Lady of Sin
On paper, it’s all here: Intelligent, likable characters; a not-overly “done” plotline; and a smooth writing style. So, why did I never really care about the characters here and – even more puzzling – why was my interest never really caught? To be totally honest, I don’t have the answers.
Set in the 1830’s (though the author doesn’t provide a date so I can only tell you that because of the connections to previous books), Lady of Sin tells the story of defense attorney Nathaniel Knightridge and the widowed Charlotte, Lady Mardenford. As the story opens, Charlotte virtually barges her way into Nathaniel’s bachelor rooms, ostensibly in order to solicit his support for her efforts in reforming the divorce laws. But, even though she may not even admit it to herself, Charlotte also seeks out Nathaniel to console him on the day that one of his former clients is executed. Not long after her arrival, Nathaniel (who is drunk) and Charlotte share a passionate encounter that is interrupted by the arrival of Nathaniel’s aristocratic father.
Nathaniel and Charlotte are famous in their social circles for not liking each other – but, hey, in romance-land we know what that really means, don’t we? Turns out that Nathaniel and Charlotte were once intimate at an orgy held at the home of Charlotte’s old friend. The virtuous Charlotte had attended the gathering following her widowhood due to a mixture of curiosity and desire, but never expected to experience her own encounter. Though Charlotte is aware that her lover is Nathaniel, he is unaware of the true identity of the masked woman he will never forget.
Nathaniel and Charlotte have further opportunities to explore their attraction when he finds himself believing that an orphaned young man who bears a strong resemblance to the widowed Charlotte’s brother-in-law is actually connected in some way to the family. This particular plotline is, quite frankly, a bit meandering and might well be the key as to why I never got more caught up in the story than I did.
So, there you have it. Charlotte and Nathaniel explore their mutual attraction and Nathaniel occupies himself in discovering the truth of the young man’s birth – a truth that might well rock Charlotte’s safe and conventional world.
So, if the plotline was a bit meandering, what about Charlotte and Nathaniel? To be honest, while I liked them both, I never felt engaged by them. In fact, I never really worked up any kind of feelings about this book. On the positive side, this means there are no TSTL moments, awkward prose, or Big Mis. On the less than positive side, it also means that there was simply nothing here to really engage me.
With two recent less than satisfactory experiences with Madeline Hunter, I think I’m going to have to check out for a while. As all of us know so well, time is valuable these days and I’ll be waiting for reviews of her upcoming books by my fellow reviewers before investing any of mine in the author again.