Sunday, August 28, 2011
To Sin With a Stranger
When their mother dies and their father starts drinking and ignoring them, the seven Sinclair siblings raise hell and earn the reputation as the Seven Deadly Sins. When their father finally notices what is happening he kicks them all out of his house and sends them on to London with only enough money to scrape by and tells them they won't be welcome back unless they earn respect and a decent reputation. As the oldest, Sterling appoints himself as guardian of his siblings and is determined to find a way to earn enough money for them to survive. He is big and fast and strong and decides that entering a prize fight is the quickest way to this, but on the night of the big fight a beautiful woman steps in between him and his opponent to try to raise money for war widows. He wins the fight but he cannot get beautiful Isobel Carrington out of his head. When Isobel sees the prize fighter at a ball and discovers that he is an earl she is furious and humiliated and when he corners her and asks for a dance she slaps him across the face, causing quite a scandal among the ton.
Knowing the ton is focused on them Sterling places an anonymous bet at White's that he will marry Isobel before the end of the season. Isobel does not ever want to see Sterling again but her father, who had ignored her since her own mother's death, decides it is time she marry and starts to throw her at Sterling. Realizing that the notoriety is a good way to get donations for her charity she decides to run hot and cold with Sterling to keep up interest. The men of the ton bet against them and try to keep them apart but the women are determined to throw them together and Sterling and Isobel find themselves together quite a bit. Being surrounded by Sterling's confidence makes Isobel feel more confident in herself and Sterling finds that the bet he placed on their future could threaten his chance at happiness if she ever finds out. Sterling wants to spend the rest of his life with Isobel, making her happy and helping her with her charity, but when the truth comes out, Isobel will have to trust in her feelings and in Sterling to give both of them a chance for true love.
The first part of the book moved fairly slowly for me, but as I got farther into it and started seeing how great the characters were for each other I breezed through the book. Isobel was a do-gooder heroine with her charity for the war widows, but because she herself had lost a family member and her fiance it meshed well with her personality. I wish there had been something more to her than her charity because it seemed like her motivation for everything was the charity until she fell in love with Sterling. In addition her charity served as a way to show how great Sterling was because he anonymously donated to her charity because he felt embarrassed that he couldn't give her more. It was a beautiful moment to read because it showed how vulnerable he was and how he needed Isobel in his life. Sterling was a really great hero because he took care of his siblings and was articulate about the problems in his life and not in denial about what he was going through. He was caring and generous with Isobel and proved that he deserved her in his life and that he would be dedicated to making her happy.
Because of both of their ulterior motives Sterling and Isobel did spend a lot of time together and it was clear that they had a lot of common interests and a very strong connection with each other. I especially liked that they complemented and brought out the best in each other and it was the little moments they spent together that made it work. Isobel's actions after she discovered about the bet were moving and showed off how strong she was and I admired Sterling's sense of responsibility for his siblings and his cool headedness when things did not work out the way he wanted. There was some sex between them, pretty hot to my surprise, and they were obviously very sexually attracted to each other which I enjoyed. I also really enjoyed learning about Isobel's relationship with her father and felt like it was a nice addition to the story. I could have done without the prizefighting but I understand that it aided the storyline along. The book obviously sets up the next books in the series with Sterling's siblings, but I liked that they were just secondary characters and did not have their own romances being set up.
Rating: A very enjoyable and fast paced book with two compatible characters who worked so well together and proved that they deserved each other.