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Sinful by Charlotte Featherstone

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Addicted #2

Charlotte Featherstone
Historical Romance/Erotica
Published in 2010

H/h - Matthew, The Earl of Wallingford/Jane Rankin
Setting: London/Worcestershire, 1851.

Read in June, 2011.
My rating:

A little note: I ADORE the cover of this book, one of the very few times I totally agreed with the model. This is exactly how I'd think of Matthew, at least his body. I think it's better that the face of the model is not shown. If I didn't agree with his face, the whole thing would be pointless. hahahaha

                                                                         [spoiler alert]

Oh God! I have no idea where to start. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to write a good review. It’s been so long that a book made me cry and had me in knots from the beginning ‘til the end. Matthew, poor poor darling! When I read Addicted and him in it, I didn’t know what to think of him, he's supposed to be the type I always feel like slapping hard and then wash my hands thoroughly afterwards. No seriously, nowadays, most rakes make me feel this way and I stand by my statement of him in Addicted when I said, Matthew has to be topping the list of so many rakes I've read or at least comes close to it in his notoriety. Maybe because in other books, I didn’t really, in raw words and actions, read about a rake such as him. I really don’t know and I was supposed to rant and rave at Jane for giving him hell! But, I couldn’t ... Simply couldn’t.

Of course, from Addicted we knew a lot about Matthew, 33, aka Lord Wallingford’s lifestyle as the jaded, cynical, the ultimate bada$$. He considers himself as one so totally scarred that he has no soul, no hope of redemption. I was intrigued. And, as I started reading his book I was simply sucked into it like I’m being tossed and turned into a whirlpool. Matthew's long time dream as an artist is to open his own gallery, which his SOB of a father, the Duke of Torrington won’t let him. That man thinks painting is a sissy’s work. That’s not all, that man is part responsible for the life Matthew is leading today. His hatred for his father is very apparent and out in the open and it’s seen many times throughout the book. Anyway, in Addicted, there was a scene where Lindsay goes to meet him and finds him with 7 other women ... ermm he was in his studio ... well, this scene is important because in the starting of this story Matthew is selling a very controversial painting, nude of 7 women in various poses. He desperately needed the money for his gallery. We see Lindsay here, too, who came to congratulate him on his successful selling of the painting. I loved reading Lindsay here, who was now free of opium addiction and very lively and chirpy! Lolz  Later on, one woman comes to him and Matthew takes up her offer of celebrating his success. She leads him on to some alleyway and had him beaten mercilessly for money. Then Matthew is taken to this hospital and there he meets Jane, our heroine.

Jane’s part in Addicted was very small, as the companion and a sort of adopted daughter to Anais’s aunt Lady Blackwood. Jane’s mother was mistress to an aristocrat, who turned both her and her mother out in the street after he married and she never saw him again. Her mother was forced into prostitution and Jane had a traumatic life afterwards, when one her mother’s lovers sold her virginity to an aristocrat, who, when couldn’t take what he bought her for, beat her. Somehow Jane managed to runaway and found herself in Lady B.’s doorstep. She took her in and been taking care of her (and Jane in return) ever since. Now, at 27, Jane isn’t married because of her station in life and for the fact that she isn’t conventionally beautiful, with bright red hair, glasses and a misshapen lip from the beating. Jane saw Matthew once before when she went to Anais’s home but when he’s brought into the hospital, she doesn’t recognize him at first because of the scars from the attack. Jane’s been working under Dr. Inglebright for about a year as a nurse, to save Lady B. from her debt and also, because she’d decided it’s better to prepare herself for an honest work so that she never ever has to follow her mother’s footstep. She’s very determined to have an independent life. So, Jane starts taking care of Matthew. Matthew’s demons from the past come back to haunt him (I was shocked and saddened reading the lines containing what he was fighting) in his state, where he feels helpless but it’s Jane’s soothing voice keeps him sane. Matthew listens to her, demands for her and longs for her visits. Jane felt the connection right away, though she didn’t know what to do about it. The few days Matthew spends in the hospital, he never sees Jane because his eyes were swollen shut but by touching her (which leads to one hot scene, even in his state) ... Oh boy, I felt the connection between these two as well. Jane had no idea who Matthew was but just his given name; Matthew knew the same. He just wanted to escape the demons of his haunted past and his own reputation, hiding in Jane. Matthew was scared, of course, that when Jane gets to know about him, she would turn away in disgust because he knew Jane is good, nothing like the women he knew in his life. And, Jane was scared that Matthew and she has no future of any kind as she already guessed Matthew is an aristocrat and that she’s a plain spinster and a nurse.

