To Distraction

Written by Stephanie Laurens
Review by Sue Asher


Since this is the fifth Regency romance in her Bastion Club series (“a last bastion against the matchmakers of the ton”) and the 20th of her novels for Avon, Laurens obviously knows what her fans expect. Deverell has recently inherited the title of Viscount Paignton along with all its responsibilities, and so he is seeking a wife. Disenchanted by the “season” and traditional routes of wife-hunting, he asks his aunt for advice. She steers him to the reclusive Phoebe Malleson, a 25-year-old beauty with every quality he needs. Unfortunately, Phoebe long ago decided she wanted no man in her life; she has a secret in her past and a clandestine cause that occupies all her attention. To woo her, Deverell must seduce her, discover her secrets, and convince her he can partner and protect her in every way. The story is rather predictable, so to say more would be to give it away. The first half of the book is taken up almost entirely by the slow seduction – Laurens’ forte. After that, the story picks up, but by then the plot, while entertaining, reads almost like an afterthought.