Born in Sin, by Kinley MacGregor

>> Saturday, February 07, 2004

Even though I'm not a big fan of books set in Scotland, Born in Sin (excerpt), by Kinley MacGregor sounded like it would be my cup of tea.

Though few can equal her skill with the sword, Caledonia MacNeely fights an unfamiliar shiver when she is offered in marriage to the infamous "Lord Sin." Though Callie fears this mysterious, unreachable stranger -- less for the dark whispers that damn him than for the heat of his touch -- she is under the order of the English king. And with the fate of her troubled clan hanging in the balance, she has little recourse.

Banished as a child, "Sin" MacAllister learned to despise his Scottish heritage. Yet now, to unmask King Henry's foes, he must return to the hated Highlands -- wedded to a bewitching lass whose flaming red hair matches the fire of her spirit. A cold, hard heart has always been the key to Sin's survival, but this beauty awakens in him a perilous need he's never known.
Even though Born in Sin had many elements that should have made me love it, my grade for it is a C+.

I should have loved the very lonely Sin, desperate for love as he was, after his horrific childhood. And what a horrific childhood that was! I swear, this author must specialize in torturing her heroes: Sin and her Julian of Thrace, from Fantasy Lover are probably the two most tortured people I've ever read about.

So, I should have loved Sin, and relished how he started to believe, gradually and with great difficutly, that he might actually have some hopes of being loved by his wife. Problem is, round about the umpteenth heart-rending little memory of his childhood (maybe when he remembers going to the fair and his father buying drinks for his brothers and telling him a worthless being like him should just go and get himself some water? Or when everyone received presents at Christmas except for him?), I started feeling a teeny bit manipulated. It was way too much, overkill, and a shame, because a lighter touch would have made this book work beautifully.

Plus, it all didn't even make too much sense. Sin was perfectly comfortable with the love of his brothers and his friend Simon, so why was he so convinced everyone hated him?

This was the heart of the book, so having it not really work for me had the entire book not working. It wasn't bad, not at all, it just wasn't good.


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