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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Review: The Art of Sinning by Sabrina Jeffries

I don't think there's ever going to be a point where I DON'T love a historical romance by this author. Have you guys read this one yet? Is there an author that has yet to disappoint you? Share!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: July 21, 2015

The first novel in the Sinful Suitors series by New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries!

At St. George’s Club, guardians conspire to keep their unattached sisters and wards out of the clutches of sinful suitors. Which works fine…except when the sinful suitors are members!

American artist Jeremy Keane refuses to return home and take over his father’s business. He’d much rather sample bevvies of beauties abroad, in search of a model for the provocative masterpiece he’s driven to paint. When he meets Lady Yvette Barlow at a London wedding, he realizes she’s perfect for his work—and determines to capture the young heiress’s defiant spirit and breathtaking sensuality on canvas.

No stranger to scandal, Yvette agrees to be Keane’s subject—in exchange for his help gaining entry to the city’s brothels he knows intimately, so she can track a missing woman and solve a family mystery. But when their practical partnership leads to lessons in the art of sinning, can they find a bold and lasting love?

American artist Jeremy Keane journeyed to London in order to escape the pressure to take over his father’s business. Instead he found himself surrounded by his distant cousin and her family, all wanting to help him find happiness. As well meaning as they are, Jeremy just wants to find a muse for his latest painting, which he believes he’s found in Lady Yvette Barlow.

The sister of a jilted Earl, Lady Yvette is no stranger to being the subject of gossip. Spirited, intelligent and apparently much too tall for the men of polite society, she’s intrigued by Jeremy. She also thinks he might be able to help her in her search for a missing woman so she agrees to let him paint her, but only if he’ll help her gain entry into the local brothels. However, neither Jeremy nor Yvette counted on the painting sessions being so intimate or distracting.

The Art of Sinning took two secondary characters and made me fall in love right along with them! It also made me remember why author Sabrina Jeffries’ books are auto-buys for me.

He had so much more depth than what I had originally thought based on his scenes in How the Scoundrel Seduces. In that book Jeremy seemed to be little more than a fun loving rogue trying to avoid responsibilities. It was interesting to me how Jeremy hid what was really keeping him away from home and why he was avoiding a relationship with Yvette. There are some really great quotes out there about hiding behind masks. I think Jeremy fit most of them. I just love when a character surprises me with the level of emotional turmoil that they’ve hidden.

And yay for tall women! As silly and inconsequential as it was, I identified with Yvette’s height issue. I may not be tall by conventional standards but where I live, I tend to be the same height or slightly taller than men. It’s not easy and I completely understand the infatuation with a seriously tall man. Go Yvette! She had such strong intuition when it came to people and it helped her help Jeremy. In her own way she was quirky but still very much a titled lady with responsibilities. That she gave the slip to once in a while in favor of what was really important.

As a couple, Jeremy and Yvette had that instant physical attraction towards one another but it was sometime before anything really happened between them. I enjoyed the slower pace between these two, it gave me plenty of time to absorb Jeremy’s past and get used to the real man rather than the happy go lucky one he seemed to be. There wasn’t so much in the way of danger or villains here. To be honest, The Art of Sinning was a romance about letting go of past tragedy and embracing the new future that was ahead. I felt it was more Jeremy’s story than Yvette’s but it didn’t take away my enjoyment of their scenes together. Jeffries did a good job of showing how intimate and vulnerable Jeremy was through his painting as well as showing how sensual a sitting session could be between an artist and his subject. I’ll never see painting the same again!

The Art of Sinning set up what could end up being one of the best series Sabrina Jeffries has written. I loved the irony of a group of men, most of them scoundrels and rogues, banning together to protect their sisters, cousins, daughters and wards from men like them! From the beginning, I knew the idea was either going to succeed fabulously, or fail spectacularly. But even guessing at the outcome didn’t dull my anticipation for this book, nor has it dulled my anticipation for any of the upcoming books. The excitement was and still is about the individual journeys of the members of this club of *snorts* tarnished knights that has me both fascinated and rubbing my hands together with glee. These men are setting themselves up for some serious high jinks but I’m glad it was Jeremy Keane who started the series off. It gave readers a chance to revisit with characters from The Duke’s Men series, which I still don’t want to let go of. It was a bonus to be able to touch base with Dominic and Jane and Tristan and Zoe.

Another bonus for me in The Art of Sinning were the handful of scenes with Yvette’s brother, my new crush, Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough *insert sighs here* I’m such a sucker for tall, dark and troubled heroes. Surprisingly, it appears that Edwin’s heroine will be Yvette’s spirited, highly opinionated and secretive friend Lady Clarissa. In just a few sentences, Clarissa convinced me that she could possibly be the most entertaining heroine of the series. So, fingers crossed on that score. Then there was Jeremy’s sister Amanda. She was so brash and next to Yvette seemed like a bull in a china shop. Which of course meant that Amanda would earn a place on my list of interesting secondary characters. I hope she gets her own story too. She’s just too blunt and funny not to.

Based on what I read in this book, I could easily see myself having an internal argument as to which book is my favorite. The Art of Sinning was charming and sweet and introduced what could be a very amusing, stubborn cast of characters. I can’t wait to see what’s next for this new group. Edwin's book is next. I'll just sit here and daydream about him... *sighs wistfully*

Final Verdict: Jeffries balances out witty dialogue and an engaging plot with passionate love scenes and incorrigible scoundrels beautifully. I just can't say "no" to any of her historicals!

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