With her parents murdered and her inheritance stolen, all Penny Shoemaker has left is her job designing handcrafted shoes for A Lady’s Favor dress shop. But that’s not enough for her to support herself or her young brother.
Her only chance to regain what is rightfully hers rests with a strange but brilliant gent with a weakness for damsels in distress.
Samuel Morrison is a dispossessed younger son searching for his place in the world. When Penny’s predicament literally lands at his feet, he sets his keen detective skills to solving her mystery.
But she fills more than his time—she fills his heart. How can a lost man solve the mystery, win the girl, and create a life not only for himself, but for her as well? The answer may be just a favor away…
And here is Eliza's review:
I was game to give Jade Lee’s historical romance “Wedded in Sin” a try, having previously enjoyed a couple of her paranormal romances. Turns out it was a good choice. I ended up almost unable to put it down and would have read it in one sitting except it was so late I was falling asleep. It was a light, fun read in which I enjoyed the intelligence of the two protagonists and watching the heroine surprise the hero as they matched wits. But first, to remove any preconceptions, the couple doesn’t end up wedded early in the story due to the usual scandal, as the title made me expect. Now, for the rest of my review…
Our hero, Samuel, has an overly active and intelligent brain and a sense of justice. His peers see him as an entertaining oddity due to his intelligence, and as few can match him, he has some arrogance regarding his own abilities. The way his brain is shown to work was an echo of how I think the great Consulting Detective’s mind might work. So as I am a Holmes fan, I loved Samuel’s analytical, restless intelligence. Essentially he observes, catalogues, and draws deductions from everything he’s seeing. He’s constantly looking for puzzles, “games,” and mysteries to save his restless mind from boredom. So he is intrigued by Penny Shoemaker, as he first sees her, when he realizes she’s making a scene to hide the fact that she threw a a bag into a rubbish pile as she was forcibly evicted from her home. This also happens to be her dead father’s shoe business.
As Samuel’s curiosity makes him get involved, Penny further captures his interest when he realizes how intelligent she is. So our hero steps in to help as there is a mystery involving her parents’ deaths and her unexpected eviction to hold his interest. Of course, he also decides to seduce Penny as he is enticed by an attractive woman with brains who can bring his mind to a standstill. Which, while it’s nice he likes intelligent women, I wanted to smack him upside the head for initially, arrogantly, assuming it would be simple to seduce Penny. Of course it takes some finesse on Samuel’s part to convince Penny to allow him to assist her. From there on out, it was fun to watch Penny keep Samuel on his toes by being perceptive and figuring out what he’s planning, when most people wouldn’t. It was also very satisfying when Penny later smacks the arrogance out of him. Samuel is unlike any other person Penny’s met before, so while she doesn’t trust his motives at first, it’s his very differentness that catches and draws her attention.
I really enjoyed the mental prowess of both Samuel and Penny, and how sweetly, and to his surprise, Samuel truly falls for her after his initial infatuation. He admires her for her mind and falls into real love when he realizes not only can she match him, but she truly sees him and stands up for him. He also eventually loses the arrogance he had initially, which makes him a more sympathetic character. Meanwhile, Penny is a wonderfully strong and intelligent heroine who learns true confidence in herself, and falls in love with Samuel for being who he is. There is also some indirect commentary on equality for women in this book, because Penny “can’t” be a shoemaker because of her sex, which works well within the plot.
The romance in this book was nice but there were two instances that felt discordant to me. At one point Samuel makes one reference to tantric masters. This turns out to be a prelude not to tantric sex, however, but to a great foot massage which leads to a heavy make-out session. Then later Samuel takes Penny to a brothel’s BDSM dungeon to have a private conversation because it’s sound proofed. Seriously, because he’s not into BDSM….
The kicker for me was even though the room was supposedly cleaned, Penny scented blood. So at that point, at the very least I’m feeling squeamish about germs, at the worst I’m suddenly in a horror movie. Ultimately both instances felt out of whack with the rest of the story because tantric techniques and BDSM play no real role in the hero and heroine’s escapades or character development. It was as if they were mentioned because some marketing executive went “Hey, haven’t you heard of the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey? Add some spice somehow.”
That being said, overall this is an enjoyable and satisfying summer read that you don’t want to overanalyze. The mystery isn’t overly complicated but the characters are interesting, the romance is sweet and you can feel the chemistry building between the couple. As things progress and sparks fly between Samuel and Penny, trust is gradually built between the two and much enjoyment by the reader can be had as they fall in love. There was also an intriguing minor subplot involving one of Penny’s seamstress friends that I really hope becomes the focus of the next novel.
What is so well done in this book is how the author manages to believably pack a lot of character and emotional development into a few days and weeks. You hardly notice how quickly the attraction and relationship of the couple develops in real time. Usually when a couple fall in love after a short acquaintance the cynic in me loudly mocks, disbelievingly. Not so with this book, as I was easily able to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the ride. So please excuse me as I now go in search of the prior books in this series and add to my wish list the next one coming out.