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REVIEW: Lord Sin by Kalen Hughes

Dear Ms Hughes,

book review It won’t take people long to realize that this book is something different. It’s not just that it isn’t a Regency or that it’s not about vampires and that it doesn’t have any Navy SEALS littering the narrative. It’s a Georgian English historical, and I don’t think there can be too many of those, that features an experienced heroine, and IMO, a hero who might not be as quite strong as she. Yes, what I said. Something different.

I can understand Ivo’s initial anger at George. Six years ago he challenged a man to a duel for her honor and he’s been made to pay for what he did, even if she never asked it of him. Now he wants some kind of payback and he’s pissed that his efforts to keep her name unsullied are, in his viewpoint, being thrown away by her as she saunters around prizefights and takes lovers. How dare she! Mrs. Georgianna Exley, on the other hand, is totally unaware of his feelings and astounded when he reveals them to her. Shows how the same event can be seen in totally different ways.

When he bargains with her for six nights of her favors, one for each year he was in exile from England, he’s getting his own back while she fondly imagines she’s just scratching an itch. Because George is no virgin widow! Major huzzahs. In fact, she’s experienced and not afraid to show what she wants or embarrassed to go for what she wants or is willing to do for him. Much to Ivo’s amazed delight. Sex with George is a revelation. The sexual scenes are hot without being ridiculous. Not too long, not too purple, while it’s evident they’re having fun and enjoying themselves. Each is attentive to the needs and pleasure of the other. The sizzle between them sparks off the page.

George is the kind of woman a lot of other women probably hate. She’s got men hanging off the chandeliers of her townhouse. Oh, not for any kinky sex but merely because so many of them show up at her place there’s almost no room to put them all. She can joke with them, hunt with them, ride to hounds with them, shoot as well as they do yet is still feminine. Yet I noticed a line where she realizes she’s ignored the women of the ton and needs to make her house calls. One must keep in the good graces of the leading ladies or risk their censure. George is strong but not strident. She does things most women wouldn’t do (even -gasp – smoking) yet none seem beyond the capacity for a woman unlike broadsword wielding medieval women.

Ivo is a bit brooding and emo but I kind of liked seeing a woman truly take charge, be the slightly stronger one. I’m not sure I could believe George falling for a man who ended up beating his chest and bellowing commands, demanding she assume a subservient role – be more like a normal woman. I remember he even despairs of this after the resolution of the villain stuff when he thinks how much easier it would be if he’d fallen for a “normal” woman, after which he seems to shrug his shoulders and accept that he hasn’t. He talks about convincing her that she’s “his,” and does toss around a few terms of ownership but mainly to himself and by book’s end, I think he’s accepted that she’s going to either agree to marry him as an equal or it isn’t going to happen.

Now for a little sand in the Vaseline. I thought through a lot of the book – yes, they’re in lust but are they falling in love? Ivo has possessive feelings, is afraid for her and mad at attempts on her life but …..I don’t know if I’m convinced beyond you telling me they’re in love. Does Ivo really come to appreciate the woman George is? I think he does finally realize he can’t boss her around or issue orders and is smart enough not to forbid her to see her male friends. But I’d like to have been just a teensy bit more sure that he hasn’t merely accepted that she isn’t going to change.

Okay back to the happy thoughts. George’s mastiff is great – you’ve got the guarding instinct, size, drool, his aging in the epilogue. Unfortunately they don’t live to be very old.

The book has a great period feel as seen in the clothes. Busks, vivid colors for men, embroidery and passementerie on men’s clothes as well as women’s, wigs, hoops, George’s pocket. And do I remember men’s red healed shoes or is that from another book? I loved it all.

The realization of status in this world – in horses made available at inns, George’s thoughts on the society invitations Ivo has received, love of wit, renting Vauxhall.

I loved, loved, loved the scenes at Astleys and the performance of Hamlet! What a riot. I also loved the attention Glendower pays to his tenants and staff. Noblesse oblige. I like the way George handles the issues with the children. Very maturely but with sensitivity to their feelings.

