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Lust by Charlotte Featherstone

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sins and The Virtues #1

Charlotte Featherstone
Historical Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal/Erotica
Published in 2011

H/h - Prince Thane of the Unseelie Court/Lady Chastity Lennox
Setting: Glastonbury, 1789/The Seelie and The Unseelie Court.

Read in June, 2011.
My rating:

                                                                    [spoiler alert]

Lust is the book #1 in Charlotte Featherstone’s The Sins and The Virtues Series. Have to say I found the premise of this series really really interesting. The back story or the basis of the series is given in the opening of the book, where the clash between the Fey and their darker brethren and why it happened is mentioned. The Dark Fey are supposed to be the opposite of the Fey who are all goodness and sunshine. The Dark Fey are creatures of the night and feeds on moonlight. They can move as rain, mist, fog and shadow (ooh, intriguing!). Their place, the Unseelie court, is full of all kinds of debauchery and darkness, all lies and temptations in opposite to the Seelie court. It all started when the king of the Unseelie court, Duir, kidnapped the Seelie queen Aine while she was asleep and forced her to submit to him. The Dark Fey can make you want things bodily even though your mind doesn’t want it, which is what happened to Aine. Even after she bore Duir's twins, she kept on plotting for escape. In the end, she did and took Crom, the son who resembles her, with blonde hair and so on while leaving the one with dark hair and the looks of an Unseelie, Niall. She cast a spell on the Unseelie court, for which the court is now dying slowly. Now, the Unseelie must find out a way to save their court and their race and in order to do that, they need to find out the seven virtues in the mortal realm and mate them with seven sins that plague Niall, the current king of the Unseelie and 6 other Dark Fey princes. Yes, I am interested!!!! :D

So, the story starts, talking about the Lennox sisters, daughters of the Duke of Lennox. Lennox made a pact with the Seelie queen 20 yrs ago, which is to give her his 4 daughters (yet to be born, with the magic of the Fey queen) and in return she’ll transform his heir’s crippled body into a healthy, handsome boy. Four daughters are born, quadruplets, at least 3 of them showing signs of 3 distinct different virtues. They are named Mary, Chastity, Prudence and Mercy. It is said that the 7 virtues are born every 100 yrs and the Seelie take them to mate with their princes to keep all the ‘goodness and sunshine’ intact. Hence, the Seelie need these sisters too. But, the Unseelie need them as well, for the revival of their court. So starts the competition. We meet the sisters, 3 of them shows their virtues, except Mary. No one knows what her virtue is but they all are aware of their duties to the Seelie court. Even though not many believe that the Fey exist, the sisters do. Mary is rather bold and outspoken, doesn’t fit with other virtues of humility, diligence and charity. Chastity is the paragon of chasteness, so she’s not really attracted to any man. Though she doesn’t like it she knows this is how she’s supposed to be. So goes with Prudence. Mercy seems quite happy and kind, as she’s supposed to be but inside, she’s interested in the Dark Fey.

Then we see how the Unseelie are doing nowadays. Niall, the king, is very worried to find a cure for this curse. Prince Irian, the one cursed with sloth has just lost his human mate, who died while giving birth to his son. Niall, whose curse is wrath, goes to his deceased father’s chamber and asks the spirits to help him. And, he learns about the solution; look for the 7 virtues but you can’t force them to the court and force yourselves upon them. They must come to the Unseelie court on their own will and love these princes who’ll mate with them. It is then and only then the curse would be lifted. So, Niall sends Princes Thane (lust), Kian (Thane’s twin, envy), Avery (gluttony) and Rinion (vanity) to find the Lennox sisters. They know they have to find the other virtues too. Anyway, Rinion informs them that the oldest-born Lennox sister is already promised to him since the duke made a pact with him too, for more money. Now, Thane knows that he has to woo and seduce Chastity and bring her to the Unseelie court. So, they wait for the sisters, who are now in Glastonbury, just returning from a fair held for the ‘Eve of Beltane’ (the history of which I rather enjoyed reading). It is said that the Fey roam amongst the mortal on this eve. The sisters’ conversation kinda gives us a view of their relationship. Mary is rude and straightforward, always reminding her sisters that they’re boring. Chastity, Prudence and Mercy are true to their own virtues. Here, Thane introduces himself to have a look at Chastity.

