Alec Knight, the smooth-talking rakehell in One Night of Sin may not come across as a likely Knight in shining armour to damsel-in-distress and key witness to a murder, Becky Ward, but he sure had a few surprises that help acquit him well in the end and won him the true love that he has been searching all his life.
One Night of Sin is the sizzling 6th instalment in the Knight Miscellany series by Gaelen Foley, a rare storyteller who captivates romance readers with emotional tales that touch the heart and soul. I have been following the series after reading an earlier novel of hers, ‘Prince Charming’.
From her first story about the oldest Knight brothers, Robert Knight, the Duke of Hawkscliffe – The Duke, I was hooked on the adventures of this family of variously sired siblings, modelled after notorious Lady Oxford’s ‘Harleian Miscellany’.
In this serial debut, the Duke forms a scandalous alliance with London’s most provocative courtesan, Belinda Hamilton, to uncover the truth behind the mysterious death of his ladylove (or so he thought). Their risky charade turns into a dangerous attraction, and both must be willing to throw out conventional notions of respectability to finally have a chance at the love that’s staring them in the face.
My favourite scene from the book is the Duke’s proposal to Bel (pg 392-396), right in front of a theatre audience watching the play Richard III. Hawkscliffe burst into the theatre on a white stallion just as the foremost actor of that era uttered the famous line in that play:
“A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”
and then he proceeded to propose to Bel right under her box, with roses and all. The story ended with the lovebirds riding off into the stars.
No matter how many times I read that book over and over again, that particular part of the story always manages to bring tears to my eyes. It’s the most touching proposal I’ve read of in a book, and the die-hard romantic in me just melts.
Subsequent instalments Lord of Fire, Lord of Ice, Lady of Desire and Devil Takes a Bride were equally engrossing on their own.
‘Lady of Desire’ offers a glimpse into a world that most romance authors rarely use as the setting for their stories. The slums and back alleys of London with all the accompanying darkness and seediness of criminal reality make for an unusual background to this story and some fascinating reading. ‘Lord of Fire’ plays out in the dangerous world of international espionage and is another great read. ‘One Night of Sin’ takes on the favourite vice of the Regency period – gambling, and into it is woven a conspiracy to overthrow the Russian monarch Czar Alexander I.
What drew me to Gaelen Foley is not just the intriguing storylines, but her complex and engaging characters, the intricacy and depth of her plot and her elegant prose. You read her not for the sensual scenes and description, but rather for the poignancy of the emotions that’s just bubbling over in all her books. She is definitely a keeper.
Before I sign off, here’s a word of advice to would-be gamblers:
A gambler is nothing but a man who makes his living out of hope.
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