Wednesday, December 02, 2009

What Are You Reading Wednesday- Captive of Sin

Our columnist, Annie West, talks about what promises to be a favourite romance in her last blog of the year.

An early Merry Christmas everyone! I hope the holiday season brings you plenty of chances to acquire and read great books. In our house this is a time when we buy lots of wonderful books, fiction and non-fiction, serious and light-hearted, piles and piles of books we want to read...then give them away to other people! But the payoff comes later when we receive gifts prepared with love, including some fabulous reading.

This month I've opted to pick up a book a book that I've already read. Sort of. First I have to declare an interest. The author of CAPTIVE OF SIN is a friend of mine. Anna Campbell and I regularly read each other's work in draft stage and manage to keep each other sane when doubts surface about the direction of the plot or the way the characters are behaving. So reading the published CAPTIVE is an interesting experience. I have vivid memories of the rough version and now I've got the final product, a glossy thick paperback in my hands. This book delivers in spades on its early promise. I chose to blog about it as it's what I'm reading, but also because it's swept me along with its vibrancy and incredible emotion. I knew it would be great and I'm not disappointed.

I thought Pink Heart Society members might be interested in this story because, though it's a big historical romance novel, it's got a lot of elements we find in category. For instance, it hinges on a a marriage of convenience with great, compelling reasons for the wedding to take place. Personally I love marriage of convenience stories and am always looking for an excuse to write one. Also, there's a definite touch of exoticism. The story takes place in Britain including a honeymoon on Jersey but more importantly in a lovely rambling old mansion on the Cornish coast (and I want to visit that house!). Plus the hero's recent past in India is dark and intriguing and exotic. Also the emphasis is firmly on the two protagonists.

There's a tortured hero that I defy any romance reader not to love. He's honourable and strong and hates any sign of weakness in himself. He does his best to behave heroically in the worst of circumstances. Boy, has Gideon suffered! I can't tell you how without divulging too much but suffice to say that though he wants his new wife with a desperation that soaks the pages, he battles demons every time he thinks about her. Add to that he's definitely a strong alpha leader. He champions the weak, thinks nothing of putting himself in danger when its necessary and revels in action.

Charis too is a fascinating character and multi-dimensional. She's young and in many ways inexperienced. When she falls for Gideon it's a young girl's crush. But as the story progresses she develops a determination to have him for her own and to rescue him. She's revealed as the sort of heroine we love to barrack for - stoic and strong despite her own weaknesses.

The difference from category romance comes in the length of the book and the chance to flesh out the complexity of the plot, the backstory and secondary characters as well as the hero and heroine. But if you're looking for a longer romance to read, this is a beauty. Note that the cover gives you a clue to the level of sensuality in the book - very!

Have you recently read something a little different? A contemporary if you're a historical fan? A blockbuster or a biography if you're a dyed in the wool category reader? Do you like trying something new and if so what gems have you discovered? If not, what is it about your favourite read that keeps you coming back again and again?

To get the conversation started Annie is giving away a copy of her new US release BLACMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE to someone who comments.

Dual delight for Annie in December. This month she has two books on sale from the middle of the month. BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE, Harlequin Presents Extra, is on sale in North America (you can buy it here). FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD, is a Mills and Boon Modern release in the UK (you can buy it here). To read about them, visit Annie's website for excerpts.


  1. Wow, Annie, what a lovely surprise. I was just swinging by the PHS as I do, even if I don't always stop to comment. And I thought, "Hey, that title looks familiar!" How cool is that? So glad you're loving Captive of Sin - honestly you really kept me sane when I was writing that book and you saw a VERY rough draft!

    And huge congratulations to you on THE DESERT KING'S PREGNANT BRIDE making the list of the best romances of the year over at Barnes and Noble. Well deserved. Now that truly WAS a classic romance! And readers on both sides of the Atlantic have treats in store with your double-barreled release. Both BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE and FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD are absolute corkers!

