Fair Juno by Stephanie Laurens

JUNO
Fair Juno by Stephanie Laurens
Publisher: MIRA
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (210 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When the Earl of Merton suddenly finds himself playing the knight in shining armor to a damsel in distress, he knows his days as a notorious rake are numbered. But though the lady seems grateful for his assistance, she flees the scene without revealing her name. And though past scandals and present dangers threaten his pursuit of the mysterious lady, he knows she is to be his destiny.

I had a ton of fun reading this novel. A man no one thought would amount to much comes back as a man of worth. A man who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, a man of action and restraint yet inside, still alive in kicking, is his reputation as a rake. He has to balance the two but he’s stymied by people’s perception of him, and that includes his own mother. Talk about a great internal conflict. I really appreciate how Ms. Laurens handled it with grace, aplomb and charm. Martin, the hero, is an alpha personality tempered by his truly caring for the people in his life, no matter how difficult they can be.

His caring about others close to him eventually encompasses the very feisty, fascinating and slightly adventurous Helen, the heroine. Her personality, quirks and situation slowly get under Martin’s skin, and he’s hooked. Helen eventually falls in love with the hero but through the machinations of one of Martin’s relatives, she decides on martyrdom. On one hand, it’s predictable, and I was disappointed. On the other, Martin’s determination and unquenchable desire for her wears her down and his perseverance and stubborn conviction that she belongs with him serves him well.

I enjoyed the progression of the romance, the slight intrigue of why she was kidnapped in the first place and what the real reason was that the other guy wanted to marry Helen. It was almost what I expected, yet not. I really liked that surprise because it elevated my high estimation of Martin even higher. He’s a very smart and practical man when all is said and done.

What I also found endearing was Martin’s relationship with his mother. I enjoyed seeing it change and mature and seeing them come together as a family. Their relationship ended up sweet with a tart and cheeky twist. I liked it.

I liked many of the secondary characters and I enjoyed how they fit into the plot. I liked the dialogue in the novel and of course I enjoyed how all that sensual buildup finally came to fruition. Helen sure made Martin dance a merry tune.

As for Martin’s brother, he really needed a swift kick. As far as I’m concerned, the hero let him off lightly. I l liked Hazelmere though; he really tried to help but truly, he was as clueless about Helen as Martin was. Ferdie was the only one that seemed the most intuitive. I liked his character. My favorite scene was the one at the church. I love it when an HEA comes together.

All in all, Fair Juno” is a great historical romance and is undeniably entertaining. There is an interesting internal conflict with just the right amount of external conflict to keep the main characters on their toes, and a reader flipping pages. I’m a satisfied reader.

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