Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires by Sophie Barnes
Publisher & Release: Harper-Collins, April 28, 2016
Time and setting: 1820, England
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Length: 389 pages
Heat Level: 2 Flames
Rating: 3.75 Gold Crowns
Welcome to Thorncliff Manor, where London's elite mix, mingle, and may even find their heart's desire . . .
There are thousands of things Christopher, Viscount Spencer, would rather do than hunt for a bride, especially since experience has taught him that women are not to be trusted. Then he finds the intriguing Lady Sarah scrambling around in Thorncliff's conservatory and he is instantly charmed by her passionate nature. But why is she so intent on avoiding him?
Lady Sarah would make the perfect bride for a peer—if not for a tarnished past that she's hiding from the ton. A stay at Thorncliff Manor was meant to help her plan for her future, not fall in love. Yet Christopher's kisses are irresistible, his gallantry enticing. When her secret stands to be revealed, will the truth ruin their dreams of happiness?
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This is the second book I have read by Sophie Barnes. The reason I decided to purchase Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires was because it was a finalist in the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence contest. I must say, I am enjoying the books and the competition must have been fierce. So far I have read four of the entries and all of them have been noteworthy. While this is the least favorite of the ones I have read, I did enjoy this book.
Lady Sarah hangs her head in disgrace. Two years ago, she allowed a rogue to seduce her and she has been paying for her indiscretion ever since. Her parents shun her and have arranged a marriage with the detestable Mr. Denison, a man her father’s age and far beneath her in rank.
She arrives at Thorncliff Manor, an exclusive destination for the elite of the ton, where she meets Mr. Denison for the first time so he can pay her court for a fortnight before announcing their engagement.
Christopher, Viscount Spencer, and his family are spending three months at Thorncliff while their home is being renovated. While strolling through the conservatory, he spies a young woman crawling around on the floor, searching for her pet hamster. Their eyes meet and the attraction between them is combustible.
Will Sarah be able to do her duty to protect her sisters from scandal and marry the despicable Mr. Denison, now that she has met the man of her dreams, or will she break down and tell Lord Spencer her secret and pray he will still want her?
Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires starts out well and pulled me into the story. The couple meet at the end of the second chapter and the chemistry sizzles between them and stays ignited throughout the rest of the book. While the premise of a manor home, which is in essence what today would be a resort, is intriguing, I do not feel it is very realistic for a regency setting. Nonetheless, this is fiction and I could overlook that aspect of the story.
Lady Sarah is the kindest, and one of most considerate heroines I have encountered in quite some time. She is willing to sacrifice her chance of happiness to protect her younger half-sisters from scandal and honor her father’s less than honorable solution to the dilemma of her ruination.
She does suffer from very low self-esteem, but that is expected because in her day nothing could be worse than a young woman who has lost her virtue, even if it was to a manipulative seducer. While she does rehash this a bit much, it was understandable. Unfortunately, this slowed the pacing down in the middle of the story a lot.
I liked Lord Spencer’s character a great deal from the start. He is an honorable man, a good son and a great elder brother. He suffered from betrayal with his first love and is now skeptical of love. I enjoyed his internal conflict over his attraction to Sarah. His willingness to trust her was surprising, but when he learns of Sarah’s disgrace, it was understandable he would not handle it well.
Overall, this is an enjoyable read, once one makes it through the sagging middle. If you are looking for a romance with an unusual twist, then you will enjoy this book. The chemistry and banter between Sarah and Christopher are well worth it. Happy reading!