cover image Lady of Sin

Lady of Sin

Madeline Hunter, . . Dell, $6.99 (405pp) ISBN 978-0-553-58731-9

Aristocratic lawyer Nathaniel Knightridge and young widow Charlotte Mardenford hate each other—or so Hunter's lusty 19th-century romance would have readers believe, based on their inveterate insistence ("Mr. Knightridge and I truly do not care for each other") and their stagy arguments. Naturally, it comes as no shock to the reader when they realize their mutual attraction—the deeply meaningful looks they exchange get so much attention, they almost constitute separate characters. Complicating the woefully uncomplicated love/hate relationship is their soul-stirring encounter at an anonymous orgy, at which Nathaniel fails to recognize a masked Charlotte. Though their forced hostility quickly wears thin, a subplot concerning a mysterious young boy who may be connected to Charlotte's family lends the story some much-needed intrigue, and Hunter handles this thread well, doling out hints bit by bit and throwing in a few clever twists. Unfortunately, Hunter's protagonists lack the depth of those in her medieval-era romances (By Design , etc.), and her overblown language adds little to their relationship. (Feb.)