Catherine's Reviews > Three Nights of Sin

Three Nights of Sin by Anne Mallory
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Sep 22, 10

bookshelves: romance, historical, england, bad-childhood, class-difference, crime-police-mystery-private-invest, dark, manipulation-plot, rape-abuse, read-2010, buddy-read
Read from September 21 to 22, 2010 — I own a copy

** spoiler alert ** I am really struggling to get my thoughts together for this one. My emotions were all over the place as I read. I have to admit that this had a very different tone than the other two Anne Mallory books I've read. For instance, it was a lot darker. Not just in subject matter, I mean in tone too. It really had a kind of gothic feel to it. The poor malleable miss who's influenced by the dark mysterious man. Bad things happen in the story and the girl doesn't know where to turn or who is good and who is bad. That's the feel this book had. If that's what the author was going for, she succeeded.

For me, this book worked better as a character study on the various victims of a horrific crime than a romance. We get to see the different paths that people take and the ways that an event like this can shape them for the better or the worse. I found it all quite fascinating, even as my heart was breaking for them. I also liked that we got to see some survivor guilt. It all felt very realistic to me.

But the damage done, and the way it continues to control Gabriel's actions, make for a very tall obstacle to overcome on the path to happiness. I really think that everything would have felt more satisfying for me with a stronger heroine. I didn't feel that she challenged the hero enough and he needed that challenge. Anytime she would make the slightest tiptoe toward taking control in the bedroom he practically quivered on the spot. It annoyed me to no end that she kept backing off and letting him play her like an orgasming puppet.

Poor Gabriel was stuck in his role. Even when he sincerely wanted her, he was too afraid to move beyond his mask. In the beginning, watching them have sex was extremely uncomfortable. Gabriel was never fully engaged and Marietta lost any thought in her head the minute he gave her a sexy look or touched her. I couldn't help but be angry with both of them. Gabriel for constantly (and it was constant) manipulating her, and her for being such a dumb cow for most of the book. I don't think I would have been so uncomfortable with him if she had been a stronger more self aware person. She wasn't though.

For a romance novel, this was an extremely NOT hot book. There was one sexy scene at the end where they're finally on an even kilter in the bedroom, but the whole rest of the book left me feeling really uncomfortable as I read the love scenes. I think it was supposed to, but I still wish the change in their dynamic hadn't come quite so late.

I don't really understand what happened with Marietta. She was strong in the beginning. She was bitter and bitchy too, but she could have worked on it. I don't know when she turned into a blindly trusting simpleton incapable of staying sharp to save her family from prison, but I wish she hadn't. Or maybe we could have seen a nice middle ground? That might have been nice... When clarity hit her and she finally realized how blind she was it was almost too late for me. I had almost completely written her off. I think it might have been left a tad too long, because I can't say I ever really liked her, even at the end.

The subjects dealt with in the book... totally ripped me up. I can see it happening so easily, but I hate to think of it too. I'm very, very, very pleased that the author flipped the usual standard and had the man be the victim. Gabriel made a fascinating character. He was destroyed by what happened to him. He built himself back up, but he never really got over it. He became obsessed with control and constantly manipulated people, but he also scorned them for falling prey to it. Especially women. He was extremely dissociative, and for a while there he was extremely creepy.

The bad guy in the end...Why? Why?!?!? I saw it coming, but I didn't foresee how badly it would upset me. When it all came out and I realized the truth, I ached for that person. And then when everything was decided and they took that carriage ride...Totally. Killed. Me. Like I said, I was all over the place emotionally.

