Sinful In Satin
by Madeline Hunter
Paperback: 368 pages
Available: September 28, 2010
Genre: Historical Romance
Celia’s quiet life ends when her mother, a famed London courtesan, dies, leaving her a small house in town-and a darkly handsome, reputedly dangerous tenant.
I’m so glad that I ended up liking this book! I enjoyed the first book in the series, Ravishing in Red, but I was rather unimpressed with the second book, Provocative in Pearls. I had a deal with myself that this would be my tiebreaker on whether or not to continue the series. I was lying to myself, of course! How could I not read the fourth book when I heard it was about Castleford? I do have to admit that I am relieved that I’ve liked two out of three of these books, though. It makes me confident that I’ll love Castleford’s story as much as I think I will. ;P
Wow, I really wasn’t expecting a heroine like Celia. I knew her circumstances from the previous books, but I thought she’d end up being toned down for her own book. What can I say, everyone else does it. How was I to know that Madeline Hunter would make her character feel so real? Kudos to her, though! I was definitely impressed.
Celia didn’t spend any time with her mother, Alessandra, a famous courtesan, while she was growing up. But when she was sixteen she was brought to live with her. Alessandra began grooming Celia to walk in her footsteps and Celia didn’t react how you would expect in a romance novel. She took to it like a duck in water. She appreciated the thought of having pretty things and a nice house. She took most of her mother’s lessons to heart and had a very upfront attitude about pleasure. She embraced it and learned to focus on her own pleasure even if she didn’t really like who she was with. It was just business. Here’s a little hint of her view while she’s talking to Jonathan from page 131.
“People always build some story around pleasure. The story of marriage or the story of love, or at least a brief tale of commerce.”
Her pragmatic attitude was extremely refreshing. She may have chosen to walk a different path than her mother, but she didn’t reject it out of repugnance for the life. I really liked that, because she knows growing up who she is and what her place in society is going to be. It was nice to see a character who didn’t martyr herself for her pride and honor.
All that practicality and acceptance was in every aspect of her personality as an adult. She was just so grown up. It felt like I was reading about a real person. Sometimes I was a little turned off by her choices, but I still liked her because it made total sense for her personality.
Jonathan was another interesting character. He really turned out to be such a nice guy. I wouldn’t say that he carried the relationship, but I really feel that without him Celia wouldn’t have ended up in quite the same arrangement. She was too aware of her place in the world to dare ask for more. Luckily he was there to insist that she was worth it! I really liked how things turned out in the end. I also Awwwww’ed when I found out about his role in her past when he talked to her mom. That was such a good guy thing to do.
I really appreciated how things turned out for both Jonathan and Celia with their families. While it might not satisfy everyone who desires perfect endings, it satisfied me for its very lack of one. It just made it feel more authentic. Especially when a certain something at the very end was predicted to take so long. There’s no magic snap of the fingers here to solve all their problems.
Where I think this book really shined over the other ones in the series is in the friendships between the men and the women. We’ve met all these characters before, of course, but by the very nature of the girls’ stay with Daphne we never felt like we knew them very well. Everyone just had too many secrets. Here they feel like puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly. They talk and they laugh and they gossip. I really like it. One of my favorite quotes in the book comes from one of those conversations. On page 149 Verity (from Provocative in Pearls) and Daphne were teasing Celia about the possibility of her and Jonathan getting closer.
“…did I mention, Verity, that Mrs. Hill tried a new kind of trifle the other night? It had a bit of lemon in the cream.” “It sounds delicious,” Verity said. “I do favor trifle myself, so I must ask her for the recipe. I wonder if trifle is called trifle because it was once served on trifle? That is what my father called our everyday pewter when I was young. Trifle.” “How interesting. One could serve trifle on trifle to a man at dinner, who later trifles with–” “Could we return to the topic at hand?” Celia interrupted pointedly. Daphne looked innocent. “I did not realize we had left it, Celia.”
It cracked me up! But it wasn’t just the women who seemed like more of a real unit. The men were more abrasive and joking with each other too. I think we’re finally getting to see them act like a close group together.
The only complaint I had was that the pacing felt a bit slow in the middle. I still enjoyed it, but it broke the momentum enough that I couldn’t love it.
I cannot wait until next May so I can finally get my hands on the next book! The author has been teasing me with little fascinating snippets of Castleford’s life and personality since the first book! He was almost unlikable in the first book, but something about him was just so compelling that he stole the show every time he came on scene. I’ve loved watching him grow with each book. His attitude on Tuesdays cracks me up! I have to end this review before I write a book myself, but let me leave you with some great quotes involving Castleford that I found in this book. Maybe it’ll whet your appetite enough to want to read about him too. 😉
page 247: He ran his fingers through his hair. And froze. “What the hell–” He groped around his head, trying to make sense of what he did and did not feel. “I had my man cut it while you slept,” Castleford said. “It looks much better now. He did a fine job of it.” Jonathan glared at him. “You go too far.” “I can’t be seen around town with a man whose hair is so unfashionable. You will thank me once you see it. The women will be swarming you now.”
page 282: “Rather suddenly Castleford did not appear very drunk at all. Sly intelligence showed in the gaze he settled on Jonathan.”
page 342: “They should have used me during the war, not you, Albrighton. I have a knack for this investigating business. My analytical powers even impressed me this week.” “Being a duke probably helps too.” “In investigating? Probably so.” “Also in impressing yourself, and in convincing yourself you have the right to interfere.”
page 343: “So I went there. Hence my sore ass. I did not want to waste too much time on this and thought riding cross-country would be best. I asked some polite and discreet questions and–” “You are incapable of being discreet, so you are already turning this tale to make yourself look better,” Hawkeswell said.
Books in this series:
- Ravishing in Red (The Rarest Blooms, #1)
- Provocative in Pearls (The Rarest Blooms, #2)
- Sinful in Satin (The Rarest Blooms #3)
- Dangerous in Diamonds (The Rarest Blooms, #4) (2011)
Other reviews on GoodReads