Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Book Review: A Dusting of Syn by Melinda Barron

Title: A Dusting of Syn
Author: Melinda Barron
Release Date: 19 August 2008
Number of pages: 142 pages
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing
Genre: Erotic Historical Romance - Fairy Tale Retelling
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle store, Book Depository

Overall Grade: 4 stars

Novellus superbus!

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Goodreads appetizer: As the seventh son of a duke, Keran of Bristol never thought to have his own lordship. So when King Edward IV offers him a bride and a castle near the Scottish border, he is ecstatic. However, when he arrives at the country keep, he finds that His Majesty's court is not the only place where intrigue resides.

Syndra of Mardoon knew that after her father's death, her stepmother would never allow her to be anything more than a servant in her own home. Threatened with the death of her friend if she doesn't cooperate, she hides in the shadows while her younger half sister is introduced to the new lord as his intended.

With the scheming ploys put forth by her stepmother already in play, Syndra is reluctant to believe that the handsome new lord can set things right at Mardoon. But one touch of Keran's lips convinces Syndra otherwise, and she finds herself surrendering to him... mind, body and soul.

Guest review by Tanya

My thoughts: A young girl treated horribly in her own home-- the one she should be the 'Lady' of?

A wicked stepmother who rules the castle and underlings under her wicked little thumb?


Two stepsisters, one as rotten as can be, and the other who wishes she could free Syndra from her mother's evil treatment?


A sexy prince who sweeps in to save the day and rid the keep of the evil witch?

Not exactly. How about the youngest of seven sons of a former Duke. But, he does make a grand and very dominating entrance! :)

In this fairytale-ish retelling of Cinderella, author Melinda Barron includes only the very basic of some of the traditional aspects we correlate with the original, while also doing what she does best: giving us some seriously hot, erotic moments! Instead, she whips up a fun spin on the plot and additionally includes some very naughty and sensual characters that the original would never have dared to encompass! This is a fairy tale retelling made specifically for adults!

Syndra is the alternative Cinderella in A Dusting of Syn. Obviously, this is one of the first twists that we get -- the play on the name. She's still playing servant, still locked in the tower out of view, and still plays scapegoat and verbal punching bag to an evil stepmother and stepsister. But, despite it all, she remains strong and determined even though she's now seen "twenty winters" with very little hope to escape her enslavement.

Keran of Bristol has just been deemed Lord of Mardoon. Finally he would have his own lands, a castle, a wife, and hopefully sons, after wedding the eldest daughter of Mardoon, all thanks to, and at the order of, King Edward IV of England. The only problem is when he arrives at Mardoon, he is presented with his so-called future wife, Leora. He doesn't feel any connection with her at all (ie. sexual), and instead spies a servant peaking behind the backs of others, who he does.

Elizabeth, the evil stepmother, raises Keran's hackles immediately. Intuitively he knows something is wrong, especially whenever Syndra is seen hiding behind others and Leora is being pandered out by her own mother! Thank God this is one smart hero and doesn't fall victim to her deceitful and wicked ways. The only problem is, that when Keran finally finds out the true identity of Syn, and what Elizabeth has truly been up to since her husband's passing, Keran must fight harder to keep Syn, himself, and the others in the castle safe from Elizabeth's atrocious ways.

Anybody who loves historical romances with some serious amount of scorch is sure to enjoy this short read. It's filled with time period happenings -- such as servants, kings, arranged marriages, and even the lack of clothing and baths for servants. While the writing itself lacks historical 'thy's' or 'naes', the overall feel of the period is there, but still has a very casual ease in the way of creation and presentation. The author instead plays up the plot, and of course gives you a healthy dose of graphic sex, but still allows for a few activities taking place outside the bedroom.

The secondary characters who are not on the side of the evil stepmother are fun and enjoyable, and, of course, have no problem adding to the smexin' going on in the castle. The hero and heroine are both intelligent, three-dimensional, and likable. You can't help but admire Syn for all the beatings she keeps on taking, yet still remains fairly strong with just a little dip in self-confidence.  Readers who enjoy a very alpha, dominant male hero will get one in A Dusting of Syn. This is a 'get over here now' kind of guy. As for how far the sex scenes are taken in this book, there is very little outside of frequent graphic sex except for a few spankings.

Verdict: Like I mentioned previously, this is one fairy tale retelling that is made for adults only! You may not get pumpkins, glass slippers, or a royal prince. But you will be seduced, ravished, and romanticized! :)

Buy it:

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

After reading some of those charming and captivating fairy tales growing up, Tanya wondered why her fairy godmother had surrounded her with a never-ending supply of toads. Disheartened, she was surprised the day that her fairy godmother finally gifted her a prince -- albeit one with ADHD. But he was her manboy prince sent to finally give her her HEA. Well, more like HEAFN; With global warming there's only so many swishes and swirls a wand can make in a polluted atmosphere. You just have to take what you can get sometimes! After working for years with many princes and princesses in training in the governing lands called the 'classroom', she set off on a new yellow brick road called business management. Nowadays, Tanya lives in the entertaining kingdom called New Jersey and feasts her eyes on the enchanted land of The BIG Apple every morning, waiting to see and watch other people's dreams finally come true!

You can find Tanya at her blog Among the Muses.


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