Where the Heart Leads (Cynster Series)

( 56 )

Overview

Wealthy Cynster connection Penelope Ashford has devoted herself not to making a perfect society match, but to rescuing young orphans from London's streets. But when her charges start disappearing, she turns to attractive Barnaby Adair for help. A deadly avenger in an elegant guise, Barnaby has solved crimes before, and can go where few others in society can.

Barnaby finds Penelope's combination of beauty and brains irresistible. Together, they work to unravel the mystery of the ...

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Overview

Wealthy Cynster connection Penelope Ashford has devoted herself not to making a perfect society match, but to rescuing young orphans from London's streets. But when her charges start disappearing, she turns to attractive Barnaby Adair for help. A deadly avenger in an elegant guise, Barnaby has solved crimes before, and can go where few others in society can.

Barnaby finds Penelope's combination of beauty and brains irresistible. Together, they work to unravel the mystery of the missing children, uncovering a trail that leads them to the upper echelons of society. Soon, they face an enemy all too ready to destroy all they hold dear, including their newfound understanding of love . . . and the intrigues of the human heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The latest installment to Laurens's Cynster series (The Truth About Love; The Taste of Innocence) takes readers back to the 19th-century London of private investigator Barnaby Adair for a satisfying blend of mystery and romance. When attractive society belle Penelope Ashford enlists Barnaby's help in finding four kidnapped orphan boys, Barnaby is as intrigued by Penelope as he is by the case; her reputation as "something of a firebrand" and her dedication to her work at Foundling House far outstrip her desire to conform to society's wishes-a worldview not unlike Barnaby's. Penelope insists on accompanying Barnaby through every step of his investigation, and with some input from an old friend at Scotland Yard, the pair begins navigating the slums of London's East End in search of a "burglary school." As the orphans' fate begins to slide into focus, so, too, does Barnaby and Penelope's attraction for one another. That attraction, palpable from their first meeting, slowly builds to a gratifying crescendo without overpowering the story, which, though light on plot twists, clips along at a fast pace with enough charm to delight both fans and new readers. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061243387
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/27/2009
  • Series: Cynster Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 50,738
  • Product dimensions: 6.82 (w) x 4.18 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie Laurens

New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science, a hobby that quickly became a career. Her novels set in Regency England have captivated readers around the globe, making her one of the romance world's most beloved and popular authors. Loving Rose is her fifty-fourth book. All of her previous works remain in print and readily available.

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Read an Excerpt

Where the Heart Leads
From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair

Chapter One

November 1835
London

"Thank you, Mostyn." Slumped at ease in an armchair before the fire in the parlor of his fashionable lodgings in Jermyn Street, Barnaby Adair, third son of the Earl of Cothelstone, lifted the crystal tumbler from the salver his man offered. "I won't need anything further."

"Very good, sir. I'll wish you a good night." The epitome of his calling, Mostyn bowed and silently withdrew.

Straining his ears, Barnaby heard the door shut. He smiled, sipped. Mostyn had been foisted on him by his mother when he'd first come up to town in the fond hope that the man would instill some degree of tractability into a son who, as she frequently declared, was ungovernable. Yet despite Mostyn's rigid adherence to the mores of class distinction and his belief in the deference due to the son of an earl, master and man had quickly reached an accommodation. Barnaby could no longer imagine being in London without the succor Mostyn provided, largely, as with the glass of fine brandy in his hand, without prompting.

Over the years, Mostyn had mellowed. Or perhaps both of them had. Regardless, theirs was now a very comfortable household.

Stretching his long legs toward the hearth, crossing his ankles, sinking his chin on his cravat, Barnaby studied the polished toes of his boots, bathed in the light of the crackling flames. All should have been well in his world, but . . . 

He was comfortable yet . . . restless.

At peace—no, wrapped in blessedpeace—yet dissatisfied.

It wasn't as if the last months hadn't been successful. After more than nine months of careful sleuthing he'd exposed a cadre of young gentlemen, all from ton families, who not content with using dens of inquity had thought it a lark to run them. He'd delivered enough proof to charge and convict them despite their station. It had been a difficult, long-drawn, and arduous case; its successful conclusion had earned him grateful accolades from the peers who oversaw London's Metropolitan Police Force.

On hearing the news, his mother would no doubt have primmed her lips, perhaps evinced an acid wish that he would develop as much interest in foxhunting as in villain-hunting, but she wouldn't—couldn't—say more, not with his father being one of the aforementioned peers.

In any modern society, justice needed to be seen to be served evenhandedly, without fear or favor, despite those among the ton who refused to believe that Parliament's laws applied to them. The Prime Minister himself had been moved to compliment him over this latest triumph.

