by Madeline Hunter

January 2004
ISBN: 0-553-58592-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Mass Market Paperback

Fleur Monley, a do-gooder and idealistic spinster, is back in England and in trouble. Dante Duclairc, a reckless and broke libertine, is on his way to France as he is in trouble, too. Again. She needs protection and he needs money. What better way to achieve their goals than agreeing to a mutually beneficial marriage of convenience. Honored by Fleurís trust in him, Dante strives to change his ways and prove himself worthy. Not an easy thing to accomplish when Fleur seems involved in shady investments and tempts him with her beauty and innocence.

Unlike Madeline Hunterís previous releases, The Sinner has a darker feel to it. Itís more intense and thus surprised me, as I had believed Dante to be light and charming instead of being more like an enigmatically and beautiful fallen angel. Dante the beautiful. Dante the irresistible. Dante the rake. With all the other dashing and passionate Hampstead Dueling Society members featured in Madeline Hunterís previously Regency releases, Dante Duclairc had always been the least likely to win my affection and garner my interest. Too vain, too spoiled and too handsome is what I thought him to be.

However, Madeline Hunter creates characters with hidden depths and Danteís she kept hidden very well. In The Sinner she brings forth his kind and loving side and portrays him as a worthy hero. Sensual and mesmerizing. Itís wonderful to read how he seduces Fleur into overcoming her fears. Giving her the freedom and strength to find and embrace her own courage and to fight for their happiness.

And Fleur deserves all the happiness she can get. First she comes across as too saintly but soon she proves herself to be a woman with purpose, with dreams and the guts to follow them through. And even though Dante might still not me my favorite Hampstead Dueling Society member, he definitely is the right man to stand beside Fleur.

Once more Madeline Hunter satisfies any expectations, no matter how high they might have been. Careful characterization, balanced pacing with surprising story twists, impeccable research, natural dialogue and some very sensual and exciting encounters turn this story with a very interesting historical backdrop, a heroine to admire and a hero to fall in love with, into a very irresistible read.

Savor every sentence, every page of this intriguing, suspenseful and very sexy romance.

Reviewed in December 2003 by Kris Alice.

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