An Unexpected Sin

Sarah Ballance
An Unexpected Sin
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Entangled Publishing
Release Date
April 2014
Historical Romance

The moment the stranger's dark eyes meet hers, Anne Scudder's world is immediately overthrown by chaos. That single flare of desire is immediate, driving away all notions of propriety. Instead, Anne is consumed with sinful thoughts - ones that no unmarried girl should ever have for a man who isn't her husband...

But Josiah Cromwell is no stranger.

It's been six years since Josiah stole kisses from Anne, his best friend's younger sister. Six years since Josiah left after his best friend's death, burdened by the knowledge that he was responsible for destroying Anne's family. Now he's returned to claim the woman he can't live without. But even as their desire threatens to consume them both - body and soul - the dark workings of suspicion and witchcraft are afoot.

Because in Salem, too much passion can lead a woman to ruin... and condemned to death.

Book Review by BJ (reviewer)
Apr 08, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
116 people found the following review helpful
AN UNEXPECTED SIN is a well-written, American historical romance that provides chilling insight into the tumultuous times of the Salem Witch Trials. Amidst this backdrop, Ms. Ballance delivers a captivating tale of forbidden love, guilt and forgiveness and the mysterious past that shapes the hero's and heroine's path to love.

Anne Scudder has been in love with her brother's best friend, Josiah Cromwell, since they were children. As kids, Josiah would seek her attention with his endless teasing and then to her thrilling delight would sooth her with his stolen kisses. Her childhood happiness, however, abruptly came to a halt the day that her brother drowned and Josiah disappeared from her life.

Josiah also was in love with Anne, a love that Anne's beloved brother condoned. Believing himself to be responsible for her brother's death, however, he determines to disappear rather than cause her any pain. He tries to get her out of his mind, while he concentrates on his studies at Harvard, but is unable to do so.

Six years later, Anne is captivated by a stranger, whom she discovers is Josiah all grown up. Unsure of whether Anne's family would allow him to stay if they knew his true identity, Josiah becomes a hired hand at Anne's family's inn, but never discloses his last name. It doesn't take long for Anne and Josiah to revisit the feelings they held long ago.

Then one fateful stormy night, a sister of one of Anne's friends is hanged for suspected witchcraft. Knowing the allegations could not possibly be true, Anne is devastated and wanders into the woods alone. Fearing for her safety, her parents send Josiah to find Anne. Overwhelmed by the multitude of feelings unleashed, they both succumb to the sinful pleasures that can only be had in each other's arms, culminating in Anne's family learning Josiah's true identity and her mother accusing Josiah of killing her son, a fact which had never previously been disclosed to Anne. Beyond consolation, Anne sends him away, and Josiah who already suffers unbearable guilt, and has an even darker secret that could lead Anne to even greater danger, determines that because he is so in love with Anne he must leave her to protect her from further pain.

Mysteries abound in AN UNEXPECTED SIN. Is Josiah really responsible for Anne's brother's death? What is the even more devastating secret he hides (a secret which her mute grandmother seems to be aware of)? Can Anne and Josiah ever find a HEA given Anne's family's sentiments? Will Anne even give Josiah another chance after his shocking admission as to his involvement in her brother's death?

I truly enjoyed this sad tale of guilt and its resulting unnecessary consequences. A sad beginning that is necessary to deliver the beautiful message in the end: forgiveness is the route to love and happiness. Not only is this a special story with a special message, but I also found it incredibly enlightening. Ms. Ballance's attention to the historical detail surrounding the events leading up to the Salem Witch Trials is fascinating and adds an interesting layer to this already entertaining story.

If you love historical romances with a story line detailing true historical events, you will not want to miss AN UNEXPECTED SIN!
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