Raising his glass, Barnaby sipped. The success had been sweet, yet had left him strangely hollow. Unfulfilled in some unexpected way. Certainly he'd anticipated feeling happier, rather than empty and peculiarly rudderless, aimlessly drifting now he no longer had a case to absorb him, to challenge his ingenuity and fill his time.

Perhaps his mood was simply a reflection of the season—the closing phases of another year, the time when cold fogs descended and polite society fled to the warmth of ancestral hearths, there to prepare for the coming festive season and the attendant revels. For him this time of year had always been difficult—difficult to find any viable excuse to avoid his mother's artfully engineered social gatherings.

She'd married off both his elder brothers and his sister, Melissa, far too easily; in him, she'd met her Waterloo, yet she continued more doggedly and indefatigably than Napoléon. She was determined to see him, the last of her brood, suitably wed, and was fully prepared to bring to bear whatever weapons were necessary to achieve that goal.

Despite being at loose ends, he didn't want to deliver himself up at the Cothelstone Castle gates, a candidate for his mother's matrimonial machinations. What if it snowed and he couldn't escape?

Unfortunately, even villains tended to hibernate over winter.

A sharp rat-a-tat-tat shattered the comfortable silence.

Glancing at the parlor door, Barnaby realized he'd heard a carriage on the cobbles. The rattle of wheels had ceased outside his residence. He listened as Mostyn's measured tread passed the parlor on the way to the front door. Who could be calling at such an hour—a quick glance at the mantelpiece clock confirmed it was after eleven—and on such a night? Beyond the heavily curtained windows the night was bleak, a dense chill fog wreathing the streets, swallowing houses and converting familiar streetscapes into ghostly gothic realms.

No one would venture out on such a night without good reason.

Voices, muted, reached him. It appeared Mostyn was engaged in dissuading whoever was attempting to disrupt his master's peace.

Abruptly the voices fell silent.

A moment later the door opened and Mostyn entered, carefully closing the door behind him. One glance at Mostyn's tight lips and studiously blank expression informed Barnaby that Mostyn did not approve of whoever had called. Even more interesting was the transparent implication that Mostyn had been routed—efficiently and comprehensively—in his attempt to deny the visitor.

"A . . . lady to see you, sir. A Miss—"

"Penelope Ashford."

The crisp, determined tones had both Barnaby and Mostyn looking to the door—which now stood open, swung wide to admit a lady in a dark, severe yet fashionable pelisse. A sable-lined muff dangled from one wrist, and her hands were encased in fur-edged leather gloves.

Lustrous mahogany hair, pulled into a knot at the back of her head, gleamed as she crossed the room with a grace and self-confidence that screamed her station even more than her delicate, quintessentially aristocratic features. Features that were animated by so much determination, so much sheer will, that the force of her personality seemed to roll like a wave before her.

Mostyn stepped back as she neared.

His eyes never leaving her, Barnaby unhurriedly uncrossed his legs and rose. "Miss Ashford."

An exceptional pair of dark brown eyes framed by finely wrought gold-rimmed spectacles fixed on his face. "Mr. Adair. We met nearly two years ago, at Morwellan Park in the ballroom at Charlie and Sarah's wedding." Halting two paces away, she studied him, as if estimating the quality of his memory. "We spoke briefly if you recall."

Where the Heart Leads
From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair
. Copyright © by Stephanie Laurens. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

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(24)

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(16)

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(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2008

