As I just stated in my previous entry, I'm trying to turn over a new leaf and broaden my reading horizons. When I first started really reading romance, I read nothing but historicals (usually the very euphamism/purple prose happy awful ones). Then I grew up, got sick of those and moved on.
About a year or so ago, I was introduced to the writing of Lisa Kleypas by Kristie J. Lisa Kleypas made me realize there are some very excellent historical romance authors out there who specialize in well-written, wonderful romances.
Now, on to my review for Three Nights of Sin. Here's the back blurb-
THREE NIGHTS OF DANGER...
When her brother was arrested for murder, the ton shut its doors to Marietta Winters. No one would help her save him from the gallows--no one but Gabriel Noble. In exchange for taking the case, Gabriel requests three favors from the desperate young beauty, and Marietta has no other choice but to make a deal with the sinfully handsome devil.
THREE NIGHTS OF PLEASURE...
Searching for clues in the rough underbelly of London, Marietta must masquerade as a shamelessly wanton wench--much to Gabriel's delight. But Marietta swears to herself that her passionate moans are just for show. She could never fall in love with such a maddening, arrogant, seductive stranger...or could she?
THREE NIGHTS OF SIN...
Night after night, she satisfies his wicked cravings. But soon Gabriel wants more from Marietta than just three nights of sin--and even a sordid secret in his past won't prevent him from trying to possess her forever.
First of all, I found the back blurb to be very, very misleading. Yes, Marietta's brother is arrested, she goes to Gabriel for help & he asks her for 3 favors in exchange for his help. But, the book isn't as...tawdry as the back blurb comes across.
This is why Avon books drive me nuts. They always seem to sex up the blurb 10 times more than they need to. If they'd just stick to the actual story idea, they'd do so much better (IMHO, anyway).
Marietta is desperate when she finds her way to Gabriel Noble's doorstep. Her younger brother has been arrested for murder, her elder brother is drinking his life away, and her home is...well, she's at the end of her rope. She shows up at Gabriel's home late on night and after seeing him, well, she's a bit stunned. He's a beautiful man and he has this way of carrying himself that totally distracts her from the reason she's really there.
Now, I've gotta say, I really enjoyed the character of Marietta. She's represented as pretty plain. She's not ugly, nor is she a beauty. Instead, she's the kind of woman who nobody really notices. But, she's not stupid, she's not a wuss, and she's quick-witted. All of these qualities are things I enjoy in my heroine's and it's what attracts Gabriel.
Mmm...Gabriel. What a hottie. *fans self* Dark, with green eyes. Yummy! He's a man of many facets and many secrets. He's not afraid to use Marietta to get what he wants &/or needs. But, he also never crosses the line to being a completely unsavorable man either.
Where this book shines is the prose itself. The chemistry between Marietta & Gabriel is apparent almost immediately. There's a lot of one-upmanship between the two as Gabriel tests her & Marietta fights back. It's all in the sexy dialogue and the reactions of the two of them towards each other and this passion that they can't seem to fight their way out of.
When they make love for the first time...it's perfect. Marietta (in typical historical fashion) is a virgin, but the way the love making is presented is beautifully done. The dialogue between the two of them is just wonderful as they get to that point. I was going to give you a bit of it, but I think you should just read it for yourself. It's sensual and sexy, but also kind of bittersweet in the end.
The murder mystery is compellingly done. Ms. Mallory throws quite a few people at the reader who could be the true murderer. I have to admit, I was actually rather surprised at who it ended up being. I'm usually pretty good about figuring it out and so the surprise was quite nice actually. :)
As for the sordid secret...boy, that was a twist. I kind of started getting an idea of what it was about a third of the way into the book, but when it was fully revealed...well, wow! It's a twist that really isn't seen all that often in historical romances, especially with male characters. Very much an "Ah-ha!" moment for me. :)
The book overall was just very well written. Sexy, fun dialogue, a nice fast pace, a spunky, intelligent (not TSTL...hallelujah!) heroine, and a hot hero. An intriguing mystery and a couple of twists. Can't go wrong there. All in all, a very satisfying read.
My Rating-A solid B+
PS. Pages 322 to 330...wowzer! That's all I'm going to say. :D