(Sons of Sin #1)
by Anna Campbell
Mass Market Paperback, 385 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Forever
Will a week of seduction...
Desperate to save her sister's life, Sidonie Forsythe has agreed to submit herself to a terrible fate: Beyond the foreboding walls of Castle Craven, a notorious, hideously scarred scoundrel will take her virtue over the course of seven sinful nights. Yet instead of a monster, she encounters a man like no other. And during this week, she comes to care for Jonas Merrick in ways that defy all logic—even as a dark secret she carries threatens them both.
...Spark a lifetime of passionate surrender?
Ruthless loner Jonas knows exactly who he is. Should he forget, even for a moment, the curse he bears, a mere glance in the mirror serves as an agonizing reminder. So when the lovely Sidonie turns up on his doorstep, her seduction is an even more delicious prospect than he originally planned. But the hardened outcast is soon moved by her innocent beauty, sharp wit, and surprising courage. Now as dangerous enemies gather at the gate to destroy them, can their new, fragile love survive?
Sidonie Forsythe agrees to replace her sister in repaying a gambling debt owed to Jonas Merrick and it's an unusual obligation. Jonas despises her sister's husband who is his cousin and requiring his wife to spend a week with him in his bed is the ultimate revenge. However, when Sidonie shows up on his doorstep instead, the game changes.
Jonas is the ultimate tortured hero having had his face disfigured and scarred in his youth and labeled a bastard after his parents' marriage was determined to not be legal. Sidonie is his perfect foil as she is neither intimidated or repulsed by him. Their banter is incredibly clever and when they eventually come together it's just about combustible. Be prepared for some pretty steamy and erotic love scenes as these two are highly sensual people. They bring the best and worst out of each other.
The writing is pretty extraordinary with sophisticated dialogue, almost an archaic voice reminiscent of the era. The use of alternating, multiple points of view in third person narrative provides immediate insight into the characters' reactions to each other, which really worked well for me. Sidonie and Jonas are intelligently developed and their emotional reactions to each other were always consistent with their characterization. The additional conflicts presented by Sidonie's sister, Roberta, and her husband, William who is also Jonas' cousin, served the story really well, providing intrigue but never detracting from the main crux of the story. When their relationship becomes challenged, I felt their anguish and suffering as if it were happening to me, being completely absorbed in their saga.
I loved this well-written and touching story, even though I thought Sidonie's initial resistance was a bit protracted and felt tedious after a while. However, the payoff was huge once the story progressed. It's also a variant of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale with a sensual twist. I'm anxious to read more by this author and am definitely signing on for the next book in this series.
(I received an ARC from NetGalley)