I’m in trouble. I thought that reading Madeline Hunter’s Lady of Sin after a short rest would restore my enjoyment of her work.
But I’m dismayed to find myself skipping all the steamy interaction between the H/H, except one scene and that I quickly skimmed. What do I do? I’m reluctant to drop this talented author from my autobuy, yet … the plot developments are starting to get a little predictable. I will concede, however, that this is a much more enjoyable read than Lord of Sin, mainly because I’m already familiar with some of the characters, but that could also work against it.
I had already guessed the parentage of the street urchin suspected to be the long lost first son, and therefore rightful heir of the Mardenford title, and by the middle of the book, accurately predicted the outcome of the confrontation between the hero, Nathaniel Knightridge and the heroine, Lady M’s brother-in-law. So the only thing that kept me going to the end was to see if all my hunches were right. And they were … much to my disappointment.
I have to remind myself that this is a historical romance, not romantic suspense or thriller, so I shouldn’t expect surprising twists that would otherwise bend the focus of the story, which is the relationship between Nathaniel and Charlotte.
The other saving grace was the hero, Nathaniel, and his quest to unmask his mysterious goddess (Lady M in disguise) from an orgy held before his friend, Ewan (Lord of Sin) got hitched. I agree with Rosario (who, by the way, has a fab photo blog of her sojourn in the Land of the Rising Sun) that this little guessing game went on just long enough. I mean, Nathaniel is intelligent so it can’t be too long drawn out, or else he’ll appear incredibly dimwitted and that would bore the readers. I love the way Hunter worked in his discovery and how he rattled Lady M with his revelation at a Duclairc family gathering that he unwittingly gatecrashed.
Nathaniel was a joy to ‘watch’ in The Romantic. His oratory skills, passionate defence of the innocent, and this time round, his championing of Lady M’s cause plus the witty verbal sparring with her kept boredom at bay. Lady M, on the other hand, other than her fervent lobbying for women to have the rights to divorce abusive husbands, seems to be a shadow of her formidable self that I came to admire in The Romantic. I want that spitfire from The Romantic back.
I think my higher expectation of this book after reading the excerpt at the end of Lord of Sin is also partly to blame. I had already built up my hopes around the characters, especially Lady M. She stole the limelight from her sister in The Romantic, and I was, frankly, quite piqued that she didn’t clue herself in to some of the evidences that were already staring her in the face.
That said, I do admire how Hunter’s characters handle matters in a mature and realistic manner. There’re some compromises they both have to make to bring about a satisfactory ending that isn’t quite HEA. In this case, the right thing to do would be to expose the Baron Mardenford and see that justice is done by the rightful heir, but that would also bring disgrace and shame to the two innocent parties, Lady M and her nephew Ambrose. So what Nathaniel negotiated works out fine in the end for all concerned.
On the whole, though the plot development was predictable, and the steamy scenes a little overly lush, the H/H was quite engaging. If you’ve been following the Duclairc clan’s story, this is a well-rounded ending to the series.