A LADY WITH A SECRET
The Ravishing Miss Burke has everything a young lady could want–beauty, status and suitors lined up just to beg for her hand. Until a blackmailer from her past holds her future for ransom.
A MAN HELLBENT ON REVENGE
Colonel Rupert Delacorte, Viscount Darling will go to any length to ruin the woman responsible for his beloved sister’s death. But the Ravishing Miss Burke is nothing like the icy murderer of his waking dreams–she’s nothing but a bluestocking with a shocking secret she’ll go to almost any length to keep. Even succumbing to his sinful seduction.
This is a revamped version of Elizabeth Essex’s second ever book; I have not read the original version, nor any others in the series. A Sense of Sin definitely, absolutely, 100% works as a standalone read; I loved that we weren’t dragged to random meet-ups with past characters to coo over babies!
What appealed to me about the blurb were the themes of deception and revenge. I like a bit of angst, and the hero tricking the heroine and then needing to ask forgiveness when he learnt the truth seemed like my sort of thing.
Also: this book is set in the Georgian era, before the oh-so popular Regency, so that was a nice chance of pace.
I was a bit surprised when the revenge/deception plot wrapped up before the halfway mark. This book definitely did not go in the direction I was expecting, which turned out to make it interesting. There was more going on in the plot than it originally seemed. I like it when books in this genre are a little more complex and a little less heavy on the clichéd scenes and settings.
I was a little concerned about the heroine being interested in botany. Not that I don’t like heroines with hobbies or even careers, but too many authors are using them as shortcuts for characterisation, as a way to mock and ridicule women who were more “standard” for their era. The “I’m not like other women” trope I hate so much.
This was not how it worked in this book. I think it was handled really well, and the heroine managed to be historical and multi-layered. She had genuine depth and background in her interests, and she also managed to behave like a decent person in society.
I am not a fan of woman-versus-woman plotlines – meaning that I have no problem with a villainess in a story, but when it’s one woman being spiteful and nasty to another for no good reason, I have issues. I dislike it especially when the villainess is a young, attractive blonde (romance writers need to stop with this sort of stereotyping!), as is the case here.
We have enough people demonising women and mocking women’s friendships and relationships; we don’t need it in books.
Essex writes beautifully, with a definite historical tone to her work – most of the time. There were quite a few blatant Americanisms, and “suss out” is an expression from around 1970, not the 1790s!
The version I read had a number of typos; I’m not sure if this is fixed in the version for sale.
Overall this was an enjoyable read. I wonder how much has been changed since the publication of the original version.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.