Publisher: Spice Books
In Victorian England vice of every kind can be purchased, and Matthew, the Earl of Wallingford, makes certain he avails himself of every possible pleasure. Bored and jaded, he is as well known for his coldness as for his licentious affairs with beautiful women.
While these numerous daliances fulfill Matthew’s every physical need, they secretly leave him numb and emotionally void. Until one night when he finds himself beaten, eyes bandaged and in the care of a nurse with the voice of an angel–and a gentle touch that soothes the darkness in him and makes him yearn for more.
Yet Jane Rankin is a lowly nurse, considered shy and plain by most. There is no place for her amongst the lords and ladies of aristocracy–despite Matthew’s growing craving for the fire that burns behind her earnest facade. And then there is Matthew’s secret. A secret so humiliating and scandalous it could destroy everyone he loves. A sin, he fears, not even the love of a good woman can take away…
Here’s another book that I chose to read because of the partially naked, well-buffed man on the front cover. Amazing how shallow I can be! This lovely picture, however, led me to one of the most heart wrenching books I have read in some time.
Matthew, the Earl of Wallingford, engages in every vice that he can. He is truly a dissolute character! He is being persecuted by his father, a Duke, to marry and start producing heirs. Matthew isn’t interested in getting married, but is interested in opening an art gallery. Since his father is restricting his money, he decides to hold an auction for one of his more erotic paintings to raise the funds. After the auction, he is beaten and robbed and left for dead in a rough part of London. He wakes in hospital tended to by his nurse, Jane.
Jane Rankin works as a companion to an older woman and is working off the cost of her employer’s medical bills by working at night as a nurse in London College Hospital. She is on duty the night that Matthew is brought in and manages to sooth him so that he can be treated. His eyes are bandaged so he can’t see her but he uses his other senses and seems mesmerized by her voice and her touch. Once he is sent back to his father to finish his recovery, he continues to obsess over Jane’s identity; desperate to find her.
I’ll leave the rest of the story for you to enjoy. I will say, I continue to be surprised how much I enjoyed this book! I tend to be drawn to glittery Ton romances, filled with balls and alpha males! This book absolutely doesn’t fit in this description! I have read other books with “tortured” heros but they weren’t as tortured as Matthew! We find out through the story that Matthew was sexually abused as a young lad. Jane is also a somewhat troubled heroine. Her mother was a mistress to a peer and they were thrown out into the streets when Jane was young and her mother turned to prostitution to survive. Lady Blackwood rescued Jane from the streets and offered her work as a companion. She has served as a mother figure throughout the years and has helped Jane come to terms with many of the issues of her childhood.
I was impressed by how outstanding Charlotte Featherstone’s writing is! She skillfully weaves Matthew’s memories from being abused into thoughts that come out while he is with Jane. She doesn’t really write about the abuse, but Matthew’s thoughts lead us through the stories. Throughout alot of this book, the story isn’t pleasant. Matthew isn’t a likable character! After he did something appalling, I would put down the book and walk away. I was always drawn back to see what would happen next.
Sinful is by no means a “formula” historical romance. It is written bluntly, and by no means is a typical “happy ending” kind of a story. I was continually drawn in by Jane and Matthew’s interactions and developing love for one another. I appreciated (after the fact) that the author didn’t turn this story into a more conventional happily ever after. It is a skillfully written erotic, historical romance and I will seek out more by this author!
RT BookReviews seems to agree with me as they list Sinful as a top pick with 4.5 stars, saying: “Pairing a tortured hero and a strong-minded heroine creates a dynamic conflict and off-the-charts sexual tension. Throw in lots of witty dialogue and a nontraditional happy ending, and you’ve got a keeper.”