One thing I find fascinating about Anna Campbell’s books is that I always get more than I expect. I pick up the book, read the synopsis, and place it in my basket thinking I’m getting another fluffy, sweet historical romance. Not so, fellow readers. Every time I pick up an Anna Campbell book I am dazzled, stunned, turned into a puddle of adoring goo, and sucked into the intensity and passion that it seems only Campbell can pull off. From sweet and endearing heroines to dark and tortured heroes the stories Campbell writes are unstoppable forces in their complete and utter power over one’s imagination and emotions. Campbell holds me in thrall with yet another book to be highly praised – Captive of Sin. May I just say, and pardon my French, Holy Shit.
Wow. This was an incredible book. If you like angst, if you LOVE dark, tortured heroes you will love Captive Sin. The intensity of this book is unmatched. Throughout the book, the hero’s despondency is so beautifully, painfully clear as is his amazing strength of character. I actually found myself crying once or twice during the story for the pain he suffered, for the shame, guilt and humiliation he still suffers. He was the consummate survivor, gentleman, and savior with a hero’s grace and modesty. He tortures himself long after his physical torture ends for the death of his friends and his own personal loss. His character is so complex, so deep and full of pain. He was inspiring, and I was in love with him literally from the first page to the last. The scene where Gideon reveals his scarred body and hands to Charis (our heroine) for the first time is so poignant, so rife with pain and sadness, I had to look away from the book for a moment. The emotion was simply overwhelming.
Lady Charis Weston’s strength is quieter, and at first I thought the hero would overshadow her. But her simple fierceness, her refusal to give up, her determination was more than a match for the hero’s pain and sadness and I found her to shine brightly despite the hero’s clear center-role in the story. While Gideon’s journey is the central part of the story for most of the book, he didn’t do it alone and Charis is always there, supporting him as he overcomes his brokenness. Even though she didn’t share center stage, she was prevalent and stole her own spotlight. She was incredibly strong for him – for them – and her kindness and understanding are incomparable. Gideon needed someone else to be strong for him and Charis was there for him just as he’d been there for her. Mutual support, love, bravery, and strength.
The romance was the main plot, with undertones of the hero, Sir Gideon Trevithick, helping an abused, scared Lady Charis (also known as Sarah Watson) escape her evil, fortune-hunting step-brothers who are really mean and nasty *sticks tongue out at Felix and Hubert*. Gideon and Charis’s story was incredible – the patience, the pain, the sadness, the hopelessness that all gets transformed into radiant happiness and tremendous love at the end. It was really just incredible, captivating, riveting - it stole my breath from my body and I hung in a state of altered reality somewhere between Modern Day USA and Regency England. Every moment of their journey felt like a crucial moment, and I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book, hardly able to read fast enough to ensure that a HEA was lying in wait for this beautiful couple. This book was definitely of the caliber I’ve come to expect from Campbell and far surpassed any other angst-ridden book I’ve read. The only thing that pulled this book down from an A+ was two turnabouts to Gideon’s character that felt a little too sudden to me. Campbell came very close to pulling them off, but in the end, the explanation I needed wasn’t quite there, leaving this book at a steady and solid A-. Wow, ladies, is this ever one for the keeper shelf.
Favorite quotes: To be honest, I want you to read this book yourself. Any quotes, taken out of context, won’t mean as much as they do in the book, and this book is so intense I want you to feel the intensity yourself when you read it – no samples ahead of time.
“Sexy”ness rating: Slow at first, but hot, Hot, HOT at the end!
Overall Rating: A-
Bottom Line: If you like tortured heroes, this book is literally the book for you. In fact, if you like Regency, if you like romance in general pick up this book! Charis definitely teaches us all what it means to love with all one’s heart in the most intense romance I’ve read to date.
Published: November 2009