Captive of Sin - Anna Campbell My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...

I ALWAYS love a dark, brooding, tortured hero and a story with angst and emotions. This book had it all but in so many ways, it went wrong for me that I hardly know where to start. The background and the starting of the book were interesting enough but I didn’t really adore Charis and fell for Gideon. The chemistry between them most of the times felt forced, not something that’s coming from within. I didn’t really think they belong to each-other in that sense. I truly wished this wasn’t the case but in the end, I just couldn’t love the book.

Sir Gideon, 25, has a dark, haunted past. It all happened in India where he worked as a spy and was tortured by the Nawab of Rangapindhi. Man, what he went through, I simply couldn’t stomach the situation. It was too sad; I thought, just too unfair. He was young and brilliant, only about 18 and the studious sort. Some of his interesting abilities such as: to be able to master a language, led one of his professors to refer him for the job. Gideon’s family life was in shambles. His father, like any other wastrel lord, did nothing good and died drunk. His brother, the heir, took the same path. Gideon would’ve loved to know his mother but she died giving birth to him. Poor guy sort of grew up all on his own, always in the scrutiny of his debauched father who thought him a wuss for being interested in books and not drinks and whores, the ‘manly ways’ of life! Anyway, Gideon’s life irrevocably changed in India. Not only had he learned about the wilder sides of life, such as sex but also, to live with danger, in every step of the way. He worked there for quite a long time before he was betrayed and ‘paid’ for a year in a dungeon in Rangapindhi. Now, it’s been a few months that Gideon’s been back in England but he can’t mix with people anymore, he can’t touch anyone without being horribly sick. He was on his way to his childhood home in Cornwall, Penrhyn, when he met Charise.

Charis, an heiress, was running away from her brutal and greedy step-brothers, who were also her legal guardians; until she marries or turns 21. And, she’d be 21 in about three weeks. Her step-brothers just beat her within an inch of her life so that she marries a wastrel and hand her money over to that man and ultimately, to them. Charis was badly wounded but still managed to escape and was trying to get to Portsmouth to hide (I was a bit confused about the great-aunt story, so not sure where) ‘til she turns 21. And, in the inn stable, where she was hiding, is where Gideon comes to her rescue. He and his Indian friend Akash (later known as the Viscount Cranbourne) with the help of Gideon’s man-servant Tulliver, Charis was taken with them. Akash took care of her injuries. (FYI: Akash also took care of Gideon in India, then he met Tulliver on the ship back to England, who’s been taking care of Gideon ever since.) Charis lies to Gideon about her identity and situation, I understood why. But what I didn’t understand that how, in the state she was in, could she start fantasizing about Gideon?! And, it went on for about 1/3 of the book and then it got weird. So, she’s now a bit miffed that Gideon won’t touch her or carry her when she needed to be carried. She tried to runaway once again in Portsmouth, knowing if Gideon learns about the truth, he might become one of those men who turned greedy with the mention of her money. When Charis got herself in trouble, Gideon fights for her which made Charis more intrigued about him.

Meanwhile, Gideon is also attracted to her, despite her bruised face and so on. I don’t know, everything seemed to leap too fast, except the story itself. It dragged on and on; I grew bored at one point because nothing interesting was happening, AT ALL except for Gideon’s rude behavior towards Charis, his rebuffing her attempts to be close and she turning out to be some persistent wench! It’s Gideon she wants, it’s Gideon she’ll have! I should’ve found this interesting but sadly, not in this book. Because of Gideon’s past and his revulsion of human touch, he kept pushing Charis away, even though his body wants her. It’s all psychological. I would’ve applauded Charis’s attempts to reach him but at some point I thought, she should let him be, hoping it’d give him some incentive to think matters through himself. But later on I felt, if Charis gave up, Gideon mightn’t have picked up the gauntlet. And, it’s NOT a very nice situation for a romance novel. I would’ve loved to see him trying to break free of his fears. No, I’m not judging him for what he became; I can’t even begin to imagine the things he’d experienced there but when she’s trying so hard (even went as far as being quite pushy, hiding her embarrassments and humiliations) and if you really want her, why not at least TRY?