    Happy Christmas to everyone at the Pink Heart Society! I hope Santa brings you some fabulous reading!

  2. Hi Anna, you beat me here. I hadn't even realised the blog was up yet and still you found it! Talk about quick off the mark. It was a real treat talking about CAPTIVE OF SIN as it hit so many themes that I love in a romance. Not just the marriage of convenience but the duty vs. temptation idea and the great emotional tension. Not to mention the gorgeous house on the cliffs of Cornwall that transported me straight back to my early romance reading.

    Thanks for the lovely words about my two new releases. And about my 'Desert King' doing so well at Barnes and Noble. I'm chuffed.


  3. Annie and Anna - you both know how much I loved loved loved this book, and all of Anna's books. She needs to write faster! But this story was brilliant. So intense and emotional. It's Regency noir at its best, so for anyone who hasn't yet had the pleasure - I'm envious!
    x Abby Green

  4. Hi Abby,

    I'm so glad you've found Anna's books. This is one of my faves - as you say, so incredibly intense.

  5. Hi Annie! I have agree with Abby: Anna needs to need faster! (And after typing that, I noticed that all three of you have two-syllable names, all of which start with the same letter. Is this some sort of secret writer thing?) I must say, Captive of Sin is just wonderful. My copy landed on my Keeper shelf the minute I finished the last page.

    I've been working on expanding my reading horizons of late. I'm trying to make myself try new Harlequin lines, but it's harder than it seems! I feel so safe with my lovely Presents, knowing exactly what I'm going to get and which authors I like best, that the idea of branching out is rather scary. But I've just read six Liz Fieldings I found at my local library and they've convinced me to give Romance a try, and the combined awesomeness of Beth Andrews, Kim Van Meter and Sarah Mayberry have gotten me to sample some new Super Romance authors. So far, so good!

    I also recently bought a YA sci-fi book. The only sci-fi book I've ever really loved was Ender's Game. I've tried some others, but haven't been able to get into them. But it's been a while and I figured my tastes might have changed, so I decided to give the genre another chance. I can't say that I'm a huge fan, but I did enjoy the book I bought and am planning to pick up the sequel soon.

  6. Hi Lynz,

    Lovely to see you here. Hm, I think it's sheer coincidence that our names are similar. Truly! Great to find another fan of Anna's latest. Good on you trying new books too. Actually, I'm jealous - 6 Liz Fielding's in a row - sonds like bliss. I'm not much of a sci fi fan either but every so often I find one I like.

    On a selfish note I'm so glad to hear you love having a Presents book in your hands!


  7. I've just bought this book on Amazon as a special early Christmas present. Love Anna Campbell's books after being introduced to them by Abby Green, the sensuality just sizzles off the page, And having just finished The Time Traveler's Wife which was hauntingly beautiful but absolutely broke my heart I need a serious pick-me-up.

    Heidi x (who's now a bit disappointed her name doesn't begin with an A!!)

  8. Great post, Annie.

    I'm a fan of Annie's Presents so just wanted to say HUGE congratulations on making the B&N Best Romance of 2009 list--it's well deserved!!

    For any readers looking for ideas for Christmas stocking fillers heres a link to the list

  9. Hi Annie, Congratulations on THE DESERT KINGS PREGNANT BRIDE being chosen as one of the best books of 2009 by Barnes and Noble. It's one of my favorites of your books (I love your sheiks!) and thoroughly deserves the honour.
    I'm also a fan of CAPTIVE OF SIN - Anna's books just get better and better don't they? Not only a memorable hero in Gideon but also a wonderful heroine in Charis. I am very taken with her, her maturity and her nurturing heart.
    Love the house too! This book is wonderful in many ways; personally I really enjoy the connections with colonial India and Cornwall.

  10. Lovely post, Annie! Anna's latest book is gorgeous, a truly sumptuous, satisfying read! Gideon and Charis really earn their happily ever after.

