Thursday, July 8, 2010

Review: Sinful by Charlotte Featherstone

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 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 it could destroy everyone he loves. A sin, he fears, not even the love of a good woman can take away…

After reading Addicted, I couldn't wait to crack open Sinful.  Ms. Featherstone's prose so lush, her heroes so tortured -- it makes me absolutely giddy to read more books written by her.   We first meet Matthew, Earl of Wallingford, in Addicted, and he's such a coldhearted, aloof bastard.  There's a distinct edge to him which we certainly learn more about in Sinful.

Wallingford isn't like his friend Lindsay.  Oh yes, he's damaged goods, angry, smug, almost drowning in self-hate, but he hates others too: his father, his step-mother.  So he lives life in total debauchery, until a mugging leaves him temporarily blinded and in the care of Jane Rankin.

Jane is intrigued by Matthew and how someone of such obvious quality ended up in the hospital where she works at night.  When they meet in real life once Matthew has recuperated, she doesn't meet Matthew; she meets the Earl of Wallingford. 

Tension is high between them, yet Jane is able to break into Wallingford's heart.  He is better for it, and worse for it.

While not a page-turner like Addicted, Sinful does grip the reader, specifically with all the peeling away of Wallingford until he's simply Matthew.  And I was so pleased to read the additional epilogue available to Ms. Featherstone's newsletter subscribers.

(A special Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Sinful.)

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