    A reviewer

    Where the Heart Leads is considered the 15th book in the Cynsters Family Saga, and although the Casebook of Barnaby Adair is mentioned on the cover, that is the true nature of the book. Cynster fans, looking for a story like the earlier passionate and heart stopping handsome Cynster males sensually pursuing strong beautiful ladies, made-to-be Cynster brides, may be left just a bit disappointed. That is not to say that Stephanie Lauren¿s most recent book is not extremely well-written with characters of depth, it is just that after a while the whole Cynster mystique gets diluted so much down the line of cousins and siblings of Cynster relations that the reader now has to expect something different and this story is different, not close to the fabulous Cynster novels that were written early on. Those will always remain favorites for romance fans and collectors. No one knows the Regency Period and 19th century more than Stephanie Laurens especially when she wrote a few Cynster novels with storylines about the rare and extremely interesting horse racing world that took place during the period. Now she entertains and educates readers further with her knowledge of what it is like behind the glittering ballrooms, gentlemen clubs, shining ladies in silks and rogues outfitted in Hessians and superfine. During this period there were those that suffered while others lived lives of leisure. In this book we see how the other side lives. Portia Cynster started a Foundling School for Orphans that aids poor orphans after the death of their only living relative, which was the focus of another Cynster novel and mentioned in some of the others. Now after marrying Simon and running a house and having children of her own, the responsibility of the school has been turned over to Penelope, Portia¿s sister. A beauty, but considered a bluestocking and a bit overwhelming to many gentlemen of the ton, Penelope has been dedicated to her work and has never thought of marrying, believing she would never be able to find the type of true love other Cynster women have found, especially in her unique position of running the school and having a rare intelligence and deep calling for social justice. Her feelings about love, passion, and even marriage begin to change a bit after four boys due to arrive at the school show up missing and she considers asking the third son of a nobleman, Barnaby Adair, well-known for solving mysterious cases of the ton, to consider helping her find these boys. As soon as she knocks on his door late one night she realizes that she is drawn to the handsome and intelligent Barnaby, and is more thrilled when she realizes he understands, respects and is not judgmental about her school, intelligence and involvement in social causes. What a coincidence that the stunning and intelligent Penelope shows up at Barnaby¿s door just when he is sitting alone in his parlor nursing a brandy and deciding what to do with his life that was once exciting and now seems to hold no appeal anymore. To him it is love at first sight, but he knows he must move carefully and allow Penelope to realize they were meant to be together so that he doesn¿t lose her and his one chance at finally finding a woman that is his equal and worthy to be his wife. Barnaby obtains the aid of his friend Basil Stokes, of Scotland Yard, and together with an East End woman, Griselda Martin, who worked her way up from the poor East End to becoming a successful tradeswoman as a milliner, the two couples work together to solve the case of the missing boys and the discovery of a burglary school that is snatching them away as soon as they are orphaned before they can make it to the school. The danger intensifies as murders begin to take place before the children can be orphaned and are snatched, while at the same time love and passion are blooming for the two couples. This story is a delightful change for Ms. Laurens and hopefully the fans of the Cynster books will realiz

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    The latest Cynster tale is an excellent historical romantic mystery

    Lady Penelope Ashford may come from the affluent influential Cynster brood, but she is no quiet debutante. Instead she works extremely hard trying to bring a better life to young street urchins of the London slums with her Foundling House charity. When four of her orphaned children disappear, Penelope believes they were abducted for a nefarious reason and wants them rescued. She knows who is best suited to investigate so in her take charge manner Penelope commands deduction agent Barnaby Adair to locate and save her children.----------- Barnaby is fascinated by the pushy but caring Penelope. However, he becomes a bit disturbed when she insists on accompanying him as he makes his inquiries as he feels it is not safe for her while she insists she will keep him safe by having his back. With help from his pal Inspector Basil Stokes of Scotland Yard, the duo seeks a burglary school for the young in East End slums even as the two sleuths begin to fall in love.------------- The latest Cynster tale is an excellent historical romantic mystery starring the usual feisty female and in this case a refreshing sleuth. The fast-paced story line focuses on the lead couple especially their joint investigation into the missing orphans. Filled with twists and red herrings, fans of the series (obviously) and those who enjoy the sub-genre will appreciate this tale of the heart from ¿the Casebook of Barnaby Adair¿.------------- Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2008

    I absolutely adored this novel!

    I loved Penelope and I have always loved Barnaby...seeing him finally meet his match and seeing Penelope bending though reluctantly, to the power of love and desire, was a joy to behold...I also was so thrilled to see Inspector Stokes who I liked in other books find the love of his life. I was not surprised to find Penelope to be even more stubborn and independent than her sister Portia because she was described that way when she was introduced previously and it was a joy watching Barnaby who thought he was beyond the influence of love, be the one to recognise the signs and to match wits with her...It was fun reading, I can't wait for my next Stepanie Laurens Novel. I highly recommend this novel and I am sure to re-read it as I do all of her novels. BRAVO!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Romantic Mystery

    This not really a Cynster novel although it does reference the Cynsters. The story gives greater insight of the Barnaby Adair character. Barnaby is an interesting character and his love interest Penelope is a little quirky and is ideally suited for Barnaby. The book also give much more information about Inspector Stokes who was mentioned in previous books. The book sets up the opportunity for future books featuring Barnaby Adair and Inspector Stokes. Can't wait to see what Stephanie Laurens will do with these characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2009

    A disappointment

    I was quite disappointed by this book. I used to love her stories, but I found this one endless and flat. All these descriptions, analysing and analysing feelings... And what's with the dashes, there must be thousands in this book. Stephanie Laurens' style used to be lively and things were moving at a fast pace. I will think twice before buying another of her books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Where The Heart Leads was a good title for the book. As they follow the story line they definately do follow a beginning romance mixed within the plot of the book.

