Monday, April 29, 2013

SINS OF A VIRGIN by Anna Randol

Publisher:  Avon
Date published:  August 28, 2012
ISBN:  978-0-06-202579-1
Historical Romance
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher.


Madeline Valdan, a product of her upbringing, finds herself in prison until good fortune comes her way.  When an opportunity arises to erase her sordid past, she agrees to spy for her government, using her female wiles, talents, and training to steal secrets from the unsuspecting in the hopes of making a better life for herself.

She soon becomes a scandalous courtesan, making a name for herself throughout London, and ultimately shocks the ton by suddenly announcing her wish to auction off her virginity to the highest bidder.  Incredibly beautiful, it isn’t long before she attracts the attention of a Bow Street Runner, Gabriel Huntford, who is intent on hunting down his sister’s killer.

Gabriel, because of his skill and reputation for tracking down criminals from the darkest corners of London, is soon hired by Madeline to investigate the financial situation of each of the bidders, wanting to be sure each man has the financial backing for his bid.  Gabriel, seeing an opportunity to further his own personal investigation, although hesitant, finds himself reluctantly agreeing to work for this sinful, yet outrageously gorgeous woman.

But what begins as a business arrangement quickly turns into something more.  And Gabriel soon finds himself wanting to protect Madeline from her enemies...and outbid all other men so that he alone can claim her.

SINS OF A VIRGIN by Anna Randol is a well-written, well-plotted tale of murder and mayhem.  Despite being a historical romance, of which I am a lifelong fan, this story has a lot of suspense and mystique that will keep the reader turning pages.  This is a fun, interesting whodunit.

Randol has created strong lead characters for SINS OF A VIRGIN.  Madeline is beautiful, skilled at kicking butt, and highly intelligent.  A strong heroine.  Gabriel is as sexy as they come, also a strong, protective hero whose head is not turned at sight of a pretty woman, until Madeline.  I loved these two characters. 

SINS OF A VIRGIN is unique and original, and I find this an entertaining mystery more than a romance.  The fact that Madeline is not shy at baring herself to Gabriel and who is willing to give away her virginity to even a repulsive man who can help her achieve her own ends is what sets her apart from weaker female heroines.  Madeline is tough and smart enough to consider every option and what her future could be if she shows any sign of weakness.

When Gabriel’s instant attraction to Madeline surprises him, even he is strong enough not to get too involved with her, believing her to be something other than what she claims.  He is able to remain focused on what he wants, yet keeps himself on a business/professional level as well.  When he finally gives in to his desires, he still manages to remain clear-headed where Madeline is concerned.  He does not fool himself into believing she can be his, despite the way he feels about her.

The lesser characters create quite a balance of conflict and suspense in SINS OF A VIRGIN.  Randol does a great job of keeping the reader guessing about a lot of things, right up until the end of the story.  It was enough to keep me reading.

The friends Madeline has are intriguing in SINS OF A VIRGIN.  From the beginning, it is difficult to figure out just who the men are that seem so loyal and protective of Madeline.  And why.  As Randol slowly reveals bits and pieces of backstory related to their identities and Madeline’s secret past, the reader soon understands just how much Madeline has suffered and why she has made the choices she has made.

SINS OF A VIRGIN seems to be more of a murder mystery than a sexy romance, but I still enjoyed it.  Seeking answers to the mysteries is what kept me turning pages more than wondering about the romance between Madeline and Gabriel.  Regardless, there is enough excitement and intrigue to satisfy the reader on many levels.  Randol’s talent is undeniable, and I look forward to reading more of her work.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


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