Review: An Invitation to Sin

An Invitation to Sin
An Invitation to Sin by Jo Beverley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Humor improves any Napoleon era romance. In this hot collection, Jo Beverley's Forbidden Affections and Sally MacKenzie's The Naked Prince are 4-5* giggles.
The first title is one of Gothic romances by the late owner of the Featherstone family summer rental. Anna, 16, daring, forthright, bookish, takes the Lady's recreated gargoyled bedroom, follows the secret passage to next door, where the bruised Lady was found overdosed on laudanum, and finds the handsome Earl of Carne. He fled under suspicion, now returns to thwart his cousin's claims. They arrange an assignation to solve the murder with a triple word-play on cake, as sweet tart, silly fool, and victory ("take the cake"). Clever. (I'd be happier with less age difference - personal experience.)
Second, handsome Lord K., nicknamed Prince of Hearts, attends a valentine orgy weekend to protect his best friend from an avaricious London widow. He lets months-long correspondent on Latin treatises J.A. know of their visit to the Atworthy neighborhood. But the true J. is spinster daughter Jo, and K. sees beneath the dowdy country exterior when their identities are revealed. "Her virtue was shrivelling inside her like a grape forgotten on the vine", while pallid bits bobble in the frigid February air.
*** The Pleasure of a Younger Lover by Vanessa Kelly. Brawny soldier Chris helps lifelong crush Clarissa clear the reputation of her late husband. Page-long tongue tangle leads to hot afternoon roll.
** A Summer Love Affair by Kaitlin O'Reilly has tight thin dresses more suited to other times. Meeting on a Spanish holiday, being painted as near-naked Greek gods, pairs a rich English couple for a later in-love reunion. Transparent, explicit.

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