In the quiet hamlet of Yorkshire, the hallowed halls of Burndale School stand...and evil lurks in its dark corners. For a serial killer with a proclivity for blonde women has struck again-this time, murdering two of its teachers. Now everyone is wondering when the killer will seek his next victim...
Elizabeth Canham has accepted a teaching position at the local boarding school in Yorkshire. But her quiet life takes a surprising turn when she meets Griffin Fairfax-the handsome father of one of her pupils. His mesmerizing stare quickly draws her in, and she can't deny the fierce attraction between them...
Griffin Fairfax appears to be a doting father and gentleman. But one disturbing truth lies at the heart of the murders-all of the victims were intimately connected to him. When Elizabeth discovers this, she wonders if it's a mere coincidence or if Griffin could be a charming, seductive killer so many women have lost their hearts-and lives-to...
While I bought 'His wicked Sins' months back, it's been sitting and gathering dust in my TBR pile. Recently, both AmyC and Barbara gave the novel glowing reviews and I decided it was definitely time to give this gothic romance the reading it deserved.
Miss Elizabeth Canham is a fraud but a fraud with a righteous cause. She is a woman shaped by terror and tragedy that has left her riddled with phobias of the dark and the tightness of enclosed spaces. Yet despite the bleakness of her past and the subsequent character flaws, Beth is strong. The livelihood of her family rests upon her shoulders and that burden doesn't go unnoticed as Beth makes her way from London to Yorkshire for Burndale Academy and the young female charges it houses. The position as a teacher awaits her, a position she isn't the least bit qualified for but one that she is determined to secure and retain.
Dark and foreboding, Burdale Academy rests amidst a dark forest and is guarded by three gnarled and long dead trees. As winter looms on the horizon and the wind blows cold, it carries with it the whisperings of death, death so gruesome that it couldn't possibly be real. But the dark manse has known death. Two teachers have died by what was ruled a ravaging by beasts. As clues to the ultimate riddle are revealed, Beth suspects, but can't fully believe, that the beautiful and dark Griffin Fairfax is to blame.
Rumor swirls around Griffin but he cares not for what they say. He knows he's a monster and he doesn't need others to confirm his thoughts. When Beth enters his life with her moon lit ringlets and sky blue eyes, the monster within him howls. His attraction and yearning for her holds no bounds and he hopes to scare her, to drive her back by using the very ugliness that surrounds him. Yet his anger is ignited as well his desire when Beth shows no hope of turning away from him in fear or otherwise. As a man born to privilege then cast into poverty, he has done his worst to survive. When fate renders him the last surviving member of his family, Griffin finds himself once again to be the possessor of a great fortune. But his worst deeds were still yet to come.
Beth can no more stop her heart from fluttering or the tingles of desire from spreading than she can stop the wind and it's Griffin Fairfax that ignites her deepest yearnings. Beth is no fool to think that any man would want to marry a woman with her anxious tendencies that may be passed along to his children and with that knowledge comes the fact that she'll never know a man's intimate touch. Yet her desire for Griffin has grown to such proportions that she's accepted the fact that she will know him with every physical inch of her body and damn the consequences.
Although Griffin has tried his best to scare Beth away from him and the darkness that resides in his soul, Beth's resounding thought in his presence is safety. When she observes him with his frail daughter, she witnesses the shining love for another within his eyes and with it the tragic loss of faith. Griffin's daughter, Isobel, fell mute over three years ago after witnessing the death of her mother by his very hands. A girl with eyes wise beyond her years, she floats through the halls of Burndale Academy with only the slightest hint of awareness yet it's Beth who slowly awakens her from her stupor. It's Beth who finally takes an interest in his daughter. Who speaks to her as though she is really amongst the living and that Isobel too has a soul; one worth saving. It's this that endears Beth to Griffin.
Meanwhile, in the midst of Griffin's and Beth's lingering looks and stolen kisses, a stalker awaits the perfect time to strike. Although Beth feels the hungry eyes of a killer upon her, she dare not voice her concern. She can't prove that she's being watched, nor can she prove that someone has been in her room and touched her belongings. Her position at Burdale Academy is far too important to jeopardize and perhaps all that she is feeling and seeing are figments of her terror filled imagination.
Yet Beth's fears are realized after stumbling upon the body of another victim. Given sanctuary at Griffin's home while being questioned by local authorities, an overheard conversation unlocks the doors of the past within Beth's mind. As renewed terror oozes thick in her veins, she flees the saftely of Griffin's arms and straight into a killers.
Eve Silver paints the most eerie pictures with her words. She manages to create a bleak landscape rife with darkness and fear yet her words never become tedious or over descriptive. My mind was lost in Burndale Academy and it's evil secrets and I liked journeying through it all with Beth and her bravery. Ms. Silver even managed to dupe me with the identity of the killer. I thought I had it all figured out but she managed to creatively surprise me.
Beth was a very strong and extremely intelligent woman. The fact that she overcame near death and faces her terror daily is a testament to her abundant strength. I liked her thought process and how she gave everyone the benefit of the doubt before drawing her final conclusions of them. I also loved her unwavering belief that Griffin was a good man and not the monster he deluded himself into believing.
Lastly, I loved how Beth's past was revealed to the reader. Interwoven in the present are numerous flashbacks. Not specifically Beth's flashbacks but rather a sub story within 'His Wicked Sins' explaining not only the beginnings of serial murderer but how Beth's terror came to be and also what inspired her bravery.
Interested in Eve Silver? Check out AmyC at Romance Book Wyrm for her thoughts. Also check out Barbara's review of 'His Wicked Sins' at Happily Forever After.