Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Blog tour: Her Wicked Sin (A Sins of Salem Novel) by Sarah Ballance

It is snowing in my Hudson Valley town. What better way to spend a wintry day than immersed in a good book? If you like historical romance, today's tour offers a great read. We are one of the stops on Her Wicked Sin blog tour. Welcome! We have a review and there is a giveaway to enter and an excerpt. Enjoy and stay warm.

Title: Her Wicked Sin (A Sins of Salem Novel)
Author: Sarah Ballance
Genres: Historical Romance
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Scandalous Line)
Release Date: September 9, 2013
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count/Length: Approx 55,000 words

Salem, MA 1692

On a moonless night, he rides into the winter forest on his beast as black as midnight...

Dashing stranger, Henry Dunham, comes to Salem on a mysterious errand, but is thrown from his horse in the dead of night and rescued by the local Puritan midwife, Lydia Colson.

Haunted by her past, Lydia is running from her own dark secrets, avoiding intrusive questions by pretending her dead husband is simply... away. But when she and Henry are caught in a compromising situation, one punishable by Puritan law, he saves her from scandal by claiming to be her errant spouse... and claiming her bed.

Forced to fake a marriage, Lydia and Henry find their passion overwhelming and their vows a little too real. As their lies become truths, a witch hunt closes in on Lydia, threatening not only their burgeoning love, but her life.

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Lydia Colson’s nightmare lived and breathed on these moonless nights. When the world was at its darkest, remnants of her haunted past seemed to lurk in every shadow, denying her again and again the chance to start anew. No matter how justified the actions of her past, the peace she had hoped to find in Salem Village escaped her. It was her burden to bear.

The cruelly twisted body in her path was not.
Though stationary, the sight had crept upon her with silent ease, an aberration on a cold, lonely stretch of road with nothing but the woods to keep company. Lydia purposefully avoided night travels here, but babies did not keep time, and Goody Louder’s child had chosen to make entry in the witching hour. As a physician and midwife, it was Lydia’s purpose to see to the birth, and what a child he was. Healthy and rowdy, the stout babe named John had a roar not to be ignored. The first instance of life never failed to bring joy, to make Lydia forget. But now an unsavory reminder of her past misdeed rested in the dirt, nearly buried in forest litter.

And he was not alone. A stallion, the same pitch as the night, danced and pawed the earth. Its capsized rider jerked, his long frame shuddering when the hooves clipped his torso. Might he be alive?

“Easy,” Lydia said, fighting for her own control as she edged closer. She placed her hand on the animal’s rump, her fingers tingling alongside the quivering flesh. The contact revealed tightly bunched muscles alongside a tension made visible in the rolling whites of the beast’s eyes. “Easy, boy.”

At the more intimate distance, she could see the man’s leg caught in the stirrup and bent unnaturally to his position on the ground. He’d fallen from his mount. Had he been dragged? What bit of the path visible in the night showed little sign of disturbance, though the wind might easily have stirred the leaves to hide remnants of a struggle.

A smell of sweat mingled with a distant trace of smoke, hinting danger. The horse snorted and hopped, the strain on the stirrup eliciting a groan from the prone man. Would he lash out from his pain?

Lydia bundled her nerves against the perceived threat and scoffed at her insecurities. This stranger was in no position to cause her harm, but should he try, the mistake would be his.

She had killed before, and she would gather within herself to do it again.

Author Sarah Ballance creates the perfect mood and setting for her latest historical romance, Her Wicked Sin. From the atmospheric opening scene to the not fully complete ending, I was engrossed. The author has done her homework and the reader benefits. I felt immersed in the time period of the Salem Witch Trials and life in a Puritan town. From language to the tiniest detail such as the brush to use on a horse, I really enjoyed this novel.

Lydia is a multi-dimensional character, a modern woman hiding under a quiet demeanor. She is trying to keep to herself but as the town medical practitioner and midwife, when she isn't bringing a baby into the world, she is tending to injuries and illnesses of the adults and children. It is a dangerous time with zealots searching for the tiniest tidbit to gossip about, placing innocent people under the 'cavorting with the devil' radar. Lydia sees this first hand when a somewhat friend begins to act differently towards her. Once revered for her medical prowess and skill, she becomes fodder for unhappy women and jealous wives. 

Henry has come to town in search of a long-missing older brother. A man of wealth, he tries to conceal his affluence and endures a mishap,suffering an injury while on his horse. A chance meeting with Lydia will alter both lives forever. As a married woman with a husband away on business, Lydia  opens herself to the admonition of the town  when she takes him in. Henry is sensitive to the possible repercussions of a good Samaritan's reputation and when an opportunity is forced upon them, he jumps into action by acting upon his own goodwill. Professing to being Lydia's husband will certainly get the town tongues wagging, but deep down he doesn't mind having to spend more time around the attractive blond with her own secrets. The more they spend, the more emotions and feelings surface. As the cries of witchcraft grow closer, can Henry keep Lydia out of harm's way while keeping their secrets safe and find his brother?

I love getting lost in a story and Her Wicked Sin is that type of story. I liked both Lydia and Henry and felt the story was well-rounded with numerous scenes incorporating the various townspeople. I really got a true sense of the time period, of the language, daily life, mode of dress, strict religious rules, and societal norms. The relationship between Lydia and Henry was realistic with playful banter, guarded looks, romantic touches, and steamy but not overdone couplings. There wasn't a total sense of closure with the ending and I anticipate discovering more in the second book of the Sins of Salem series. Her Wicked Sin is an engaging historical romance and I anxiously await the next book in this series.

Rating: 4

Cover comment:
The emphasis is on the male and I think it should be more on the female, especially since the character of Lydia is such a strong woman with contemporary sensibilities. I know this is a romance, hence the bare chested man, but I like to see equal opportunity, especially when warranted and a bit more historical detail would have done it for me.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy in exchange for my honest review during a book tour.

Author Bio:

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids). Though she adores romantic suspense, she writes in many genres. Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found at http://sarahballance.com.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for featuring HER WICKED SIN. I truly appreciate your lovely, thoughtful review. :)