But, he didn’t, for a long time. Not even when he proposed a marriage of convenience to save her from her step-brothers, who found out where she was. I didn’t like the conditions he put forth for this marriage. I knew Charis had no other choice and the fact that she’d already fallen in love with him (seriously?! I simply couldn’t believe it and ‘til the end I had this feeling that it was an infatuation) didn’t make it easy for her. She even tells him that, which Gideon dismisses as a case of ‘hero worship’, even though his heart wants it to be true. But, Charis is convinced she’s in love. Me, growing bored and hopeless by the minute! Then they make plans and get away to some other place to get married. Even knowing Gideon’s abominable conditions, Charis went through it. I was seriously curious as to how the wedding night goes. I mean the marriage had to be consummated. Gideon said there’d be this one time and somehow he’d manage. In midst of it, he goes out because he was confused about his ‘performance’ and thought of trying it on a whore! Oh God, if he went through the plan, I would’ve knocked his bon-bons off, really! I didn’t even like this incident. But, the wedding night wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Gideon was feeling sick, yet managed it without hurting Charis much. This little experience made Charis a crazy kitty cat for Gideon, as now she wants more of ‘it’ and him. And she does that, being naked later and making him angry (because he was again trying to ignore his wants and thinking ‘this is for the best’ crap), which incidentally made him forget about his ‘demons’ of the past. In return, she got a ‘royal f*cking’! (...that’s exactly how Gideon phrased it afterwards and man, I loved it! :p). Funny thing is, in neither of the acts, Charis found her release. I’m mentioning it because later on, when she convinces him that this might work (she thinking she’s thought out some ‘miracle’ resolution to his problems and Gideon thinking he might not, after all, resign to a celibate life... oh joy!), Gideon promises to show her all the pleasures he can give. Then it seemed like his troubles went away, at least when it comes to Charis. He could touch her and the two had sex like bunnies for about 2 weeks afterwards *snorts*. No, I found Gideon kinda sexy, even though he’s a bit of a blockhead but his thoughts on ‘this is for the best’ simply made me nuts.

Charis is so in love with her husband and grateful for the privilege of touching him, the fact that she can’t vocalize her feelings was driving her crazy. She’d already said it once and was rejected. She knows he’s a good man, trusts him with all her heart. After everything he’d done for her, how can she not love him? (‘hero worship’, anyone?) Even now, when it seems things are looking better, Gideon keeps his emotions bottled up. Well, you should’ve known that woman! Didn’t you see how he was? I mean, her thoughts and actions, a lot of the times, didn’t cooperate- something that just grated on my nerves. Problem was, I couldn’t even call her TSTL outright because even in all these, some of her of the things she did were commendable. Like, her persistence on winning Gideon; when even I thought at times she should just give him her back, she didn't. It was something of a read!

So when, after this blissful interlude, Gideon went back to his: I should live apart as the original plan and let her f*ck some other guy and live in London because no one would want to live in this Godforsaken Castle with me [note: a castle that overlooks the beautiful Cornish sea]. It’s for the best! crap, I felt like strangling him, seriously! As I mentioned before, I would’ve LOVED to see him TRY and tell her, I want to see how it works between us or something like that. Charis was hurt because, obviously, she didn’t at all expect him to revert back to his original decision. They fight over it, which resulted in a strain in their relationship. On their way to Penrhyn, they were accosted by Charis’s step-brothers. After much shuffling thoughts and word exchanges, Gideon was taken hostage for her money. And, this hostage situation did something for him; Gideon had the time to think and come to terms with his ‘demons’. Finally, when he was rescued, he could let the past go and was able to mix with people around him. The whole thing was supposed to mark a momentous situation for the book but it came too late IMO and I had already lost much of my interest. All those tossing and turning, back and forth, had its toll on me. So later on, I decided on 3 stars because it wasn’t a bad book but just not enough to keep me glued to it. As a whole, I was distracted and annoyed far too many times to have truly enjoyed it.