Three Nights of Sin
may have been my first foray into historical romance novels written by Anne Mallory, but after only a few pages I knew it wouldn't be my last!
Though the novel's premise wasn't particularly original (self-sacrificing girl in dire straits throws herself at the mercy of a powerful man for the greater good of her family), I found that the plot was just dark and twisty enough to keep things interesting. I appreciated that Mallory wasn't afraid to bend the norms and explore the seedier side of the ton usually reserved only for the male gender in this genre. It was a bold choice, but one I definitely think paid off.
For me, the highlight of this book was Mallory's leading characters. Marietta Winters was sweet and compassionate enough to be endearing, but had a healthy dose of sass and backbone which kept her from being a cookie-cutter leading lady. I have to admit that it's rare for me to find aspects of my own character reflected in the characters typical of this genre, but I found myself snickering at some of Marietta's antics because they were so reminiscent of what I would have done in similar situations.
Once again breaking from the traditions of the genre, Mallory's leading man wasn't a member of the nobility, but a sexy self-made man named Gabriel Noble. Tall, dark, and handsome, our somewhat cynical hero has a strong moral compass and a protective streak a mile wide -- all extremely attractive characteristics. Mallory also does a fabulous job of making Noble just domineering enough to make a reader's stomach clench deliciously when this characteristic is displayed, but not so much that a modern woman would roll her eyes and want to slap the "Me Tarzan, You Jane" grin right off of his face.
And the chemistry between the two leading characters?! Off the charts.
In terms of her writing style, Mallory's at the top of her game. Unlike some romance authors who expend considerable effort describing posh settings and extravagant clothing, but skimp on the type of imagery that brings the characters’ thoughts, feelings and actions alive, Mallory manages to do it all with considerable skill. She doesn't just tell
you that Noble is a sensual creature, she shows it to you in his every word and deed, and does so so effectively that the pages practically scorch your fingers!
Final verdict: With Three Nights of Sin
, Mallory has managed to write a steamy period romance novel that doesn't disappoint. If I could have given it a 4.5 star rating, I would have!