When Matthew was released from the hospital, he begs Jane to come away with him. He wasn’t thinking of a future, just to explore what they’ve found as long as they wish. Jane, at first, denied. He kept of writing her hot letters and she decides to give in. The day they met, Jane shrouded herself so that Matthew doesn’t see her face and it being a rather gloomy day, Matthew only gets to see her eyes. And, in the carriage, he shows her what they can share with each-other, something very honest and beautiful. Jane is torn between her decision and what he’s offering, the position, which she knew would never be anything good for her. But, still, she couldn’t keep herself away and finally decides to give into their mutual desires. I knew it wasn’t simply something physical and Jane was already halfway in love with Matthew; the sweet, caring part of him. But, she was yet to see the facade he assumes to live his life. So, the day they were supposed to get away, Jane waits for him and he arrives. But, he doesn’t recognize her. Oh, this scene hurt, just too much! I was rooting for Jane, Matthew was rather abusive and crass with her, thinking she wanted attentions. Jane is shocked at his behavior, also knowing that Matthew just doesn’t recognize her, at all! Then, when she speaks of ‘Jane’, Matthew immediately listens. Jane tells her ‘Jane’ doesn’t care to see him and won’t ever see him again. Matthew gets angry and later gives her his card to deliver it to ‘Jane’. Reading the card and knowing his identity as the ‘notorious Lord Wallingford’, Jane is rather sickened and mortified ... Then, they part ways. Matthew, in a rage, goes on a bout of f*cking madness (don’t ask me with how many women, it was rather gut churning for me to read) and drinking himself into oblivion, in a whorehouse. All these because, in his vulnerability, Matthew thought Jane left him, after making him feel something special for her and because in his mind, he thought this is what he always do best, f*cking and hurting people (‘why’ is related to his past). And God, I should’ve hated him for this but I couldn’t, just couldn’t!

Two days later, his father comes to his house to find him half drunk in the bed with a whore. Well, Matthew never has sex in a bed (mostly against the wall and the reason, again related to his past) so he was a bit astonish himself but thought it must’ve been the absinthe. This scene with his father kinda showed explicitly the kind of relationship the two has. His father is pompous, arrogant, greedy and self-serving. Anyway, later on Matthew travels to Lindsay’s home to attend Linsay and Anais’s marriage. There he sees Jane again. He recognizes her from the street but after knowing her name, refuses to believe that it’s his ‘Jane’. And, Jane had to face him again, however unwillingly, as they were selected as the best men and the maid of honor. The scenes that follow were fun. Their banters, I loved it. The way they threw words on each-other’s face, specially when they’re supposed to write their speech and also, when Matthew was on the verge of making a possible assignation with a society hussy and Jane marched in on them so courageously knowing exactly what’s going on ... I loved it all! Also, as Matthew kept on saying ‘f*ck’ is his favorite word and I understood his favorite line is ‘f*ck … senseless’ *coughcough* ... I LOVED it and instantly fell for him. Trust me, it’s the man and the way he spoke and not the words. :p Loved seeing Lindsay and Anais and the way Lindsay baited Matthew, knowing he's forming some sort of affection for Jane.

But, even when Matthew’s being such a jacka$$, Jane kept on seeing the ‘Matthew’ she fell for in his unguarded moments and she wondered what’ll it take to uncover that man. When Matthew asks her to dance, from a few things, he finally understood this is his ‘Jane’. He was mad again knowing that she's trying to hide herself and confronts her later. She tries denying it all at first but later, as Matthew kissed her, she couldn’t hide her reactions to him. In the wedding supper, Jane sees the man who beat her a long time ago and was scared for what might happen. Matthew sees her reaction to the man but says nothing. After their confrontation, Jane was hurt and was about to retire, seeing Matthew accepting a note and thinking he went to his assignation. At that moment, that man attacks her. Matthew just got the note telling him his half-sister Sarah, who’s suffering from mental illness (as in ‘simple’), is sick. She’s the one person Matthew cares for in this world. He decides to get Jane but finds her fighting the man off of her. Matthew rescues her and requests her to accompany him to his estate.

