Charlotte Featherstone treats her readers to a lovely short story, featuring Matthew, the Earl of Wallingford, and his lady love, Jane Rankin, which finally shows their true happily-ever-after.
Unlike some readers, I was satisfied with Sinful, but when it ended, I couldn't help feeling like there was more story to tell. I'm so glad that I already knew this epilogue existed and even more grateful that I was able to get my hands on a copy since the author has dropped out of sight for the last three years. In her introduction to the epilogue, Charlotte Featherstone explains why it wasn't included in the book. It seems that upon turning in the manuscript to her editor, she was over her word count. Honestly, I don't know why this should have made a difference to her editor, since Addicted was approximately fifty pages longer than Sinful even with the epilogue still attached, but she doesn't expound on that. Her editor also thought that having two love scenes in such close proximity to one another would dilute them, therefore she was given a choice to either drop the final love scene in the main part of the story, one that was pivotal to Matthew's growth, and keep the epilogue, or keep that climactic love scene and drop the epilogue. She opted for the latter. If there truly was no other choice, then I'll admit that I believe Ms. Featherstone made the right one, because that last love scene in the book was absolutely necessary. However, I really disagree with the editor on the dilution part. If anything, this final piece of the story only made the entire thing that much stronger, because it shows a true and solid HEA for Matthew and Jane. Many readers were frustrated by the non-traditional HEA in the published version of Sinful, and I really can't blame them. I personally still loved it and was willing to overlook it, but if I'd read it without knowing about this epilogue, I probably would have marked it down a bit on the star rating. I really think the book would have gotten much better ratings, probably a 4+ star average, if this epilogue had been included.
The Sinful: Epilogue was an exquisite HEA ending to Matthew and Jane's story. It's everything I could have hoped for them and more. I love that Matthew's heart is so much lighter now that he's no longer tortured by his past. Jane has brought healing and wholeness to him, and all of the people who tormented him are now out of the picture in one way or another. It's just him, Jane, their children, and their good friends, Lindsay and Anais and their family. Matthew is the perfect doting and protective father, always looking out for his childrens' well-being. Five years later, he and Jane are every bit as passionate and in love as they ever were, and now that Matthew isn't quite as emotionally intense, there is a new playful, weightless, and joyful quality to their interactions that would have seemed nearly implausible at the end of Sinful. This was the ending that really made my heart soar in the way I wanted it to when I finished Sinful, but it didn't quite get there. So, overall the Sinful: Epilogue was perfect in every way. I couldn't have asked for a better finale, and yet, there's still more to come with the A Very Sinful Valentine novella, which I can't wait to read.
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