Genre & Keywords:
Historical romance, Victorian England, aristocracy, plain girl/virgin heroine, rake/rogue hero, opposites attract
Why I read it:
I received an e-ARC from the Publisher, through NetGalley and the buzz about this book at Twitter, especially from my blog friends pattepoilue and Patti, made me curious.
Cold, aristocratic rogue Matthew falls for his angelic nurse Jane, whom he can’t see because his eyes are bandaged. Their attraction is palpable and mutual. But when they meet outside the hospital he doesn’t recognize her, which hurts her. Thrown together by faith at a wedding as maid of honor and best man they get reacquainted and the truth gets revealed soon. His dark past and her upbringing are interfering with their blooming love and they seem unable to be together long term.
My opinion in short:
Charlotte Featherstone won me over on a topic and a genre I’m usually not too thrilled about (virginity and historical romance). More than won me over, in fact. She made me love her book, her hero and her heroine and their unconventional, heart-wrenching romance. I absolutely loved it all and I devoured Sinful like chocolate. Ms. Featherstone’s beautiful, rhythmic sentences seduced me to keep reading after I managed to overcome my initial reluctance and finally started this compelling, erotic, overwhelming, emotional novel. Against all odds I can only highly recommend Sinful to everyone who hasn’t tried it yet.
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 of 3 flames
What’s more to know about this book:
Only in a historical romance I accept the heroine to be a plain virgin and the hero to be a cold-hearted, jaded rake. Besides, these descriptions don’t do much justice to the H/h in this novel, because they are so much more than that. They are round characters that show some significant development throughout the story. What I liked most about this couple is that they brought each other’s better characteristics to the surface and that they had a certain influence on the other person’s growth as a person. They complement each other in the best way, even though they seem a mismatch at first sight. I couldn’t help but feel impressed by the strong development of characterization that Ms. Featherstone pulled off in Sinful.
We switch from time to time from Matthew’s point of view to Jane’s, both told in third person. As readers we have more information than the protags at some points in the story. This fits the story well and increases the understanding for the main characters.
The plot takes us from a slow beginning, in which we get introduced to the hero and heroine in separate chapters, to an erotic meeting of the H/h. After that they go their separate ways again and we have to wait patiently for a reunion which is not all about revived passion at all. Tension and anticipation plays a big part in the story arc here, and then finally the recognition and the advancing of their relationship. Twists and turns propel the story in a faster pace than before, to slow the blooming romance down again towards the end. Emotional tension kept my eyes glued to the pages at this point and I felt wrenched as the story continued towards an ending that couldn’t be that happy, or could it? Emotional roller coaster can’t begin to describe what the author was putting me through at this point in the plot. And finally, the ending, that I dreaded a bit, was there. I sighed with relief, although not traditional, Matthew and Jane get their HEA. Thank goodness!
In short: the plot changes pace a few times, to accelerate and slow down at the right moments to keep me fascinated and compelled. And right before the finishing line I’m in fear and all tensed up, to end up relaxed after all.
Btw, there’s an epilogue that’s not in the book, but available at the author’s website. It’s for those who want a more traditional HEA. To be honest, it didn’t add much to the story and I could’ve done without, but it provides those who like that with a nice satisfying ending.
M/F. The sexual encounters between Matthew and Jane in the hospital are bold and very erotic without them going all the way. Although Jane is a virgin she’s prepared to give it up for Matthew, before the big misunderstanding that is. From there on their sexual encounters are more restrained but still very steamy. The moment Jane loses her virginity becomes very significant. I have to admit that, as a modern woman, I don’t care much for this trope, but I have to give Ms. Featherstone a lot of credit for making me so much invested in the story by then, that I didn’t feel a shred of dislike at all. The love scenes until that point were perhaps even hotter than the ones after that significant moment when emotions become more important.
• Writing style
Well, the writing of this book is definitely the strongest quality of it. It’s beautifully written and made me want to get lost in the sentences. It’s illustrative, sensitive, erotic and poetic. Rhythmic sentences like this drew me unavoidably in: “Her gaze fixed on his chest, watching how slowly his chest rose and fell. She allowed her hands to traverse the width of his torso under the pretence of counting his respirations. She heard the breath enter his lungs, felt his heart beating slow and steady against her palm. Saw his lips part as the air escaped through them.” (p.39)
I enjoyed the different scenes with the black (and white) swan, that - because of the obvious comparison with Matthew (and Jane) - seemed to foreshadow the events. In the quote I choose, Jane sees the swans for the first time. The other scenes in which the swans appear, are sadder.
A white swan swam beside a black one. The black one was obviously the male, for it never left the white one’s side, and every time a rumble of thunder would roll, he would swim closer, directing her to the bank. Jane had never seen a black swan before. There was a quiet beauty to the creature. A sadness, too, she felt, as she watched the pair swim beneath the bridge. They were mismatched, yet they seem to suit one another as they floated atop the water. (p. 196)
Charlotte Featherstone’s website | blog | on Goodreads
Buy Sinful here
Read an excerpt here
The books in this series:
# 1: Addicted (Anais and Lindsay’s story)
# 2: Sinful (Jane and Matthew’s story)
# 2.5: Sinful: epilogue (You’ll receive the epilogue for free when you describe to Charlotte Featherstone’s newsletter here)