Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Review: The First Sinners by Kate Pearce (e-novella)

Click here to buy the book on Amazon

I've read the first few books in Kate Pearce's House of Pleasure/Simply series (up to Simply Insatiable) and I was impressed with how Kate Pearce mixed the erotic elements to the historical romance story, especially in the earlier books in the series. When I discovered that the author was embarking on a new series, The Sinners Club, I was curious by how Pearce would write a spy series --

The First Sinners is an e-novella that details how The Sinners Club came to be. Ian, Earl of Westbrook, works as an undercover agent for the Crown and he has been assigned to uncover an information network between English peers and the French. Ian becomes a houseguest at Pelly Manor, pretending to court the younger, more beautiful Pelly daughter, Margaret -- but it is the older sister, Faith who truly catches Ian's interest.

Pearce portrays the two sisters in such contrasting manner: one, a bookish bluestocking and the other a social climbing, title-hungry beauty, which struck me as quite a conventional romance device. It wasn't much of a challenge for the hero to prefer Faith over her sister Margaret -- but this is where the conventionality ends: there is more to Margaret than meets the eye and I would want to read more about her. She pretends to be shallow and stupid but she's actually quite clever and machinating. Like her sister, she can see right though Ian's pretense of courtship.

"...I suspect he came down here to avoid something in London rather than actually court me."
- loc 400

* * *

"Honor is for men. Women have to use what God have them."
- Margaret, loc 952

At every turn in the story, Kate Pearce demonstrates a fresh perspective in romance by challenging standards: I loved how Faith was so jaded and unimpressed by Ian's grand romantic gestures and how she appreciated more the honesty and forthrightness that he shows her.

"It doesn't look very safe," Miss Pelly observed.

He held out his hand to her. "Don't worry, I'll be with you the whole time."

"Which means we might both fall to our deaths," she muttered as she clambered across the crates toward him.
- loc 732

* * *

He held the candle high. "Do you want to take my hand?"

"I'd rather you use it to find your way, sir."
- loc 742

At 87 pages, I was surprised at how complete this story was: the idea of smuggling information from the coast of England to France isn't new but Pearce executes this part quite nicely. I appreciated it that the author didn't make the intrigue overly complicated and that she was able to resolve it in the length of her novella. Ian is in Cornwall to investigate, possibly out fellow peers are traitors to the Crown. His job becomes even more complicated when he becomes involved with Faith, who seems to be the most likely person involved in this treachery. Pearce narrates enough of everything and provides enough backstory that makes The First Sinners a satisfactory, quite fast-paced and very engrossing read.

This is a work of erotic historical romance, but, unlike her Simply series, the scenes in The First Sinners have been toned down a notch. Nevertheless, Pearce shows that she is a master of ... sizzle. It's amazing how well she writes sex!

Overall, this is an excellent start to the Sinners Club -- one that I'll definitely be following.

The First Sinners is currently FREE on Amazon. To find out more about Kate Pearce and her books, click below:


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