Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Review: Sin & Sensibility by Suzanne Enoch

Valentine Corbett, Marquis of Deverill, has been enlisted to keep watch over Lady Eleanor Griffin, only sister of the Duke of Melbourne after she has given her brothers a written declaration of independance. Eleanor is the baby of the family & has squirmed under the collective thumbs of her brothers for years. She wishes to explore society on her own terms & without the constant interference of her brothers. Valentine, the only non family male the brothers trust, has been asked to spy on her & keep her safe from scandal. The problem being Eleanor asked Valentine to help her assert her independance & discover who she truly is outside of her family identity.

Eleanor starts off acting & sounding like a tantruming two year old & Valentine hides himself behind a facade he created years ago. Valentine has managed to hide himself so well, he isn't sure where the act ends & his authentic self begins. Eleanor for her part decides that what she is really looking for is inner strength & the ability to make her own decisions. Her efforts to become her own woman set off a great deal of inner turmoil & growth on Valentine's part. Of course, the biggest problems from Eleanor's point of view are: enforcing her declaration while abiding by its strictures and choosing an acceptable husband when only Valentine will do. For Valentine the issues are: decieving Eleanor and moving beyond the false facade he created, ie: will he be strong enough to grab onto the love Eleanor offers or will he continue along the path he has created?

When Valentine & Eleanor finally succumb to their desires the emotion courses through them so powerfully. I was so happy for them! Frankly, this is one of the most evocative & touching scenes I've read in a long, long time. Ms. Enoch is superb at revealing their individual reactions & motivations. Too, the aftermath is well drawn. Each character's reactions ring true to the person they were evolving in to (or from, for that matter).

I must say, I nearly put this down because I really, intensely disliked Eleanor & Valentine's only redeeming trait was his green eyes. I've a terrible weakness for men with green eyes. I persevered, though, & I'm glad I did. Valentine has beome one of my favorite heroes, ever (except maybe Jamie..). He needed a good woman & Eleanor needed a man who would help her be herself. Perhaps rakes really do make the best husbands!

Ms. Enoch's second title in this series, Invitation to Sin, will be released in early December.

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