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Wages of Sin
Jenna Maclaine
St. Martin's Paperbacks, 352 pages

Wages of Sin
Jenna Maclaine
Jenna Maclaine has a BA in history from North Georgia College & State University. When she isn't writing she spends her time caring for the 80+ animals that share her family farm in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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A review by Katherine Petersen

Jenna Maclaine creates a heady mix of historical intrigue and vampires in Wages of Sin, the first book in her Cin Craven series. The story takes place in Regency England in and around London. Dulcinea Craven comes from a long line of powerful witches who usually come into their power gradually as they age, but Dulcie receives all her power at once, the night her parents are killed in a mysterious carriage accident on their way home from a party. In fact, Dulcie's whole life changes that night. Former playmate and current would-be suitor Sebastian Montford wants to marry her, but she doesn't at first realize it's her power he craves. Turned into a vampire and manipulated by an ancient demon, Sebastian tries to seduce Dulcie. When she refuses, he uses his vampire sensuality to call to her, so her housekeeper and her daughter must tie her up and then knock her out to keep her in the house.

After consulting with friends, Dulcie seeks help from the Righteous, a group of three "good" vampires who police and destroy the rogue undead. Things get more complicated when Dulcie falls for Michael, a handsome Scot who fell at the battle on Culloden Moor. She doubts a love match would work between a human and a vampire and doesn't know if she's willing to give up her humanity for love.

Any fan of historical fiction will commend Maclaine's research and knowledge of customs, dress and language of this era. She skillfully interweaves the intrigue of what the demon wants and where she came from with vampire action and romance. Fans of romance will wish Maclaine spent more time on the courtship between Cin, as she is called later in the novel, and Michael, and those who prefer urban fantasy elements more will appreciate that she devotes more time to action. Personally, I'm more an urban fantasy fan, so this book worked for me on many levels. Maclaine's prose flows well with vivid descriptions of environment, whether it's a desolate moor or the interior of a room. This story offers a clear delineation between good and evil, and The Righteous proves that not all vampires are bad.

My only criticism is that I'd like to see more depth to Cin's personality. While she faces difficult, life-changing decisions, her personality doesn't stand out, I would find it difficult to describe specific personality traits, so she doesn't stand out among all the sassy, bossy, steady or flighty characters out there. This could easily change in the following two books in the series: Grave Sins and Bound by Sin. I look forward to reading these next installments to get to know her better and see what adventures she finds next.

Copyright © 2009 Katherine Petersen

Katherine Petersen started reading as a young child and hasn't stopped. She still thinks she can read all the books she wants, but might, at some point, realize the impossibility of this mission. While she enjoys other genres, she thrives on fantasy, science fiction and mysteries.

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