Skip to main content

Fifteen Years Later: Review of "His Sinful Touch" by Candace Camp

TitleHis Sinful Touch
Author: Candace Camp
Publisher: HQN
Series: Mad Morelands #5
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $5.99 (e-book) $19.96(Audible)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Most readers remember their first, the first book of their particular genre that they read, whether they enjoyed the book or not.  I have two firsts--the first romance I ever read was a Harlequin Intrigue written by Amanda Stevens.  If you've read my blog before you probably already know this.  The first historical romance I read was Mesmerized by Candace Camp, which was also the first book in her Mad Morelands series.  

I was a senior in high school when this series began and I remember seeing the paperback version of Mesmerized on the shelf at the Target on Queens Blvd (yes, I spent a lot of time on Queens Blvd as a teenager), and was pulled in by the gorgeous cover.  Apparently, that book has had several covers over the last 15 years, but this is the one I remember:

Isn't it pretty?  Of course from the cover I couldn't really tell that this was an historical romance.  There wasn't a couple of people wearing Victorian Era clothes (unlike most historicals, this series takes place in the Victorian Era and not the Regency Period).   This is not something that can be said for the 2017 re-issue cover.  If I had known it wasn't a contemporary romance, I probably would have put it back on the shelf and would have missed out on a fun series.

There is no mistaking this cover.  I do like the red dress, but is it just me or does the cover model look pissed about something?  I guess they were going for flirty, but they missed the mark.  Had this been the cover staring back at me, I never would have picked it up.

When I heard that Miss Camp was resurrecting the Mad Moreland series and releasing two more books, I was extatic. I absolutely adored the first four books and couldn't wait to see what had become of some of my favorite fictional Victorians.  While I enjoyed His Sinful Touch, I don't think it is quite up to the standard set by the original series.

From the Publisher:

A lost identity. A dangerous mystery. And a deep love that can conquer it all.

When a mysterious gentleman arrives on his doorstep, Alexander Moreland is astonished to discover that the stranger is not a gentleman at all, but a beautiful young woman disguised as a man, and in great need of assistance. The woman remembers nothing except her own name, Sabrina, and has only the contents of her pockets as clues to her identity: a handkerchief, a pocket watch, a leather pouch, a torn scrap of paper and a gold ring.

Sabrina is certain that she is on the run from someone, or something—how else to explain the bruises on her face and the pervasive sense of dread she feels? She’s also certain that she trusts Alex to help her, and she can’t deny the sparks that fly between them. As they race through the English countryside, Sabrina and Alex must solve the mystery of Sabrina’s past—before whatever she’s running from catches up to them.

The Review: 

For the most part, I really liked returning to this world, depite it being 12 years since the last book, An Unexpected Pleasure, was released.  In a way, it felt like I was checking in on some old friends.  Honestly, Ms. Camp could have relied solely on nostalgia the way many of the television revivals have done (I mean is there really anyone out there who didn't check out Fuller House just to see what the Tanners have been up to for the last 20 years), but I am glad she didn't.  Yes, it was nice to see Kyria and Rafe and Theo and Megan (we didn't get to see Olivia and Stephen from Mesmerized or Reed and Anna from Winterset), but it would have been doing Alex (and the readers) a disservice not to give him a story worthy of him.  I have to admit, however, that it took a while for me to get into this book.

Honestly, I don't know why the first 30-40% of the book was so slow, but it might have to do with the fact that Sabrina had amnesia and didn't know anything about her life.  A big part of the first third of the book involved Alex trying to figure out who Sabrina is and failing.  Most of this could have been skipped and the book probably wouldn't have suffered.  It really didn't take off until Sabrina meets three people from her past.

My biggest issue was the complete retrograde amnesia that Sabrina was afflicted with at the start of the book.  I know amnesia is a staple of early romances, but I hate this trope so much.  The way fiction portrays amnesia is all too often wrong and I have only read one book in which it was depicted anywhere close to normal.  Let's be clear, total retrograde amnesia is extremely rare.  People do not forget everything about themselves and in most cases the memories lost are only those surrounding the time the amnesia occured. 

I also felt as if the paranormal elements were not as well executed as they were in the other books of this series.  In the other books, anything paranormal was used to enhance the story.  It was used as atmosphere or to provide clues to the overarching mystery.  This was not the case with His Sinful Touch.  In the beginning, Alex does use his talent, as he called it, in an attempt to figure out Sabrina's identity, but in the end, it is an ability he barely knew he had that saved his life.  This ability was more like magic than anything else and served as a Deus ex Machina.  So annoying.