While I can't say that I enjoyed reading this, I didn't not enjoy it either. I'm just still very conflicted over the whole thing. I think this might be my one "off book" from this author. I liked her other work so much because of the relationship development and her extremely excellent dialogue. I didn't really find a lot of that here.
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Reading Progress

09/21/2010 page 3
1.0% ""Her pride had once been a mile wide. So fierce and strong that she'd thought she could survive on the trait alone."" 5 comments
09/21/2010 page 12
3.0% ""But don't think of setting terms. There are only my terms. Do you understand?" - talk about selling your soul to the devil!" 11 comments
09/21/2010 page 39
10.0% ""I thought waifish brunettes weren't your style?" "They aren't. But adders are something I pride myself in handling."" 19 comments
09/21/2010 page 45
12.0% ""And she could no longer count on some nameless, faceless man to come charging in to save her. She was going to have to save herself." - A girl after my own heart." 3 comments
09/21/2010 page 60
16.0% "Well, she sucks at acting saucy!" 4 comments
09/21/2010 page 63
16.0% """I tipped my hat. Are you against politeness?" "At this time, quite possibly. My irritation borders dangerously close to dislike." "Yes. I can't say I'm too fond of you either." The lazy grin with which that was delivered made her heart speed up two notches. She was quite irritated by that as well."" 17 comments
09/21/2010 page 70
18.0% ""And the Middlesex murderer is somewhere in the prison. What if he murders me in my sleep?" - Oh, Kenny. *shakes head*" 7 comments
09/21/2010 page 85
22.0% "LOL. He flirts with them to torment her." 5 comments
09/21/2010 page 86
22.0% ""I see. I will let my harem know that they need not worry about a possible usurper in their midst." "It's not amusing." "No, definitely not."" 1 comment
09/21/2010 page 90
23.0% "I think I know why he's bitter and like that with women. Possibly it's all tied into the gentry too. But I'm not telling you Katyana. :P" 4 comments
09/21/2010 page 106
28.0% "The cook's not who she thinks! LOL." 3 comments
09/21/2010 page 112
29.0% "I liked that the first kiss was awkward." 2 comments
09/21/2010 page 150
39.0% ""What do you do with the ten thousand pounds you collect from the paid cases?" she asked as she sliced another carrot. "Slightly personal, don't you think?" - Shut down again." 2 comments
09/21/2010 page 157
41.0% "LOL. He totally busted her out." 1 comment
09/21/2010 page 165
43.0% "Oh Lord, shut up and just do it!" 8 comments
09/21/2010 page 173
45.0% ""She wasn't the prettiest. She wasn't the smartest or the tallest or the bravest. But she was all of those things wrapped together in a package that just seemed to fit him. How utterly terrifying."" 2 comments
09/21/2010 page 186
48.0% "What happened when he was 16??? Tell me!" 1 comment
09/21/2010 page 192
50.0% "That little hint...I think I was right. Not the exact details, but the overall gist. All I feel is dread for the big reveal. :(" 2 comments
09/21/2010 page 200
52.0% "Heh heh. Lost your stride there for a minute, didn't you Gabriel?" 2 comments
09/22/2010 page 204
53.0% ""You haven't said a word for an entire minute. And you are looking at me as if I'm a summer roach." - I've always hoped that my true love would stare at me like I'm a cockroach when he realized he was getting attached..." 5 comments
09/22/2010 page 215
56.0% ""He manipulates women with little effort. When had she forgotten that the statement applied to her as well?" - I've been wondering that too. :(" 5 comments
09/22/2010 page 237
62.0% ""That's right," Jeremy said. "It's only your pain, Gabriel. Your way to ignore everything and maybe it will just go away."" 5 comments
09/22/2010 page 239
62.0% "And we're off again!"
09/22/2010 page 240
63.0% "Yes! Yes! Keep it up Marietta!" 3 comments
09/22/2010 page 256
67.0% """What are you looking through?" Marietta shrugged. "Her undergarments." Women were strange." - LOL" 3 comments
09/22/2010 page 268
70.0% "That light bulb was almost too late for me. It squeaked by." 1 comment
09/22/2010 page 279
73.0% "Awkward! I wouldn't want to be in that house right now!" 8 comments
09/22/2010 page 283
74.0% ""He tried to keep his voice light, desperately fought against the emptiness in his head, his gut."" 3 comments
09/22/2010 page 287
75.0% "I wanted her to grow a pair, but man! Don't use that topic to score your points. There's a better way to have that conversation!" 4 comments
09/22/2010 page 292
76.0% "I get the impression that she's softening already. No! He was in the wrong! Make him realize it!" 3 comments
09/22/2010 page 307
80.0% ""Bare to the waist, he didn't feel as naked now that there was more exposed than just his expression." - Says a lot about him." 2 comments
09/22/2010 page 330
86.0% "Much sexier!" 9 comments
09/22/2010 page 340
89.0% "Ah, crap! This was my second choice. I knew it. :(" 6 comments
09/22/2010 page 356
93.0% "So sad :(" 6 comments
09/22/2010 page 384
100.0% "Mmmmm :("