Meanwhile, Crom, the Seelie prince is under his mother’s instruction to remind the Duke that he pay his tithe. Crom does that. He wants Chastity for himself. But, Crom has other plans, which is to throw his mother out and rule the Seelie court himself, with the help of these virtues. But, on the surface, he takes one of his men and embarks on meeting their virtues. But when he realizes that the Unseelie are also in pursuit, he commands Lennox to remove his daughters to their London townhouse. Lennox, who is now in a fix and a huge mess, for his bargains with the both court, is scared and takes the sisters to the townhouse, where his son and the new daughter-in-law resides. At that moment, Robert was holding a ball and the sisters are also attending. Chastity goes out to take fresh air (but it wasn’t that, Thane was already there, talking to her through her mind, beckoning her outside) and meets Thane, who wore a gilded mask on his face. Chastity, of course doesn’t know who he is. Thane starts working his magic and his sin, on her. I really loved the way he came as a mist in the moonlight and touched her. And, I loved the way he did that in their other meetings as well. They had a hot interlude and Chastity gets a little scared. She understands he must be a Dark Fey but still confused. Crom wards the townhouse with magic so that the Unseelie do not get in but Thane finds ways to meet Chastity, ie: when she’s out and then buying her a perfume. She asks Thane to leave her alone. Thane lies to her that he will, only if she takes the perfume. And yes, he can read minds... scary that! As Chastity is trying the perfume on, he becomes mist and puts his essence into the perfume so that he can come to her dreams and talk to her in her thoughts.

Though it was a bit disturbing for my peace of mind but I liked it Thane can see her and know what she’s doing, even when she’s taking a bath and so on. Thane’s sin, Lust, rears head and wants the mindless f*cking. So far, he has given in, taking countless other conquests, both human and fey. But, as he sees and knows more of Chastity, Thane realizes he wants her differently. And, he keeps on talking to her through her thought and one day, lures her to a garden on the back of the townhouse. He created this garden with his magic and toned down his ‘fey glamour’ so that Chastity thinks he’s a human. They have another interlude here but as Chastity began to understand that he’s a Dark Fey (you can guess how he knew!), he makes her forget this incident. In a garden party, where Crom and his man Arawn, who’s courting Prudence (she’s already taken with him), meet the sisters. Chastity is already in Thane’s spell, already wanting his presence wherever she goes. Crom doesn’t interest her but she tries to keep a face with him. This time, Kian accompanies Thane and meets his virtue, Mercy. I really liked this meeting, very beautiful. Anyway, Thane keeps on meeting her and come in her dreams, luring her with his dark fey magic and his sin. They were supposed to meet in a masquerade ball when their carriage containing Mercy, Chastity, Prudence and Lennox was abducted by Niall. They’re taken to a whorehouse, of which Lennox is a silent partner. Niall informs Lennox of his wishes and casts magic to make Lennox tell him about his bargain with the Seelie. In the meantime, Prudence meets her match and instantly in disgust! The gluttonous Avery makes her sick. Oh, I loved this scene! Avery is tall, broad and good looking, just as any dark fey but of course, he wants more and more of everything, including women. When Prudence realizes the women serving food to him are whores ... oh man, I could imagine her face! It was so funny!! I can’t wait for their book. Kian meets Mercy again and tells her that he’s her destiny; that she must wait for him. Mercy, as I mentioned earlier, is already more than interested in her fey prince, which made me interested in their book as well. Rinion wasn’t here since in Glastonbury he met Lennox and asked him to give him his bride and then Lennox came to London. I’m not sure where Rinion was at that moment. Thane meets Chastity, who was asleep because of the magic spell and speaks to her through her dreams. Then she wakes up and after some incidents, they make love. Gotta tell you, I didn’t like the way their love scenes happened, all of them. I couldn’t shrug off Thane’s sin, the fact that he’s deliberately manipulating Chastity and Chastity wasn’t always in accord with her body and mind while they made love. Just the feeling that any measure of manipulation was involved took the fun away from me. Even Thane knew what he was doing was wrong still... Also, the way Chastity behaved ... ermm, I don’t know how this was her virtue. Anyway, those maybe just me. So, for Thane and Chastity’s romance, not very convinced.

