Monday, November 1, 2010
BOOK REVIEW: One Wicked Sin by Nicola Cornick
*MY TOP PICK FOR OCTOBER
Of the book I read for pleasure or review
HQN Books 368 pages
Oct 26 2010 by Nicola Cornick
BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK:
Once the toast of the ton, Lottie Cummings is now notorious for being divorced. Shunned by society, the destitute beauty is lured to become a Covent Garden courtesan. Until a dangerous rake saves her with a scandalous offer.
The illegitimate son of a duke, Ethan Ryder rose to the ranks of Napoleon's most trusted cavalry officer—until his capture landed him in England as a prisoner of war. Now on parole, Ethan is planning his most audacious coup yet. But he needs Lottie's help to create a spectacular diversion. Yet their pact ignites a passionate bond that may scandalize even these two wicked souls….
This is book #2 in a trilogy 'Scandalous ladies of the Ton', but this book stands alone, quite happily. I really enjoyed this read.
When reading a historical, I like learning of a point in history I was not aware of, like British prisoners of war were allowed to live in 'parole towns' small towns in the English countryside where they were given their freedom provided that they gave their word – their parole – that they would not try to escape. Our hero, Ethan Ryder, is such a man. He is the illegitimate son of a Duke and an Irish circus performer, and with his Irish blood, is inspired by the beliefs and principles of the French Revolution, becomes a decorated cavalry officer for Napoleon's army.
He was captured and sent to the parole town.
Ethan decides he will follow some of the other officers and get himself a mistress/courtesan to keep him company and service his needs in the small town.
Enter the heroine, Lottie Palliser. She 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. I will bet this happened a lot back in the 1800's. Lottie is not exactly thrilled with her job, she is about to be tossed into the streets by a madam when Ethan arrives and makes her an offer she really cannot refuse.
She follows Ethan to this quaint little town, where he promises her clothes, money and a cottage in exchange for her sexual favors. Seeing Ethan is quite the handsome specimen, how hard can this be?
Lottie did not plan on losing her heart to this rogue. Ethan is very cool and standoffish, except in bed. He also awakens a deep hidden passion in Lottie, as both have been hurt in their pasts, making them guarded. Their few nights in London before they left for the town was in a word...magical. And love begins to take root, though neither would ever admit it, even to themselves.
But as soon as they arrive in the town, Ethan puts his walls back up around his heart, so Lottie does the same. Complications ensue, as it is revealed that Ethan himself has a 15 year old illegitimate son he fathered in his late teens, and the lad Arland, like his father, was captured serving in the French Army. How far will Ethan go to see to his son's safe release?
Enter Lottie's brother, who was conspicuously absent when she was going through all her problems. He is in the British Army, and approaches Lottie, playing on her sense of family, to get her to spy on Ethan, as they suspect he is up to something.
Which he is.
A lot of twists and turns some I suspected, others I didn't, but what is at the heart of this book, is two damaged people, who think they are unworthy or not deserving of love, finding their way to each other.
Granted, a lot of the misunderstandings and such could easily have been resolved with a honest, open discussion between the two, but I chalk it up to their innate sense of protecting their hearts. And the fear of trusting anyone, or loving anyone, ever again.
The romance was aching real, and Ethan was a dashing, damaged sexy hero.
Nicola has crafted a rich, well-plotted, fascinating and deeply sensual read, and Ethan will capture your heart.
4 stars out of 4 for the book
Kover Kudos: You know, I am really getting tired of these 'female bare back' shots. The colors are kind of dull as well. Not very interesting to me. Where is Ethan? His bare back I wouldn't have minded seeing!
1 and 1/2 stars out of four for the cover