    Congratulations on being on the Barnes and Noble Best Romances of 2009 listing! I'm thrilled to bits for you!


  11. Hi Heidi,

    Enjoy your Christmas present. I'm sure you will. I think Heidi is such a fantastic name, don't be jealous it doesn't start with A!

  12. Hi Tessa, it's great to see you here. Thanks for the congratulations on the Barnes and Noble listing. I'm still grinning about that! Yes, there are some terrific books on the list, aren't there?

  13. Kandy, thanks for popping by. Thanks too for the kind words about my sheikhs, and Khalid in particular. So glad to hear that one is a fave of yours.

    Isn't Captive of Sin terrific? Gideon and Charis of course and especially the house... I don't know why it's so appealing but I really, really want to go there.

  14. Sharon, you're so right about Charis and Gideon deserving their happy ever after. Dead right. By the time I reached the end it was so satisfying to see their happiness after what they'd been through.

    Thanks for being thrilled about my 'Best of 2009' listing. I'm excited too! By the way, I wanted to add that I've just read your latest Aussie medical release. Wow! You do one hunky firefighter! Such a sweet story too. Good on you.

  15. Hi, Annie! Congrats too for your UK and US releases this month.

    I was so excited for you when I heard about THE DESERT KING'S PREGNANT BRIDE making B&N's Best of 2009 list. Well deserved! I was glued to Khalid and Maggie's story all the way through.

    Similarly, Anna's CAPTIVE OF SIN held me, er, captive! I enjoyed watching Charis's crush turn into full-blown love. My heart dropped when I learned the full extent of Gideon's past suffering. One of the many things I admire about your writing and Anna's is the incredible level of emotional intensity.

    Gems I've discovered? I'm currently addicted to the 'Luxe' series of historical YA novels by Anna Godbersen. They're simply delicious!

    ~ Vanessa

  16. Hi Vanessa,

    Historical YA novels sound a real treat. I'll have to find out more about them.

    Ooh, thanks for the congrats on the releases and on Khalid and Maggie's story! Yes, my heart dropped too when Gideon's past was revealed. And I thought I liked to torture my characters - I've got nothing on Anna! But she does it to such good effect.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  17. I recently read my fist ever werewolf romance (by Keri Arthur) and it was a lot most absorbing and enjoyable than I had been anticipating. I think because it was first and foremost about people (even if they did drink blood and change into animals!) and the strong characters pulled me in.

  18. Hi Alison,

    I think if you're reading werewolves, Keri Arthur is an excellent place to start! Like you, I find it's the strong characters who draw me into a story and make me enjoy it.

  19. Hey, guys, this is lovely! I think I'm going to print out this page of comments and keep them forever ;-) Along with Annie's lovely original review, of course! THANK YOU!

    Abby, thank you for that! You're a darl, darl! And Lynz, how lovely that you loved COS too! By the way, I LOVE Liz Fielding. I think she's one of the best writers around at the moment, and I'm not saying just in romance either! Great list of Supers! Actually I've recently become a convert to Blaze - Sarah Mayberry does great ones and so does Tawny Weber and Kathleen O'Reilly. Sounds like we have similar tastes so why not give them a go? I think you'll really enjoy them.

  20. Hi A-Heidi! (LOL) Thanks for that - how lovely that Abby spread the lurve. I love talking about books I really enjoy!

    Tessa, I was so excited to see Annie on the B&N list. Well deserved!

  21. Kandy, the house was huge fun to write. Took me back to my teenage reading of Victoria Holt and Rebecca and other assorted DDMs. I wanted to live in it by the time I finished, that was the only problem! The Indian research was fascinating too. It wasn't something I knew a lot about until I started my serious reading for this story. Thanks for those lovely words about COS!

    Thanks, Sharon! We both squeed when Annie made that list too, didn't we?

  22. Hey, thanks, Vanessa! What a lovely compliment!

    Alison, I love that Keri's had so much success with her books. She's a really nice woman - and she's now a fixture on the NYT list! Yay, her!

