Pros: The reader has plenty of opportunities to get a good picture of who these characters are.
Cons: Several historical romance cliches act as plot elements in this book.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Upon the death of her mother, a famous courtesan, Celia travels to London to settle her mother’s estate. Even after her mother’s debts are settled, Celia should still be able to keep a small second house in town, where she hopes to help a friend expand her business. But the house comes with an unexpected tenant: Jonathan Albrighton. Jonathan has a reason for keeping his lease upstairs; there may be a link between Celia’s mother and French spies. He’s here to either prove or disprove these rumors. As Celia considers following her mother’s footsteps to settle the last of her debts, she begins to realize that Jonathan might be the only man she wants to seduce.
I have to say, after reading a lot of romances where the hero and heroine are threatened by some sort of danger I enjoyed reading a romance that was slower paced. Watching affection quietly grow between two people over a period of time is a heartwarming thing, especially when those two understand each others’ circumstances and perspective because they share similar life experiences.
That leads me to the one thing that took away a good deal of my enjoyment from Madeline Hunter’s Sinful in Satin. It felt stuffed full of cliches that I’ve seen in plenty of romance novels. From the courtesan’s daughter that doesn’t want to follow in her footsteps, to the courtesan’s daughter who wants to find her father, to the illegitimate son that just wants acceptance from his father’s family, to other elements that I won’t spoil for you, I just felt that there was almost nothing plot-wise in this book that I hadn’t seen before.
None of these elements was so outrageous that it would make me put the book down without finishing it, but as I kept reading I mentally eye-rolled a few times as they added up. And although there were cliches, Celia and Jonathan definitely some of them in ways that I haven’t seen often, if ever.
I did enjoy the fact that neither Ceila nor Jonathan are socially isolated. That allows us to see more of their personalities than just watching them interact, and it certainly helped me feel that they were well-suited to each other in ways besides their attraction. Their circles of friends also allow for plot complications that add depth without adding unnecessary drama. Their friends are also a lot of fun. (Jonathan’s friend the Duke of Castleford’s means of helping Jonathan acquire an interview had both my husband and I rolling with laughter.)
If you’re looking for a quiet, heartwarming read and don’t mind a few plot cliches, then this book is definitely worth a read. The gentle growth of feelings between Jonathan and Celia is a joy to watch unfold, and the secondary characters can be absolutely hilarious. And although there are several cliches present, they’re put together in a way that I’ve never seen before, which makes the plot interesting to watch as it unfolds.
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