Lord Of Sin
by Madeline Hunter, historical (2005)
Bantam, $6.99, ISBN 0-553-58730-7


This book has an orgy (although not in an Ellora's Cave way), pornographic artwork, and a cover promising me all kinds of thrills, but all I remember after reading this book is wanting to put my hands around the heroine Bride Cameron's neck and squeeze until I've released all that pent-up bile I've stored up while reading this book. The hero is fun, adorable, and naughty. The heroine, however, puts up a hard fight saying no to everything he says and does until he gets her to succumb, and then she'll say no to the next thing he'll have to work hard on getting her to agree to. In this manner, Lord Of Sin is a chore to read because Bride is making all kinds of "never shall naughty dongs of rakes and lips of mine touch" nonsense non-stop from start to finish.

Ewan MacLean cares only for women, wine, and his collection of erotic artwork until he inherits a title from his uncle and a deathbed vow of the late Earl of Lyndale that he is now bound to carry out. He's to make amends for the misdeeds of his uncle on the Camerons in Scotland and make sure that the Camerons are well-settled. Ewan and his valet Michael travel to Scotland where they find Bride Cameron and her three sisters with all kinds of secrets they are trying to hide from him. You see, Bride and her sisters have been surviving all this while by making and selling forged artworks using the plates they've inherited from their master forger father. Sometimes they also use counterfeit money they've made using those plates. A problem occurs when someone is clearly using a plate stolen from the Camerons to make money indiscriminately. The forged notes are shoddily made so Bride fears that those counterfeiters would be arrested soon and the Cameron sisters would be implicated in the crime as well.

The problem with this story is that Bride is saying no from the start. No, she will not let Ewan move them to some brand new house in Edinburgh. She does not want his money, although he can give her sisters settlements because Bride is Virtuous and Principled in that She Doesn't Need Charity way. However, I will probably respect Bride if her protests are more than just lip service and she has actually an alternative plan to counter Ewan's proposals. However, Bride has no plans. She's just a holier-than-thou windbag. Worse, it's probably clear to all but her that she cannot solve everyone's problems on her own.

But Bride doesn't get this. No, she will not accept Ewan's help. No, she will not sleep with him. Sad thing is, Ewan would have rogered her silly in that study barely days into their first meeting if he doesn't stop himself because for all her protests, Bride is that vexingly familiar heroine who cannot get a grip on herself. Inevitably, Bride has to accept Ewan's help, la-di-da, but that also means she will constantly insist that she's feeling guilt-ridden by "trapping" him into her problems or she's coming up with grand plans to make a martyr out of herself to "repay" Ewan. Yes, Bride will run away. Bride is not good for him. Naturally, after he's slept with her, she tells him that he cannot treat her nicely because she's not his mistress (he can sleep with her though, as long as he doesn't treat her like his mistress because she's too virtuous to be anyone's mistress - romance heroine logic at its finest there), she will not "ruin" his life by forcing him to marry her, blah blah blah.

Clearly Bride's hubris is much bigger than her pea-sized brain if she believes that the world revolves around her. The fact that Bride is always wrong or that she will end up doing what Ewan wants her to do despite her protests to the contrary makes her one big middle finger of a heroine. Oh, and did I mention that she's also a big fat hypocrite? I can go on and on about the ten thousand reasons and ways Bride must die, I tell you.

Ewan isn't a bad boy like Ms Hunter insists he is, he's actually a standard romance hero. Nonetheless, he has a great sense of humor and he sees the sillier side of life where it counts. He also eases into a life of responsibilities much better than he'd like to admit. Ewan is a fun hero to read about and he's also clearly a thousand times smarter than Bride who would happily push her own hand into a tank of piranhas if she thinks it will get people to believe that she is the best and most holier-than-thou person that ever walked the earth. I don't know what Ewan sees in Bride because he has to work her down from start to finish. The romance doesn't ring real as a result. In fact, I'd hesitate to call it a romance. Lord Of Sin isn't a story as much as Ms Hunter is doing her best to demonstrate how infuriatingly ridiculous Bride is. The heroine destroys any chance of Lord Of Sin being a fun read. In fact, Ewan has more chemistry with his valet Michael.

If you're anything like me and you cannot stand heroines who showboat non-stop about what virtuous people they are when they end up doing things to the contrary, maybe you should approach this book with some care. Lord Of Sin isn't badly written, far from it, and I believe this is actually the author's most light-hearted story to date thanks to Ewan and his mischievous sense of humor. It's the heroine who is the problem.

Rating: 52


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