    I loved this book. It kept me hooked and reading every free moment that I had. I was sorry to see the ending chapters appear. This was the 16th book that I read of the Cynster novels written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2008

    Did NOT Like at All

    Love all her other books, but did not like this one. Did not like Penelope, did not like Barney. Not believable circumstances, not believable characters. They never interact with their families who are supposedly so important to them. Penelope runs a orphan/foundling home with no problems from anyone else in the ton??? She runs around with no one bothering her even though all the other females in her life/family have to accomodate their outside interess with family and ton obligations. She's curious about desire/sex but doesn't want anyone to control so of course she'll just hop into bed with Barney!! And if I hear one more time about how handsome and beautiful they are that no one takes them seriously, I'll scream

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2008

    Loved it!

    A very fitting sequel to the Bar Cynster series. I'll be looking forward to more of Barnaby and Penelope and the various Cynsters. It was a special treat to see Stokes find love in this novel too which brought tears to my eyes. That's what these books do - you become 'involved' with these characters - they seem so very real. I also love the Bastion Club novels, and I'm looking forward to the next two books in the series - the romances of Christian and the mysterious Dalziel (he with the bedroom eyes). Stephanie Laurens always weaves a very sensual love story into her mysteries. The men are potent and very romantic, the women are strong and determined. The time period, clothing, scenery and lovemaking is vibrant and seems very real. It's a delight to see each 'hunk' succumb to love and the lady he desires.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A PLEASING POTPOURRI OF ROMANCE AND MYSTERY

    Do you enjoy Regency romances, vicariously visiting another time and place ? Do you like a narrative laced with descriptions of a heroine whose senses alternately swoon or quake and nerves clench at the slightest touch of a tall, handsome ? If so, you'll find much to relish in the latest by Australian novelist Stephanie Laurens. This author has also crafted a mystery to accompany the increasing palpitations of Penelope Ashford and Barnaby Adair's roguish come-hither behavior. While the mystery is an intriguing one involving some of the most dastardly villains since Fagin in Oliver Twist, it certainly takes second place to the love stories Ms. Laurens has woven. It is late one evening when we first meet Barnaby, who is known for uncovering the shenanigans of his fellow aristocrats. While his latest feat has been praised by many, including the Prime Minister, he's not reveling in his victory, but feels rather at a loss. We take it a bit bored - that is until the doorbell rings at this unlikely hour and Penelope is ushered into his parlor. Penelope is a rather unusual heroine - beautiful, of course, but wearing gold rimmed glasses. Barnaby remembers what he'd heard of her - that 'she was something of a firebrand, one who paid scant attention to social restraints if said restraints stood in her way.' Precisely so as she's cast propriety aside to come to his home unescorted at an untimely hour. She is seeking his help. Penelope is the director of a foundling home, an institution that takes in orphans primarily from the East End. Once there the youngsters are well cared for and trained to be maids, footmen, etc. The problem is that in the past month alone four of the boys who should have gone to the home have been taken by someone unknown before Penelope or others could pick them up. Naturally, she fears for their safety and wants the kidnappers stopped before more boys are taken. Barnaby agrees to help her and enlists the assistance of his good friend, Inspector Basil Stokes. When it becomes obvious that they must somehow penetrate the East End in an effort to learn more, Stokes calls upon Griselda Martin, a former East Ender who now runs a millinery shop. No surprise - romance blossoms between this pair also. Thus, Laurens presents two very different couples united by one baffling pursuit, while at the same time each explores the intricacies of his or her emotions. Just what this author's fans will stand in line for. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2014

    Laurens doesn't disappoint

    Historical romance and mystery involving characters who you'd like to see again and again solving crimes and bringing people to justice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    Wonderful as always.

    It's a pleasure to read a new Cynster novel.

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  • Posted July 30, 2013

    Hot sizzling romantic historical novel

    I highly recommend it if you like romantic historical novels. I have
    read all the Cynster series and have enjoyed them very much.
    Some of the romantic scenes are a little too graphic for me but the rest of the story is intriguing and has you guessing "who dun it"!

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  • Posted August 10, 2011

    Decent romance

    I wasn't totally taken in by this book, but the story was good for a quick, light read. I'd like to read more by this author to see what her other books are like.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2009

    Stephine Laurens is a great author!

    I especially love the Cynster Novels! This is another great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Where the Heart Leads

    I think this is a great book. It has a very unique and interestng plot line and the characters are believable, given the time setting of the book, which I like. Although it is a romantic book, it also has a great mystery in it. I like the combination of both.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    Not Good

    I waited and waited for this book to come out and I found it disappointing. It is NOT a keeper. Can't will them all I guess.

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    Posted December 7, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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