Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: One Wicked Sin by Nicola Cornick

Lottie Palliser was once the toast of the Ton but now is notorious for being divorced—and penniless. Shunned by society and disowned by her family, the destitute beauty is forced to become a courtesan in a Covent Garden bawdy house. Refusing to oblige her customers, Lottie is about to be turned out onto the streets when a dangerous rake saves her with a scandalous offer...
Ethan Ryder is the illegitimate son of an Irish Duke and a circus performer. He rose through the ranks as one of Napoleon's most dashing cavalry officers—until his capture landed him in England as prisoner of war. Now on parole, Ethan is planning his most audacious coup yet. But he needs to create a spectacular diversion. And having infamous Lottie as his mistress will lull everyone into thinking he's busily bedding her instead of plotting deadly treason. Both Lottie and Ethan believe that their cool heads and selfish hearts will give them the upper hand in their ruthlessly passionate union. Yet their unexpected bond will scandalize even them.
Beware of scandalous women...

Sequels typically don't measure up to the first book of a series.  That's my experience anyway; no matter how much I want to like them on their own, for their own measure and delight, it never happens.  That can be true of One Wicked Sin.

We met Lottie Palliser (nee Lottie Cummings) in Whisper of Scandal.  She was Joanna's vapid friend, who became Joanna's husband's lover for a short while.  She is bold, seemingly wanton, and perhaps without a code of common decency (she also throws herself at Joanna's new husband).  When we requaint ourselves with Lottie, she's in a house for courtesans, divorced by her husband for her affairs, so she offers herself in trade with the only skill she has: she's good on her back.

I knew this would be a 'hard sell' to sympathize with Lottie given her behavior in Whisper of Scandal.  The problem is that we don't see Lottie actually suffer for her sins, so to speak.  She's been a courtesan for several months, but the story picks up when Ethan arrives, looking to claim her as his mistress because of her scandalous reputation.  And, boy, does she ever live up to it.  

Along the way, as happens in romance novels, Ethan and Lottie fall in love.  I wasn't unhappy that she found love, just wanted to see her struggle a little bit for it.    

(A very special thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of One Wicked Sin.)

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