By PJ Ausdenmore & Gannon Carr, RBTB Correspondents
Gannon and I love to talk about the books we’ve been reading! We’re excited to kick off our monthly visits with the Bellas by sharing our gabfest about Stephanie Laurens’ hot new historical, “The Untamed Bride.” It’s the first book in her new Black Cobra quartet and it rocks! The hero is Colonel Del Delborough, one of four sexy, single officers of the East India Company on a mission to bring down an evil villain known as the Black Cobra. They head for England by separate, secret routes, carrying evidence that will finally bring the villain to justice. Del’s the first to arrive.
Gannon: I love this book! And Del’s my kind of hero. He’s dedicated to carrying out his mission but when he gets to England he discovers that his plan has just hit an unexpected snag by the name of Deliah Duncannon. Del’s aunts have offered his services to escort Deliah to her home. He intends to send her on her way, not allowing her to interfere with his mission, but Deliah’s not some biddable young miss, and she refuses to let Del shirk his responsibility. Through a quirk of fate, she saves Del’s life from The Black Cobra’s henchmen, and so, whether Del likes it or not, he’s stuck with her. For better or worse.
PJ: Deliah’s such a contradiction. Here’s this confident, successful woman, capable of holding her own in business and going toe-to-toe (and other delicious body parts) with Del in, and out, of the bedroom. Yet, at her core, she’s still the young girl who believes she isn’t good enough just because she doesn’t conform to society’s accepted standard. I think many of us have felt that way at certain times of our lives. I know I have. Like Deliah, we’ve been judged as too tall, too plump, too smart, too opinionated. You know: that square peg that doesn’t quite fit into the popular circle?
Gannon: Exactly! We put on this brave face, but inside we’re this vulnerable soul longing for love and acceptance. It was wonderful to watch Deliah bloom under Del’s touch. Oh, yes, I did quite a bit of sighing in this book.
PJ: Del’s such a delicious hero. I love his acceptance of Deliah exactly as she is and how he sets about showing her how much she means to him but even more than that, I love the fact that Laurens guides Deliah to her self-defining moment through her association with the Cynster wives.
Gannon: That’s wonderful, isn’t it? Deliah’s convinced these women of the ton will find her inadequate, and instead it’s like she’s found her soul sisters: strong, intelligent women who aren’t afraid to stand up to their formidable husbands. Acceptance by the man you love is a beautiful thing, but acceptance by other women, your friends and peers is what we all wish for. Don’t you think?
PJ: I agree. It’s very satisfying to see Deliah take those first steps toward forming strong bonds of friendship with other women but, with the Black Cobra’s henchmen hot on their heels and Del and Deliah caught squarely in their sights, I wonder if she’ll find her happy ending with Del? To find out, you’ll have to --
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Is it more important to be accepted by our friends or the man in our life? Have you ever felt like a square peg in a round hole? How did you handle it? What advice would you give to a girlfriend who thought she needed to change herself to meet society's accepted standard, i.e. starve herself to meet Hollywood’s standard of beauty?