Sorry, sand time again. I did wonder if any mention would be made by George of the fate of poor Maeve. For a while it seemed like the loss of her maid was going to be a “ain’t no big thing” thing. The villain is singularly inept. I knew his appearances weren’t supposed to be comedic but they did take on an evil Snidely Whiplash tone. The villain and dealing with the villain stuff dragged ending of the book down slightly.

I hesitate to mention this as you supplied me with a doc.file but there were lots of typos. Nice for niece, heard for herd, dropped letters that change words. I hope these were corrected in print copy.

As for the lack of dialogue – yes I noticed it but mainly because I’d read the other reviews which mentioned it. It didn’t bother me but it might appear to some to slow down the action of the story. I actually liked it as we the readers do get into their heads and get to know everything they’re feeling. It gave me the feeling that I was almost in their shoes.

Long time readers here might be aware that epilogues are things I usually treat with disdain. It was therefore with delight that I saw there is actually a reason for this epilogue – the reunion with the Marquess – and it’s not sappy! And the characters haven’t changed from what was shown through the body of the book. Wow. Just wow. It leaves me happy. B

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

36 Comments

  1. GrowlyCub
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 15:11:50

    I’m glad to see others review it. I did on my LJ site as well and here were my impressions:

    “I read this in one sitting and really enjoyed the story, but wish it had been longer. I especially would have liked a bit more fleshing out of how George became a ‘Lady Corinthian’, and how and why her husband, Lyon, died. I wanted to learn more about her relationship with him and how the events in Paris 6 years earlier shaped her view of Ivo, since she hadn’t given him any encouragement at all as she was in love with her husband. I also wanted to know who the guys were with whom she did the ‘one night only’ deed after she became a widow.”

    And are they still part of the crowd that hangs out at her house?

    Did you wonder about any of these things, Jayne? Or was I the only one?

  2. Sabrina
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 16:15:15

    I believe I will put this book under the TBR pile. I am partial to English Mastiffs since I have one and my 200lb Moose is at my feet sleeping:)
    Thanks for the review!

  3. MaryKate
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 16:34:38

    I read Lord Scandal and loved it. I think Kalen has a fantastic voice. I missed picking up Lord Sin.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Kathy
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 16:40:39

    Your review has intrigued me – one more book onto “The Pile” – thanks!

  5. Danielle
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 17:01:26

    Loved Loved Loved this book!?!?!?

  6. Jayne
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 17:46:36

    Danielle, are you asking me if I loved it or telling me you did? Am confused with the mixture of ? and !

  7. Jayne
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 17:48:29

    MaryKate, you can always pick up the ebook or order the print online. Me luvs online shopping though it does cause my “Pile” to grow, as Kathy says.

  8. Jayne
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 17:49:56

    GrowlyCub, I did wonder about Lyon, about their relationship and such. TBH, it didn’t cross my mind to wonder if any of the one night standers were among the hangers on at her townhouse. But now that you mention it…

  9. Jayne
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 17:54:35

    Ah Sabrina, you do go for a big breed of dog. Here’s a story for you told to me by a dog friend of mine. Someone she knows through her kennel club breeds mastiffs. Usually he has between 10-15 dogs and rotates letting them stay in the house for the day. One day, he arrives home from work to notice his front door open and a strange car in front of his house. Cautiously he proceeds inside. Finally after wandering through the house, he arrives at the back and discovers two armed burglers, backed against the wall with 3 of his mastiffs sitting in front of them. As the police were hauling them off, he finally just had to ask them why they hadn’t just shot the dogs and escaped.

    Their answer…..

    “We were afraid it would only piss them off.”

  10. Sabrina
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 18:37:34

    Jayne, LMAO! I have heard many stories of burglers vs Mastiffs. I live on an Air Force base in Alaska, never have my doors locked unless I am going to be gone and Moose is with us. I would not want to be on the receiving end of a disguntled Mastiff..although for a Mastiff to actually attack it would have to be a life/death situation, mostly they just intimidate and hold a bad person(like your story) with their size waiting for their owners to come home. It would take to much energy for them to do anything else..they are very lazy;)

    I actually fell in love with the breed after reading about them in various historical romances.