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Jasmin (new) - added it

Jasmin Great review Cath!

I havent tried this author yet. What could u recomend? :D


Katyana Great review! I think I liked Marietta more than you did, but I understand why you feel like her turnaround took too long.

I was irritated that she took so long to get her head together in the bedroom. But I understand her general recalcitrance, her nervous withdrawal, from their banter. Any time she tried to push him, he not only shut her down (either verbally or by seducing her), he would sometimes get downright malicious. Like their fight after she




***SPOILER***


thinks he might be the killer. She was 10000000% justified in thinking that, at that point in the book. He honestly left himself open for that. But his reaction is SO nasty. Or when she made the joke about the chef, again his reaction is super nasty. I think the fact that she needed him, plus the fact that she liked him, plus the fact that she had been told her whole life what a shrew she is... it all led to her pulling way back. Too far back. You know from comments that I thought there was a point when she was borderline TSTL.

But I felt like she was redeemed when her eyes were opened. She saw the need to push, and she pushed. She didn't let him send her away, she didn't let him leave her behind. I remember when she was waiting in his room after their fight, and Gabriel noticed that she was holding herself on the edge of flight... or holding herself as if to block his flight. I think it was the latter. I think she wasn't letting him out of the room without this conversation.

But yeah, the reveal about the murder was freaking devastating. Like you, I saw it coming... but it was just so heartbreaking. I was sobbing as he talked about what happened. And the carriage ride fucking killed me.


message 3: by Catherine (last edited Sep 22, 2010 11:17PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Catherine Jasmin wrote: "Great review Cath!

I havent tried this author yet. What could u recomend? :D"


My favorite so far of her is Seven Secrets of Seduction. I liked it a lot. I also enjoyed For the Earl's Pleasure. I wrote reviews for both if you want more info on them.

I think Anne Mallory writes very well and I love how she writes her characters. I hope you decide to give her a try!


message 4: by Ronyell (last edited Sep 22, 2010 11:23PM) (new)

Ronyell Awesome review Catherine!!!


message 5: by Catherine (last edited Sep 22, 2010 11:24PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Catherine Katyana:

You are completely right that she withdrew into herself because of his total overreactions to everything. Even when she finds out about who his dad is, he takes her every comment as a hoity toity slur. The man seriously has some issues.

I didn't really feel that she was all that redeemed. She did do some things that I was longing for and she made the effort for him, but she always seemed to step back when I wanted her to step forward. I just felt that it was much too little too late.

I did feel more and more for Gabriel the more I learned about him though. I think I was also repelled because his reaction and his self vigilance felt so real. It wasn't a very sugar coated view.


Catherine Ronyell wrote: "Awesome review Catherine!!!"

Thank you!


Katyana Ahhhhh well. We can't agree on everything. :)


Catherine Katyana wrote: "Ahhhhh well. We can't agree on everything. :)"

Pity, but we're still close enough that I know I'll still probably like the same ones you do!


Katyana True, true! :D


message 10: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell You're welcome! Sometimes, books like this make me so mad because I'm like screaming at the heroine to do something to defend herself and she won't do it!


message 11: by Nissie (new) - added it

Nissie Great review, Catherine!


