All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Captive Of Sin – Anna Campbell

on June 9, 2013

Captive Of SinCaptive Of Sin
Anna Campbell
Harper Collins AU
2009, 356p
Won from Booktopia in a giveaway

Heiress Lady Charis Weston has fled a miserable future in an attempt to make it on her own, just for three weeks. Suffering from the effects of a beating, she hides herself in a stable but is discovered by Sir Gideon Trevithick. Gideon has just returned to England after a horror imprisonment in India and he knows that when he stumbles upon Lady Charis – posing as a woman named Sarah – that he cannot leave her alone. She faces many dangers as a young woman alone attempting to travel to Portsmouth and even though he risks ruining her by taking her with him, it’s a far better option than leaving her.

He takes her to his family home and they spend some time there before it becomes obvious that Charis’s two stepbrothers, who are looking for her, will stop at nothing to find her. Gideon is a very recognisable figure at the moment and so he comes up with a plan. Sending a decoy to Gretna, they elope to Jersey where she can remain safe for the few weeks time needed under Gideon’s protection. However Gideon knows they need to make their marriage a real one – if her stepbrothers suspect it’s not then everything they’ve done will be for nothing.

Charis has fallen in love with the deeply honourable but also damaged man who has risked much to rescue her. She desperately wants to help him and to remain with him forever. But Gideon has terrible demons that plague him, demons that stop him getting close to another person, even being able to touch someone. Despite the way that he desires Charis, it is torture for him to attempt to lay a hand on her, his mind sending him straight back to the hell he experienced in India. But Charis is a patient woman and she has a plan to help Gideon move past this horrible affliction and allow them to finally find happiness together.

Every now and then I really crave a historical romance and when I won this one from Booktopia in a twitter competition recently it didn’t take me long to take a break from my review pile and give it a go. Lady Charis Weston is one of England’s wealthiest heiresses but her inheritance comes with a bit of a problem: her money goes to her husband if she marries and to her if she reaches 21 unmarried. Her two stepbrothers are desperate to get their hands on her money to pay off debts and so they are attempting to force her into marrying a wastrel and they’ve made it very clear that they will stop at nothing to see it done. And as her legal guardians, they have the ability to force her hand, no matter what her wishes. With just three weeks to go until she’s 21, Lady Charis flees her home after a savage beating, determined to lay low until she is of an age when her inheritance can become hers alone. It’s a horrid and dangerous situation that she’s in, alone on the road travelling with no money and when Gideon finds her, she’s reluctant to go with him, knowing just how vulnerable she would be. She poses as Sarah, a commoner to make herself less desirable and to encourage less questions and eventually agrees to allow Gideon and his two companions to accompany her to Portsmouth, where she wants to go.

Gideon is a hero, recently rescued from being tortured for a length of time in India and he’s a bit of a mess. He can’t be touched or touch someone else – it makes him physically ill, although he can find some sort of relief in violence in the heat of the moment. He has an honourable heart though and wants to protect Sarah/Charis from whatever it is that she’s hiding from. He knows there’s more to the story and when two men turn up on the doorstep of his family home looking for her, he begins to put the pieces together and realises that he’s going to have to go even further to protect her.

Characters have demons, and then there’s Gideon. His demons are like no other that I’ve ever read and it is awesome. The reveal is slow, you witness his reaction to being touched, his desperation for it not to happen, the aloof way in which he holds himself around Sarah/Charis even after it becomes clear he wants her sexually, even after she declares that she’s in love with him. When Campbell reveals what it was that happened to Gideon, why he cannot bear contact it all makes so much sense. The descriptions of what happened to him aren’t vivid – those are saved for his reactions. But it allows the reader to put themselves in his place in India, to imagine the horror of what he went through and that is so much more powerful, I think. Because quite frankly it’s very difficult to imagine something worse than that for someone’s mental spirit. It’s a miracle Gideon came out of that hole with the ability to speak and think coherently still in tact.

I love that Charis takes the upper hand in deciding that the time has come for her husband to be able to touch her – she pleads, cajoles and then downright infuriates him into it. It isn’t easy and at times it isn’t pretty either – it’s refreshing to read some love scenes that don’t go perfectly. Despite her wanting to help him overcome this, she’s naive and she often misunderstands his inability for reluctance, or lack of interest. The reader is party to both Charis’s thoughts and Gideon’s and we see firsthand his torture at wanting to be with her, but being physically unable to because of the memories that each touch brings, overriding even his strong desire. Despite her uncertainty, she still keeps trying, she still keeps putting herself out there for possible rejection and humiliation all to be able to help him overcome what has tormented him so badly. And she proves to him that she can love all of him, even the ugly, scarred parts that he dare not show anyone else (inside and out).

I loved everything about this story – definitely need to read more Anna Campbell. I’ve read two novels and a novella now and there’s still plenty left to track down.


Book #146 of 2013


Captive Of Sin is book #62 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013

One response to “Captive Of Sin – Anna Campbell

  1. Marg says:

    I’ve owned this book for ages, but I don’t think I have read it. The storyline isn’t ringing any bells at least.

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