Wedded in Sin
A Bridal Favors Novel
by Jade Lee
Berkley/Penguin August 7, 2012
E-Book and Mass Market Paperback 320 pages
Book received from author at conference. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions herein are my own unless otherwise noted.
The dazzling wedding fashions of A Lady’s Favor dress shop are guaranteed to make any girl the talk of the ton. But the brides aren’t the only ones falling in love…
With her parents murdered and her inheritance stolen, all Penny Shoemaker has left is her job working for A Lady’s Favor dress shoppe. But that’s not enough for her to support herself or her young brother. Her only chance to regain what is rightfully hers rests with a peculiar but brilliant gentleman with a weakness for damsels in distress.
Samuel Morrison is a dispossessed younger son searching for his place in the world, though the one thing he is good at is solving mysteries. So when Penny’s predicament lands at his feet, he decides to spend his time helping her out. But she fills more than his time—she fills his heart. And all he has to do now is solve the mystery, win the girl, and create a life not only for himself, but for her as well… JadeLee.com
I met Jade at Authors After Dark in August. I was struck by this beautiful woman wearing fabulous corsets and a ready smile. She also seemed smart, friendly, hilariously funny, and possessed of a delightfully dirty sense of humor. One evening at an event I happened to sit next to her and embarrassedly admitted I had not read her work. She kindly handed me a book, and, I snatched it up.
Sadly, as you may know, my TBR pile is frightening. And so the book languished on the mountain waiting its turn; it’s pretty cover often trying to lure me from my appointed reads.
My first thought after the first few pages was, “This is Brilliant; it’s a Sherlock!” The same idea reappeared over and over through out my read. It was hard to put down and kept me up way past my bedtime with its many twists and sexual tension and hot hook-ups. I loved how Jade just goes all out on the writing; she holds nothing back and just says what she wants and I was left with no uncertain idea of meaning. She was definitely “in the zone.” Also, her historical setting and points seemed pretty accurate in the details.
The book is filled with interesting characters who are often very different than your typical depictions of a particular person, for example, the constable is charming and caring. But least typical of all are Samuel and Penny. Samuel is sweet, but not exactly innocent second son. He is also a genius, in a kind of genius savant way. Like a pleasant version of Holmes or a congenial “House, MD.” He notices everything and makes those Sherlock-style deductions. He’s also handsome. But, as a second son of a not terrible well-off Baron, he is limited by his allowance.
Penny is not the typical Regency tradesman’s daughter. She is privately educated, and a brilliant cobbler at a time when a woman couldn’t be a cobbler. Her father was allowing her to do his work as he took credit. But, the Regency was a time of change and a time of things staying the same as well. We now look back at that time through Victorian lenses, but I am pretty sure they were not as stuffy as we think. The hook ups here aren’t at all stuffy; they’re quite inventive.
The plot is also complex and involves Samuel coming to the aid of Penny when she loses her home. She is thankful but Jade doesn’t make her so simple as to blindly trust him. He earns and loses her trust as he realizes she is not a “typical” female. There’s a complicated mystery to solve which Samuel, drawn to a beautiful damsel in distress, offers to solve.
She’s smart. And, talented and limited by her gender wherein tradition disallows women from being shoemakers. Have you noticed that a lot of historical romances share this theme?
The writing brings the characters to life through their thought processes and the dialogue which has both main characters thinking on their feet. I loved how Samuel’s thinking about her changes throughout the novel. He’s so kind, but he becomes even more kind, As they get to know each other it becomes banter which adds some humor to what could be a Dickensian tale. The relationship changes both of them, as all relationship does.
I really enjoyed the book and think it is a gem. I wish I had found Jade Lee earlier, and I highly recommend this story!