  11. Karen Scott
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 18:41:37

    This sounds good. Sticking it on my wishlist.

  12. Jill Myles
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 18:58:44

    Men’s red heeled shoes were also mentioned in Elizabeth Hoyt’s THE SERPENT PRINCE. :)

  13. Jayne
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 20:04:40

    Karen, I promise it’ll be better than those two awful fiction books you just suffered through. Of course, reading slightly-out-of-focus stereo instructions would be better than those two books sounded….

  14. Jayne
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 20:09:39

    Oh, now I see the reason behind Moose’s name! Perfect. And I’d always put my money on a Mastiff vs a burgler any day. My borzoi is gorgeous but I’m afraid he’d only hop off the sofa and watch with interest as someone made off with my silver. But come to think of it, he did follow one workman around my house one day and scared the bejesus out of the guy through his sheer size.

  15. Jayne
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 20:15:10

    Yes, I do remember that now, Jill. I know La Heyer had them in some of her Georgian books as well as Patricia Veryan (I think) and Lynne Connolly (I know). I just love the image: red heels, powdered wig and small sword!

  16. Val Kovalin
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 20:23:08

    I really like the title, Lord Sin. That’s memorable, and titles are so hard to do.

  17. Janet W
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 22:47:12

    I love historicals, both Regency and Georgian as much as the next guy (gal?) and LOVE that suddenly Freddy from Cotillion is this month’s Beta Hero flava but why the swipe at Navy SEALs littering the landscape? There are some awesome SEAL books out there: start with Suz Brockmann’s Unsung Hero and just keep reading … I’m just saying, loving books is not a zero sum game: we can love “A” genre and “B” genre and all the way to “zed” genre without dissing one or another … hope that’s not too argumentative but I like ‘em all IF they’re well written, compelling books!

  18. pdf collection
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 01:06:21

    Lord Sin is a quick read for those who like sensual stories. The plot is light and the characters delightful.

  19. Ana
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 03:42:54

    I absolutely loved George. It seems we are getting more and more incredible heroines these days (see Joanna Bourne's Spymaster's Lady and Loretta Chase's Your Scandalous Ways just to mention a couple) . I love books set in Georgian times , they have such a different feel, almost like anything is possible. I loved Lord Scandal too.

    and I adored how towards the end of the book, they have a conversation in the lines of The Taming of the Shrew, my favorite Shakespeare play.

  20. Jayne
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 05:01:23

    Janet I was swiping at the three most overused (IMO) settings/character types in Romance today. Yes, I admit to deliberate swiping because I’m tired of Regency Dukes, Navy SEALs and vampires being shoved down our collective reading throats. I know not everyone agrees with me on this as other posters have taken me to task for being down on so many Dukes but hey, it’s my review and I get to say what I want. ;)

    I do agree with you that there are some awesome SEAL books out there and, once upon a time, I devoured Suz’s category books along with everyone else. And then everybody else began churning them out and you couldn’t go a month without 5 new SEAL books staring down at you from bookstore shelves.

    Maybe now the ground isn’t littered with them like popcorn on the floor after the movie is over and we can go back to, as you say, well written ones.

  21. Jayne
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 05:05:04

    PDF, this is a fast reading book. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. You know how some books, no matter how good they are, seem to take forever to finish? I like savoring as much as the next reader but sometimes a girl wants to see that some progress is being made. “Lord Sin” gave me progress and an entertaining story.

  22. Jayne
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 05:07:22

    Ana, I love your choice of heroines.

  23. Kristie(J)
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 05:30:28

    I thought this one sounded familiar and checked my spread sheet and AHA!! I have both her books in the TBR pile. Score – I don’t have to buy them since I already have.

