was released and anticipating Dalziel’s story that entire time. When I finally started reading it I couldn’t help but think, “Who is this guy? Where’s the dark and dangerous master spy we’ve come to know these past few years?” He sure wasn’t in evidence in this book!


  7. Shaun Gale
    on Nov 28th, 2009
    @ 10:47 pm

    I am reading Mastered By Love right now. I love this book, Minerva is not just spunky, she runs things. Royce sees that in her and her appreciates that and her. It doesn’t hurt that he finds her more than attractive. I love the senuality, but I also appreciate the brilliance. I can’t wait to see what happens with the Duke and soon to be Duchess of Wilverstone!


  8. romance reader
    on Dec 20th, 2009
    @ 7:47 pm

    I absolutely adored Mastered by Love. This is the love story of the Bastion Club’s mysterious spy master, Dalziel. He had handpicked all his spies, and consequently they all had many of the same characteristics and interests as he. But, unlike the others, as a boy and young man, Royce Varisey had been abused and neglected by his self-indulgent parents. And this 10th Duke of Wolverstone was determined to not repeat the mistakes of his ancestors. He not only devoted many lonely years to protecting his country prior to his return home, but upon his return, he set out to modernize his dukedom and improve the lot of his people AND defy convention and marry for love the woman HE chose (he was ahead of his time!). And in Minverva (Laurens chose this name carefully – it’s the Roman Goddess of Wisdom) he found a wise, loyal, loving and sensual woman who was his equal in every way.- in bed and out. He thought the years had hardened his heart, but we saw him slowly melt – mastered by love in front of our eyes. I was VERY impressed with all the fine touches Laurens put in the book – the historical and societal touches (Prinny, mad King George’s wasteral son was bankrupting his country and wanted to confiscate Wolverstone and there were even hints of assassinating Royce to do so). We learned Royce was NOT a cardboard, robotic “spy”. He was a handsome, virile man of honor and integrity who deserved the happiness he worked so hard to win. Laurens packed a lot in this book. And I thought it one of her best.


  9. carcrozat
    on Dec 23rd, 2009
    @ 8:14 am

    I am a huge Stephanie Laurens fan.
    I have bought all her books and I have to admit that I become more and more disapointed by her latest novels.
    I truly agree with Kate Garrabrant, the heroine’s reactions to the hero is to be found in all her books now and it is becoming boring.
    Although this ploting is the Stephanie Laurens’ touch and it is what makes her special as a romance writer, it is definitively time for her to renew herself. She is a great author, her writing is very pleasant, her love scenes so thrilling but let’s not make it the most important elements of the novels. They can go on for pages and pages and I really have to stop myself skipping them now. It’s such a pity the rest of the plotings in her novels are original and that’s what keep me buying her books.


  10. Jordan
    on Jun 5th, 2010
    @ 2:04 am

    I have read most of her books as well and found some of them seriously lacking. I also have that feeling of dejuvu when it comes to charaters, scenes and plots. I am also a dissapointed fan…


  11. Ella A Hatfield
    on Jul 1st, 2010
    @ 12:41 pm

    I couldn’t wait for Dalziel’s story! I was not disappointed.
    Once he went home it was a case of having to readjust to civilian life. He wasn’t the “Master Spy” anymore. He had to take on the responsibilities of the Dukedom dealing with people and their problems face to face. Rather then overseeing from a detached distance.
    Then after being in charge. He finds out he has to marry, now. He finds the choices unsuitable. His choice is Minerva,but he is not her choice. As with other Laurens titles, she is a strong, capable woman. He must convince her they can and should make a life together.