I just finished reading Madeline Hunter’s Sinful in Satin and of the three books I’ve read so far in the series, this one is definitely my favorite. I have to admit, Jonathan Albrighton’s character has teased me for the first two books and I’m glad he had his own story.
Summary from Hunter’s website:
When famed London courtesan Alessandra Northrope passes away, her daughter Celia Pennifold inherits little more than a hopelessly contaminated reputation, a house in a middle class neighborhood, and an education that prepared her to take her mother’s place the way Alessandra intended. Celia hopes to make her own life on her own terms, however, and moves into the house only to discover one more legacy—an enigmatic, handsome tenant who knows her mother’s plans for her future rather too well.
Jonathan thinks he is on a simple mission to discover whether Celia’s mother left accounts of her lovers that might embarrass important men. Instead he finds himself embroiled in a mystery full of dangerous betrayals and secrets, old and new, that touch on his life as well as Celia’s.
I really enjoyed the story for a number of reasons. One, the story was delicious and had a lot of good twists and turns. Two, Jonathan Albrighton is very appealing – he’s a self-made man, protective, and very capable. Three, I have always been very curious about Celia because she seemed to be so worldly because of her mother’s upbringing. Fourth, this is the first time I have read a book about the daughter of a courtesan, as usually the story centers on the courtesan herself.
The story started simple: Find the list of her mother’s protector, if any, and make sure it does not get out. Jonathan was assigned to do so by his uncle Edward, who was the only person in his ‘family’ who recognized him from the start. Apparently, it’s not that simple. All your thoughts from the start of the book will be challenged, or the truth will just come out and surprise you. I don’t know if I was just distracted but I did not suspect all the twists at all. Don’t you just love books that take you by surprise, especially when you start feeling that you’ve read the same plot over and over?
If a guy like Jonathan Albrighton existed, women would be running after him by now, especially if he’s single. Aside from being all that, he has a great physique and he’s mysterious. Man, makes me think of Johnny Depp and David Beckham combined @_@ The revelation in the end about him and her was just truly marvelous. I’m glad they did end up together, especially since Jonathan never seemed to view her as a budding courtesan, but just simply as a woman. The only negative thing I found with him is that he makes me wish such men still existed :)) Ah, life.
In the first two books of the series (Ravishing in Red and Provocative in Pearls), Celia has already been portrayed as worldly and knowledgeable about such things. I initially thought she was a courtesan in the past, but apparently, she just received a very thorough and unusual training from her mother. I cannot imagine having such conversations with my mom!
The plot itself is unusual. These stories usually revolve around the courtesan, and not the courtesan’s daughter expected to be a courtesan herself. She was even up for “bidding” years before she ran away, although when she came back, men awaited if she would take up her mother’s mantle. I’m very glad about her decision because…well, she doesn’t seem to be the type who can do it successfully. Plus, losing a man such as Jonathan Albrighton would be such a shame.
Another character that has grown on me is Castleford. Normally, I wouldn’t be attracted to a character who seems to be steadfastly resolute in his decision to be on the decline. However, aside from his preference for daily dallying, which seems to be the norm in those days anyway, is the fact that he has proved himself to be a real friend to the three men, despite their growing apart over the years. Furthermore, he seems to be on the lookout for their welfare, despite his seemingly lax life. Lastly, if there was one thing I have learned from reading historical romances, men like that usually have a reason for living a dissolute life, so I’m really curious as to why he’s like that. Thankfully, the next book, Dangerous in Diamonds, is about him and Daphne Joyes. Based on the plot teaser, I’m thinking Daphne is not what she seems and something delicious will be unearthed in the next book. Or that’s just my wishful thinking? I hope not!
I am so grateful that all the loose ends and twists of the book was resolved! Not all stories are like that and just leave me unsatisfied. If you have been reading my other reviews, you’d know what I’m talking about. The only thing left unfinished is what Jonathan’s future will be (which I will not state here) but then even if that doesn’t happen, the book still won’t leave you hanging. I’m guessing that more about that part will be mentioned in the next book. At least, I hope so, because I enjoyed Jonathan and Celia as a couple.