The romance between Alex and Sabrina was sweet.  There was an instant connection between the two of them despite Sabrina's amnesia.  I love how protective they were of each other and that Sabrina was to one to rush in and rescue Alex in the end rather than having her play the damsel in distress she had been at the beginning of the book (and for most of her life prior to the start of the book).  One thing that did jump out at me was that there was more sex between Alex and Sabrina than any of the other pairings.  It wasn't explicit and not all of it was on the page, but you knew they'd slept together multiple times before the end of the book.

The best parts of this book involved the Moreland family.  I would love a book all about the Duke and Dutchess--Ms. Camp, give me their story.  We already know they have an HEA, so we don't have to worry about that.  I have a feeling their romance, which has been described several times in the series, would be so much fun.  The Dutchess is awesome and it is obvious that no matter how oblivious the Duke is to pretty much everything, he absolutely loves his wife.

I absolutely cannot wait for the final book in the series, His Wicked Charm, which will be released at the end of March.  We got a great introducation to adult Con and his heroine, Lilah, in this book and I have a feeling they will be a fun pairing.


Popular posts from this blog

Happy Bookaversary! A Review of "Edge of Darkness" by Karen Rose

Title: Edge of Darkness
Author: Karen Rose
ISBN: 9780399583087
Publisher: Berkeley
Series: Cincinnati Series
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $7.99 (e-book) $28.28(Audible)

It seems like I've been reading Karen Rose novels my entire life.  I remember the day I came across Count to Ten in the Duane Reade on Queens Blvd.  I'd finished the paperback I brought with me to school that day while sitting in the Dining Hall eating lunch and needed something for the long bus ride home.  I almost didn't buy it because it was $9.99 and I hadn't gotten my financial aid money yet, but the cover copy called to me.  Not even the 500+ page count could scare me away.

I recently learned that Edge of Darkness is Ms. Rose's 20th book and in a strange way, I feel like a proud mama watching her child cross the stage to get their diploma.  I'm just a big ball of happy nostalgia, thinking back to all of the other books I've read by her and hopeful about the ones to come, so befor…

The Internet of Things: Review of "Hacking IT" by Kimberly Dean

Title: Hacking IT
Author: Kimberly Dean
ISBN: 9781386835561
Publisher: Self-published
Series: Hackers #1
Price: $3.99 (e-book) $9.99 (paperback)
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Have you ever seen the description of a book and known immediately that it was going to be awesome and upon reading it were faced with the possibility that it might actually be better than you originally thought?  For me, that book was Hacking IT by Kimberly Dean.  A female white hat hacker using her skills to uncover a black hat hacker, who has stepped away from his computer and entered the real world?  Um, yes, please.

From the Publisher:
Independent software developer Kylie Grant is on top of her game in the world of IT. She has loyal clients, a good reputation, and a prestigious membership in technology giant Afire Industries’ small business accelerator. Things are going well until she stumbles across an innocuous issue with the lighting in the building where she rents space. When she digs into the problem, she discovers some…

Review of "Come Sundown" by Nora Roberts

Title: Come Sundown
Author: Nora Roberts
ISBN: 1250123070
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Price: $14.99 (e-book) $16.49 (hardcover) $23.95 (Audible)

I read my first Nora Roberts novel when I was a 16-year-old high school junior.  I remember seeing her books in all of the drug stores long before the fateful day on which I decided to actually buy one but had never thought anything of them.  From that day on, La Nora became the gold standard--the author all others had to live up to, the one to beat.  I remember sitting at my mom's kitchen table with one of her paperbacks and a sheet of paper, marking down which of her books were available at the libraries near me.  Her backlog was (and still is) immense and I was going to read them all.  While I still haven't read all of her books, I've read a good chunk of them, many of which have a place on my virtual keeper shelf, which is why I was so deeply disappointed in Come Sundown.

From the PublisherA novel of suspense, fam…

Review of "The Other Miss Bridgerton" by Julia Quinn

Title: The Other Miss Bridgerton
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesby #3
Publisher: Avon
Price: $6.99 (e-book) $5.77 (mass market paperback) $21.55 (Audible)
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 I love Julia Quinn.  A few years ago, I stumbled upon Just Like Heaven in the Howard Beach library; I'd heard of Ms. Quinn before, but hadn't actually read one of her books.  Immediately after finishing the book, Marcus and Honoria became one of my favorite hero/heroine pairings ever.  I'm probably going to be diving back into the Smythe-Smith books again soon because despite reading all of the Bridgerton books, the Smythe-Smith series is still my absolute favorite Quinn series.  The Rokesby series is giving it a run for its money, though (I've read Because of Miss Bridgerton at least four times since it was published in 2016).  Is it wrong that I want another book already?  Sure, The Other Miss Bridgerton came out just last week, but one is never enough, right? From the Publisher:
She was in the wrong p…