Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gotta Love Historicals Week: Review of Sinful by Charlotte Featherstone

Charlotte Featherstone
Spice, 2010

Addicted Series, book 2.
So far there are two books, with each its own love couple, and more books will follow.

In Victoria 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 dalliances 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 the 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 is could destroy everyone he loves. A sin, he fears, not even the love of a good woman can take away...

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)

Favorite scene/quote:
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)


  1. Fantastic review Janna - thank you! I have this on my TBR list and can't wait to read it.

    And I have to say, I love the Plain Jane trope :)

  2. What a great review! I too loved Sinful and that it was unconventional in parts. I think that the love scenes going from hot to emotional was a perfect way to show the progression of their relationship. It was a great read and can't wait for Ms. Featherstone's next book.

  3. Fabulous review - I'm so glad you liked it! If you liked this book you really should try the other book in this series - Addicted - it blew my socks off!

  4. Very nice review..I think almost every review I have read has been positive..I just didn't like Matthew. I found him cruel rather than...broken...if that makes sense. He really turned me off.

    I do want to try Addicted though...

  5. Every time someone mentions this book they talk about that end, yes I do think I wanna read it just to know what happens there

  6. Whoa nice review Janna!!! This one wasn't speaking to me but after your thoughts - now I'm in a historical mood.

  7. I've read some great reviews of this book. I'm not big on historicals but I think this is one I'll have to pick up.

  8. *WANT!* The writing style you describe is so me and the characters unique and different. I haz got ADDICTED on the shelves and I need to have a historical Romance mood one of these days cause there a handful of HR novels screaming for some Leontine handling :)

  9. @orannia: The plain Jane trope, hihih! I don't know if it will ever be one of my favorites but it definitely was done well in this book! :)

    @Booklover1335: Thank you! :) I so agree about the love scenes showing the progression of their relationship! I'm with you on the next book, it'll be a sure purchase for me. :D

    @Patti: I'm sockless at the moment ;) but Addicted is already on my ereader. I bought it with the intention to read it first, but somehow I didn't feel like reading it. Now that has certainly changed, I look forward to reading it! :)

    @Mandi: Hmmm, I see what you're saying. He was kinda cruel at some point, but I decided it was only appearance, not real cruelty from within. I'm glad I could see it that way or else I would've felt the same as you. Now he luckily didn't turn me off at all.

    @Blodeuedd: This is a perfect book for you, hon! :D I can't say that very often about the books I read, but definitely about this one! LOL.

    @Chris: *waves back* Good to see you :)

    @KC: That's great! I'm curious what you will think of this one :)

    @Julia: If you're prepared to read a historical this would be a perfect pick. :)

    @Leontine: I'm also going to read Addicted for sure! Go get those HR novels handled, hon, and don't forget this one ;) I bet you'll enjoy it! :)

  10. Wonderful review! I really want to read this one.

  11. I'm SO happy you loved it! It's one of my favorite read this year. ;) I needed the epilogue though =P I know it doesn't bring much more but I needed it.
    Charlotte Featherstone surprised me with this 'series' I've very much in love with her heroes and I can't wait to know if there's more to come.

  12. Sounds like this one was right up your street...

    Glad you enjoyed it..


  13. I have this one sitting on my shelf. I was lucky enough to win both Sinful and the first book Addicted from the author but there was a glitch and only book 2 arrived.

    After agonising over the etiquette of what to do, I emailed the author and asked if there had been a mistake and she very kindly emailed back to say that she would be sending me Addicted. I guess it's on its way to me - I'm looking forward to reading both of them but I'd like to read them in order.

    Your review only makes me want to read them sooner!

  14. Hello Janna. Ain't got anything meaningful to say but I thought I'd stop by and show my face - some of it, anyhow, as I'm peeping between my fingers.

  15. Great review thanks.

    Just wanted to come by and say howdy.

    Howdy :) Hope you have a great day!

  16. @FV: Thanks, hon! I hope you like it as much as I did, when you do.

    @pattepoilue: I know, your called the HEA-lover for a reason, right? ;)
    I've heard/read somewhere that Ms Featherstone is writing the third book in the series (I think it was at the FAQ section of her website). Go on, do your happy dance now! ;)

    @EH: It was! Quite unexpectedly though.

    @Kaetrin: Hi there! Good to see you here :) Sounds like Ms Featherstone is a really nice person! I hope you receive the book soon and if Addicted is as good as Sinful you won't get disappointed! :) Happy reading!!

    @A man called Valance: Welcome back, Mr V! Nice to see you again. I hope you'll get more used to the visuals with every visit, so you don't have to peek through your fingers any longer. :)

    @Amora: Howdy and thanks, hon! Hope you have a great day as well! :D

  17. Woooooooohouuuuuuuuuuuuu *happy naked dance* <=== I'm kidding. NOT LOL

    I am SOOOOOOOO happy about that!! Who will it be about?? Woooot wooot That is great news!!

    =P lol exactly I'm not the HEA lover for nothing *wink*

  18. @pattepoilue: LMAO! I went and checked it before you're actually going to strip ;) and this is what she answered to the question if she'll write more books in this series:
    "Absolutely! I would love to! I have many ideas floating around in my head for Ann, Anais’ sister, (Addicted) as well as Mina, and the other children that Lindsay and Anais, and Wallingford and Jane have. Of course, this is all dependent on the publisher’s agreement to publish them!"

  19. Too late for that hon! *wink*
    LOL Woot woot I'm happy to hear that! YAY *happy clothed dance*

    Me happy

  20. I'm one person who doesn't usually go for the Historical Romance genre, but with the catch that I do tend to enjoy them when I finally overcome the stall (whatever the reason) and dive into them. I adore your review - including the system done in. From most everything I've seen, Sinful definitely needs to be upped in my to-buy and be-devoured list. ;)

  21. Oh Janna honey, I am so glad that you loved the book!!! And your review is beautifully written!! **Applauds you on a awesome job honey**
    This is an excellent review to showcase this book and its meaning to you!!! What can I say, you blew me away with this one!!
    Hope all is well honey!

  22. @Kayleigh: I'm exactly like you re Historical Romance! :) It's weird that I feel this reluctance with this genre, since I love the few HR books I've read. Glad you liked the review, thanks chica! :D

    @Cecile: *blush* That's some way to make me feel happy, hon! :D Thanks for the praise! Love ya!!


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