Catherine Ronyell wrote: "You're welcome! Sometimes, books like this make me so mad because I'm like screaming at the heroine to do something to defend herself and she won't do it!"

Me too! It's not that he was a horrible guy though, it's just that he was out for number one and didn't seem to be able to stop being so manipulative and calculating, even though he liked her. He was actually very uncomfortable feeling anything for her. It took a harsh slap in the face for him to see how much he was letting the past influence his actions.


Catherine Nissie wrote: "Great review, Catherine!"

Thank you!


message 14: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell Catherine wrote: "Ronyell wrote: "You're welcome! Sometimes, books like this make me so mad because I'm like screaming at the heroine to do something to defend herself and she won't do it!"

Me too! It's not that h..."


Yeah, I just can't understand some books where the hero feels more comfortable with mistreating the heroine rather than feeling really comfortable with loving the heroine. I think he should have at least felt some sympathy for her towards the beginning rather than be so manipulative towards her.


message 15: by Rane (new) - added it

Rane Great Review Catherine!
Nothing bugs me more then weak characters. By your review I can understand the hero's way of life, although that doesn't give him the right to be an asshat toward the heroine, who doesn't do herself any credit by bending to the hero's will all the time- and when the sex makes the reader uncomfortable then that's really stretching it. I can understand the author pushing it- but I want to be able to understand be somewhat feel myself relate to these characters on a personal if not emotional level, and if the author robs me of that- I don't think the story can truly hold up.


Catherine Ronyell wrote: "Catherine wrote: "Ronyell wrote: "You're welcome! Sometimes, books like this make me so mad because I'm like screaming at the heroine to do something to defend herself and she won't do it!"

Me t..."


I didn't really mind it in the beginning. She was the one asking him for help. He didn't know her and didn't care about her. He just assumed she was like every other high class witch out there. Also, she was stronger in the beginning. So, even when he was manipulative or poked at her in the beginning she had a strong core.

It's toward the end that it bugged me. Marietta turned soft and malleable. If he told her to walk into a wall again and again until he said stop she probably would. That's why it drove me nuts. Because it made his manipulation seem even worse, like kicking an extremely dumb puppy because it followed you around. She really did seem to have a different personality later in the book.

But the biggest reason the manipulation at the end bothered me the most is because that's usually when I get to watch the h/h cement their relationship. They're growing together and falling in love. This should have been when he started faltering and realizing that he just couldn't play with her anymore. I just wish I got to see it.


Catherine Rane wrote: "Great Review Catherine!
Nothing bugs me more then weak characters. By your review I can understand the hero's way of life, although that doesn't give him the right to be an asshat toward the..."


Thanks! Weak characters drive me nuts too. Maybe it's because I'm not weak, but I cannot stand watching them bend again and again. I just want to shake them. Also, so much was touted about her great ability to read him that I was bothered by her complete obliviousness to his machinations. It bothered me even more because she was supposed to be at the top of her game looking for evidence to exonerate her brother, but she just turned to ooze and floated along.

Mmmm, I know what you mean about the uncomfortable feeling. I have had it work for me before though. In Price Of Desire the first sex scene made me uncomfortable, but it was supposed to, and it really did further their characterizations. But on the whole, no, I don't want to get that creepy-crawly sensation as I read a sex scene.


message 18: by Juliana (new) - added it

Juliana Great review! And "orgasming puppet" = LOLOL


Catherine Juliana wrote: "Great review! And "orgasming puppet" = LOLOL"

LOL, thanks. This was a very interesting book. I still find myself conflicted over what I thought about it. It was one of my buddy reads with Katyana (hence the billion updates), so at least I wasn't alone in my confusion!


message 20: by Juliana (new) - added it

Juliana Sounds interesting enough that I want to check it out - that it left you so conflicted intrigues me, if nothing else!

What are buddy reads?


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