  24. Jayne
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 06:01:48

    She shoots, she scores! At times I wish I took the time to record all my book purchases since I can’t tell you the number of times I used to come home from UBS and only then rediscover the same books in a TBR pile somewhere. But I’m a lazy ho and not well organized.

  25. Erastes
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 07:31:20

    I don’t normally read het romances these days but your review on the accuracy aspects of the book have intrigued me, I’ll certainly get this from the library at least.

  26. Victoria Janssen
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 07:55:25

    I loved the historical detail in this book as much as the sex scenes. Is that kinky?

    I loved the sequel as well. I am really, really hoping there will be more.

  27. TracyS
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 10:46:14

    But come to think of it, he did follow one workman around my house one day and scared the bejesus out of the guy through his sheer size.

    We had a collie/shelty mix (looked just like Lassie). She was a sweetheart of a dog. Little kids would pull her tail, try to ride her etc and she would just sigh and lay down. But one day a repairman came to the house to fix something when my mom was home alone. That dog followed that guy around with her mouth right by his ankles. Scared the crap out of him. When he asked my mom if the dog was mean she said, “no. I’ve never seen her do this. I guess if you don’t make any sudden moves towards me you’ll be fine.” When the repairman left, she found a sunny spot, layed down and took a nap! LOL

    Regarding the book~it sounds very good. I may have to look for it.

  28. Jayne
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 11:40:04

    I used to have a collie. Not the smartest bear in the woods but he was one of the sweetest dogs around. I love the look but the coat would put me off of ever having another. It’s funny how dogs can suddenly get protective when they’re not usually that way. Perhaps yours knew something could have been up and decided to put an end to any funny business.

  29. Sabrina
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 11:49:13

    Scared the crap out of him. When he asked my mom if the dog was mean she said, “no. I've never seen her do this.

    Dogs can sense things we cannot, if Moose were ever to do that, I would ask the guy to leave and I would reschedule. We had a guy come over to take my hubby out for guys night, our Mastiff at the time started pacing the house and when this guy got near me the hackles went up, teeth started showing, whole nine yards, I asked him to leave and wait in the car with everyone else….he was arrested 2 weeks later for domestic violence and had a long history of it that none of his friends knew–within a year was discharged from the military for repeat domestic violence.
    Well Meme sure did pick up on something!

  30. MCHalliday
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 12:22:10

    Love tales with dogs. And enjoyed the comments about dogs.

    My Maltese, Basil, is leary of most men and goes right for the crotch. I’ve always wondered, how does he KNOW that is the best place to target?

  31. Jayne
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 13:24:31

    I've always wondered, how does he KNOW that is the best place to target?

    Cause dogs just know.

  32. MCHalliday
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 13:52:15

    Dogs just know…thankfully, my huge Bishon doesn’t. He ripped open the thigh of a trespasser – the drive gates have two warning signs as my dogs are protective of strangers – and I cannot imagine the horror if his target was the crotch!

  33. Lynne Connolly
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 16:29:44

    Yes, I do remember that now, Jill. I know La Heyer had them in some of her Georgian books as well as Patricia Veryan (I think) and Lynne Connolly (I know). I just love the image: red heels, powdered wig and small sword!

    Oh yes. I have to admit that the thought of a man in lavender satin, with red-heeled shoes and a sword by his side is a big turn-on for me and one of the first reasons I fell in love with the Georgian period. What, you thought it was the labyrinthine politics? Well they have their place, but you know, big strong man who isn’t afraid to play with his sexuality – ooo baby!
    They have to be big strong men with a definite alpha streak, though.

    Anyway, the height of the fashion for red heels was around 1764, if you look at the fashion mags of the time. They were definitely town wear, and nobody really knows where the idea came from – maybe, like Jean Paul Gaultier, they just did.

  34. TracyS
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 23:23:22

    Dogs can sense things we cannot

    I agree, but this time it was just “my lady is home alone, be protective” because this guy had been fixing our stuff for years before this incident and in fact, he was at MY house last year (crap, he’s been in business a LONG time!). No arrests, no funny stuff. Just a protective dog I guess.

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