Now, as Sarah was being treated by Dr. Inglebright, who was already there because of his own father visiting the Duke, Jane began to see more of Matthew’s good side, the sides that tell her he’s not at all what he allows others to see. He’s very protective, the way he fought his father for Sarah’s treatment. That man didn’t really care what happens to the teenager. This and a few other things make Jane really confused as well as curious about him. Then, Matthew invites her to have dinner with him. There they talk and Matthew tells her about how he felt after she left and again, makes her their original proposition. Jane gets angry and confused about what to do. But, they make sort of a bargain of talking about themselves and being honest about their past, agreeing to meet in a cottage, which is Matthew’s studio. This estate holds no nice memory for him and I knew already whatever happened to him, happened here, in the hands of someone who was, sadly, close to him, at least in relation. I hated knowing it.

They meet at the cottage and they try to talk. Matthew tells her about his mother and how she died. Jane tells him about her past and so on. I loved the scene where they take a stroll through the lake with Sarah the next day and had a really heart tugging interlude, where Jane calls him ‘Matty’, it was too adorable for words! Matthew knew he’s getting lost, no matter what. I also adored the way he handled Sarah and took care of her. Then after a few meetings, Matthew just couldn’t keep his emotions inside and they broke into a fight.  Jane just didn’t know what to do and to tell you the truth, I didn’t either. Matthew tries to tell her why he is the way he’s today and makes love to her against the wall. Jane knew she wanted to help this tortured, vulnerable man out and take care of him so she gave in. Jane, also, already knew that she’s fallen in love with him. Then, Matthew talks more of his past and what he did when he thought she left him. Jane takes it all in but is not repulsed. Neither was I. And from there, their relationship begins to blossom but Matthew knew it’ll end soon since their bargain was for only a week. In one of their meeting, after a hot, delicious love scene, Matthew finally tells her he loves her. Jane does too. It was so sweet, all of it, I didn’t know what’s coming later on. And, God, how I wish I didn’t read the last few chapters of the book. When Matthew goes back into the house, he finds his b*tch of a step-mother has already convinced his spineless father into forcing him to marry an heiress, a conniving ‘pit viper’ as Lindsay later calls her. If he doesn’t, Sarah’ll be thrown into a mental asylum which Matthew can never ever agree upon. I wish the poor babe didn’t have to go through so much. But it wasn’t about to be. Jane hears of it all and misunderstands ... They had another fight, Jane thinking since she’s not rich, good looking and from lower status, Matthew is asking her to be his mistress, choosing Sarah over her. I totally agreed with Jane because her reasoning was very logical and heart wrenching. I felt my heart was tearing up seeing how desperate Matthew was to keep her because he had no other options but living without Jane wasn't an option for him either ... Why? It’s revealed later in the book and I hated knowing what I knew, every single paragraph of it. It broke my heart, had me in knots and left me shaky. I felt so much for Matthew, can’t explain it in words. Honestly, I’m still not over it.

So the later chapters reveal his ‘secret’, his real reason for choosing Sarah over her, all of which Jane takes in again. She’s not at all repulsed but she knew she can’t be his mistress, it’s just not the way she envisioned her life. So, she decides to leave him. I couldn’t find fault with her in this decision either. I mean, what was there to do, really? Months pass by, Matthew writes to her (a beautiful letter that was), she never replies and then finally, he gets married. I absolutely hated reading what he had to go through, now knowing his secret. I wished, oh Lord, that he didn’t have to go through this but he does, just to keep Sarah safe. After a few months, his wife (a disgusting little b*tch just like the step-mom) finds herself pregnant (from the wedding night), which was a part of their ‘alliance’. Matthew opens his gallery and Jane goes there to see him. She didn’t think he’ll find out but he does and afterwards another beautiful scene so full of longing and Matthew, followed ... *sigh* His words were so precious yet there was no other way for them. After they make a very raw, needy love, Matthew again asks her to come away and Jane again, refuses ... And afterwards, no it didn’t end the way I hoped it would. Then, after a year, Jane had to make the ultimate decision, something I understood and wholeheartedly agreed with ...

My review will continue in Sinful: Epilogue, which is a free part of the book and was definitely a worthwhile read. But, for this book, I was rather confused about what to rate it. Initially, it was 4 but now, I’m thinking I have to rate it a 5 star because of Charlotte Featherstone’s compelling story-telling and my absolute adoration and melting love for Matthew. I could NEVER deny him of that!

If you want to know more about Matthew and the settings of Sinful, visit: From Charlotte Featherstone's website: Inspiritions for "Sinful"... . Trust me, the setting was perfect! :)


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