  23. I have to say I loved Captive Of Sin Anna writes awesome stories that always have me enthralled from start to finish I fell in Love with Gideon right at the start of this book and he is one of my favourite heros and Charis is just what he needs in a heroine strong caring understanding. I can't say enough about this book. Way To Go Anna.

    Annie what a great post I recently started reading paranormal and I am really enjoying them I am reading the second one in Pamela Palmer's Feral Warrior series at the moment they are so good I really love the shapeshifter stories probably more so than the vampire ones.

    Merry Christmas to everyone won't be long now I do hope everyone has lots of fun and gets lots of love and pressies.

    Have Fun

  24. Hey, Helen, thanks so much for saying those lovely things about COS. Pam P's stuff is great, isn't it? I fell in love with her writing with her Nocturnes which are wonderful.

  25. Hi Helen,

    It sounds like you're a real fan! Like you I found Gideon so intriguing right from the start, just as Charis did. He makes such a great hero.

    I've never read Pamela's books. I can see I'll have to look out for them with those two recommendations.

  26. Hi Anna, it's nice to see you popping by again. I'm not suprised you're saving the post. We seem to have found a lot of readers who share my enjoyment of your book. That's a lovely feeling.

  27. Annie, what a masterly review of CAPTIVE OF SIN! You touched on all the points I love about Anna's work and CAPTIVE OF SIN, in particular. COS is pure romance. I know your readers would enjoy it.

    Annie, congratulations on your double release month! Two early Christmas presents for your lucky readers:)

  28. Hi Christine. Careful, I'll be preening myself at being called 'masterly'. The truth is it's easy to talk about a book you really, really enjoyed, don't you find?

    Oh yes, it feels like Christmas has come early for me. Thanks for the congratulations.

  29. Hi Annie, I'm dying to read Captive of Sin and now you have me wanting to read it even more! It's right at the top of my Santa wish list, along with your double release :-)

    And huge congrats on making the Barnes and Noble best list. I'm so pleased Maggie and Khalid are getting the kudos they deserve! It's a wonderful book.

    For something a little different, I just reread du Maurier's Rebecca. Ooh, believe me, it stands the test of time. It's certainly worth adding to your tbr pile if there's room.

  30. Hi Michelle,

    I hope Santa is kind and bring you exactly what you want! Thanks for the good wishes for Maggie and Khalie! It's great to see, especially since that one wasn't at all easy to write.

    I haven't read 'Rebecca' in years. Now I'm thinking I have to check it out again. One day...after I get this book done!

  31. Well, it's getting so late in the day I feel I should draw a winner. So here goes...
    If you email me at with your postal address, I'll send you a copy of BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE.

    Thank you everyone who stopped by to leave a comment!

  32. Hi Annie!

    I recently read a very good book by Kandy Sheperd "Love is a four-legged word". It was an unusual read for me simply because i don't read that many romances. I found it very sweet and suspenseful and even had tears in my eyes at one point. Can definitley recommend it! My mother lent it to me after refusing me a copy of one of Anna Campbell's books;)

  33. Hey, thanks, Christine. I love the 'pure romance' comment. I love a really romantic story!

    Michelle, I must have read Rebecca half a dozen times when I was in high school - and sighed over Maxim de Winter every single time. I definitely based Penrhyn in COS on Manderley!

  34. Hi Claire,

    Well, your mother obviously has great taste if she owns both Kandy and Anna's books! How terrific that you tried something different in the form of Kandy's debut book. I adored that story too. Hopefully it will encourage you to try some more romances. Good luck encouraging your mum to lend you one of Anna's!

  35. Congratulations, Alison. You'll love Annie's new story.

    Hey, Miss Claire, I think your mum was MEAN not giving you an AC. Snort! Although I agree with you that Kandy's book is great. I'm so glad you enjoyed it - Mum has excellent taste ;-)

    Thanks, Annie, for reviewing COS in your column. This has been such a treat!