Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Book Review: Master of Sin by Maggie Robinson

Title: Master of Sin
Author: Maggie Robinson
Series: Book #4 in the Courtesan Court series
Release Date: 27 March 2012
Number of pages: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington Brava
Source: ebook provided by author for review
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Kindle store, Book Depository UK, Book Depository US

Grade: 4 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer: Andrew Rossiter has used his gorgeous body and angelic face for all they’re worth—shocking the proper, seducing the willing, and pleasuring the wealthy. But with a young son depending on him for rescue, suddenly discretion is far more important than desire. He’ll have to quench his desires—fast. And he’ll have to find somewhere his scandalous reputation hasn’t yet reached…

Miss Gemma Peartree seems like a plain, virginal governess—or so she hopes. No matter how many sparks fly between them, she has too much to hide to catch Andrew’s eye. But with a stormy Scottish winter driving them together, it will be hard to keep her secrets. Especially when Andrew feels he has found the woman who can restore his soul—one kiss at a time…

My Thoughts: Discovering and falling in love with Maggie Robinson's Courtesan Court series was love at first read when I got Mistress by Mistake the 1st book in the series as a Kindle freebie. Master of Sin is the 4th and final book in the series, and besides the normal excitement of reading a new instalment of this beloved series I was even more curious to read Master of Sin because Maggie Robinson decided to make its hero a previous almost villain, and I was intrigued to see how she could redeem that character and even make him sympathetic and lovable to the readers. I shouldn't have doubted because she pulled it off and even more!

In Master of Sin we learn more about Andrew Rossiter and the hardships of his life: how his own mother abandoned him and left him on the streets when he was only seven, how the man who took him off the streets abused him and all the immoral and despicable things he had to do in order to survive. But what redeemed Andrew in my eyes even more than my compassion for his sad childhood and hard life was that he was fully conscient of what was right and wrong and he was the hardest to judge himself. His self accusations and constantly taking the blame made it clear he was a poor man with an active conscience regretting the things in his past. I felt sorry for Andrew, because I thought with the upbringing and childhood he had it would have been a miracle if he had turned out differently. And with everything he went through I think he came out of it a better man. Nothing proves that he is a good man better than when Marco was left alone, he took him to safety and gave up his bachelor/gigolo ways to assume the role of father (which he did with much heart and care) without a second thought.

"You did what you thought you had to do. What that man trained you to do. But that’s not who you are, Andrew."
"You don’t know me."
"I know you love your son, more than most men do. No father I ever knew changed his son’s nappies or sang him bawdy songs to sleep. I’ve heard you." Andrew flushed.
"They're the only songs I know, I’m afraid."

Gemma is a wonderful heroine. She is so different from the usually polished and well mannered historical romance heroines, her unaffected behaviour and fresh honesty made me chuckle quite a lot:

"Does bloody anyone in this bloody place speak any bloody English?" the girl muttered.

Gemma is neither a beauty (we are reminded of this quite often) nor does she have any special accomplishments

She had neither pulchritude nor fortune, great beauty nor great intellect. What she had was determination, a stubborn pride, and a past of her own.

but through a better understanding of her character Andrew grows to find her beautiful, the most appealing woman he ever met. I found Gemma's temper her most endearing trait. She was really like an angry kitten with her claws out, never shy or afraid to get into an argument and fight Andrew tooth and nail, she was quite the belligerent petite woman, independent and headstrong.

He smiled, completely smitten, helpless to resist her even if she looked like she wanted to skewer him with a hatpin.
Marc chose that moment to call for her. “We can talk about this later tonight,” Andrew suggested, not realizing he’d been saved from a scathing set-down. No man was going to let her do anything. She didn’t need Andrew’s permission to make decisions. She would do what she wanted, and right now the temptation to shove him into the fireplace was strong. 

With Andrew's past and the torments of his soul and conscience Maggie Robinson had to delay the usual blistering tone of her novels a bit, but fear not: though the loving between Gemma and Andrew is tender and sweet at first, the heat is constantly there, the sexual tension between these two and especially as Andrew wants to do the honourable thing and not seduce Gemma will make your skin heat.

He closed his eyes. "What I feel for you is a bit more complicated than 'like.' You argue over the least little thing. You always must have the last word. But you’re a wonder with Marc. And an excellent dancer." He paused. "You taste like heaven."

What endeared Master of Sin to me was the light humour Maggie Robinson infused in the story, giving it some lightness besides Andrew's torment:

"You are [...] little, yes." His eyes raked her, and she felt the familiar frisson. "You would make a fine climbing boy."
"I'll keep that in mind if I need to seek other employment. You have not threatened to sack me yet today, but it’s still morning."
He ran a hand through disheveled golden curls. "There's no good way to say this. Gemma, will you marry me?"

Verdict: Master of Sin is so much more than an erotic historical romance novel. Its emotional depth and the exploration of Andrew's healing touched my heart and made me feel sorry for this man who had such a sad life until he got himself a family. If you are not afraid of a bit of emotional baggage and a seriously tortured hero you shouldn't miss out on Master of Sin, it is a wonderful story and a worthy ending to this great series.

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 8/10
Cover: 6/10 (somehow the cover model for Andrew looks like as if he was not an actual living man but a wax figure. And he looks much too sinister and dangerous as to how Andrew is described. I could picture Simon Baker as Andrew)

Order of the series:

Book #1 - Mistress by Mistake

Book #2 Mistress by Midnight

Book #4 Master of Sin
Book Depository - Amazon

Buy it:

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

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