When Crom goes to the masquerade ball, he only finds Mary there. And then I saw that Mary might not be a virtue at all. She was not only bold but makes a bargain with Crom; she’d secure Chastity for him and in return, she wants her prince. She also agrees to sleep with him. The next day, Lennox meets the Fey queen as commanded. This meeting and also seeing the way the queen and Crom’s heads work, I’m not sure why Seelie are called the good ones. Some information I read about them told me they’re the true barbarians in the lot! Anyway, the queen asks Lennox to present the sisters to her in two days. She also convinces him that the Dark Fey are bad and lying to him about taking care of the sisters. Lennox now wants his daughters to go to the Seelie court. But, that wasn’t about to happen. Chastity has already decided that she wants to be with Thane, though about love, she was confused *rolls eyes*. After they meet in the back garden and make love, Thane tells her he loves her but then, as guilt assails him, he confesses why he pursued her and the truth about the situation at Unseelie court. Chastity is hurt and just that moment Crom and her father comes to the garden and asks her to come away with them. Crom was putting spell on her to believe in him, telling her that Thane’s lying about loving her and so on. Thane could feel it, he could also feel Chastity’s confusion and in a rage, he takes her away to the Unseelie court and then, to his room. He tells her here he’s not always in check of his sin or his dark fey side, also gives her the glimpse of what he wants; complete submission from her. Chastity gives in because now that she’s not under Crom’s spell, she realizes she loves him too.

In the epilogue, the diary which Chastity was writing throughout the book, continues. We get to learn more of her POVs. Thane has made her a fey princess and taken her as his eternal bride. She’s now soulless like any Fey, which means she’s dead to the mortal world. Many other things are revealed in this entry. Chastity tells us that Dark Fey are always misunderstood and that she hopes that her sisters would also follow her path and to their destiny to save the Unseelie court. She visits them and her parents in their dreams through Thane’s magic and keeps them updated about her existence ... But, the twist about Mary and one possible illegitimate Lennox sister was what had me really surprised. She keeps her bargain with Crom, even though Chastity is lost, its Prudence he wants now. A jealous Mary decides to betray her sisters to get what she wants.

Well, if I talk about Thane and Chastity’s romance, it was lacking a lot of things. I already mentioned what bothered me the most. I also didn’t quite feel the yearning, longing that would convince me of their love for each-other. I’m also not convinced that Thane will ever be true to Chastity since the court knows of his sin and accepts him as he is ... There was one scene in the court, where a pixie handmaiden asks him if she could do anything to ‘appease’ his sin. Though Thane said no, thinking of Chastity, I found it rather ... ermm disturbing. As you can guess, he’s always ‘hard and ready’; Lust is always rearing its head (no double entendre intended ;p). So, I believed that they were certainly in ‘lust’ with each-other but love? I don’t know. But, I really found other things about the book interesting and going quite insane because I have to wait for the other books. I loved knowing about the Fey and their courts. Reminded me much of Kinley MacGregor's Lords of Avalon series. I give this book a 4 star and eagerly await the next installment, “Vanity”, which will be out sometimes next year... Oh, the misery! *sigh*

To keep the record right, here’s my scribble on “The Sins and the Virtues”:

Seven Virtues, quadruplet sisters; so far 3 of them are known as virtues...

Mary Lennox - purpose?

Temperance - Prudence Lennox, possible mate Prince Avery. It's not that silly, ermm Seelie Arawn.

Chastity - Chastity Lennox, mate Prince Thane ... Book Lust

Kindness - Mercy Lennox, possible mate Prince Kian, Thane’s twin.

Diligence  - ?

Charity  - ?

Humility -  Is it the illegitimate Lennox sister? Would she be Prince Rinion’s mate?

Seven Sins, all princes of the Unseelie court...

Lust - Prince Thane, mate Chastity ... Book Lust

Pride/Vanity - Prince Rinion, possible mate??

Gluttony - Prince Avery, possible mate Prudence.

Envy - Prince Kian, possible mate Mercy.

Wrath - King of the Unseelie Court, Niall, possible mate??

Greed - ?

Sloth - Prince Irian, Niall's cousin and half-Elvin, possible mate?? The guy just endured a tragedy when his human mate died because of the curse while giving birth to his son.

# What about Crom, Niall's twin, the half-Unseelie?


With a lot of frustration and sadness, I have to add that the next book “Vanity” won’t be out early next year, as CF’s latest (on Oct, 2011) blog post tells us. It’d be sometimes around at the end of Dec 2012 or early Jan 2013. This is my worst nightmare!!


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