Posted by: Jennifer | February 9, 2008

Where the Heart Leads – Stephanie Laurens

Laurens, Stephanie. Where the Heart Leads: From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair. (New York: William Morrow, 2008). ISBN – 9780061243394.

Main Characters: Barnaby Adair and Penelope Ashford

Date: 1835

Related Works: Although this is the first book in a new series – From Adair’s Casebook, this is also part of Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster Series. This series includes Devil’s Bride, A Rake’s Vow, Scandal’s Bride, A Rogue’s Proposal, A Secret Love, All About Love, All About Passion, The Promise in a Kiss, On a Wild Night, On a Wicked Dawn, The Perfect Lover, The Ideal Bride, The Truth About Love, What Price Love?, and The Taste of Innocence.

Lady Osbaldestone makes an appearance – a character who shows up in both the Cynster series and the Bastion Club series.

Description from book:

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 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 crime 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.

My Thoughts:

I adore the characters that Stephanie Laurens creates. I think that character development is one of her greatest strengths. It is truly the characters that draw me in to her stories. Penelope Ashford and Barnaby Adair are no exception. Both are unusual members of the ton. Penelope devotes much of her time to her Foundling House. She is 24 years old and has no interest in the traditional pursuits of young, unmarried women. She has no desire to shackle herself to a man who would curtail her own spirit of independence. Then there is Barnaby, the third son of an Earl who works with the Metropolitan Police Force. He has made a name for himself gathering evidence against members of the ton who commit crimes. This sets him apart from most of the members of his social circle.

But late one evening, Penelope Ashford walks into his home asking for his help. Someone has kidnapped four orphans who were to come to Foundling House to live. Penelope is somewhat desperate to find them. It doesn’t take long for Barnaby to agree to help. Of course Penelope is no shrinking violent. She fully intends to be an active part of the investigation. Barnaby quickly learns that there is no stopping the headstrong female.

Penelope finds herself in a bit of a quandary. She had only been looking for some help. Instead, she discovers that Barnaby makes her feel things that she has never felt before. Try as she might, she cannot distance herself from her new partner. This is mostly because Barnaby is more than intrigued by Penelope and understands that they belong together forever. While the two search for the orphans and the kidnappers, Barnaby sets out to seduce Penelope and make himself a necessary part of her life. It is a wonderful journey. Along the way, they find the orphans, figure out who is behind the dastardly scheme and find out how much they mean to each other.

Read first on February 9, 2008



  1. […] Where the Heart Leads – Stephanie Laurens […]

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