Passion for the Game
Sylvia Day
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Passion for the Game
Sylvia Day
320 pages
June 2007
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Sylvia Day's Passion for the Game is historical romance of the more earthy kind - there are more sex scenes in this story than anything else and, for this reader at least, it was a disappointment. The underlying plot and story of this book have potential: two very singular people, a smuggler pirate who is on his way to the gallows and a society widow who is generally suspected of killing her two husbands, clash as they both try to use each other for their own ends. Both Christopher St. John and Maria, Lady Winter, are interesting, lively characters whose strength of nature has been forged through their difficult histories.

Christopher St. John has been released from Newgate so that he can get evidence against Lady Winter for the deaths of her two husbands who were actually agents of the crown. Lady Winter has been blackmailed by her murderous stepfather ,Viscount Welton, to spy on Christopher St. John. These two people therefore meet under the circumstances where they cannot trust each other as their lives, or the lives of those they love, are at stake. But as they spend more time in each others' company (usually horizontally in this book!), they begin to unravel the different layers of each other's personality and find something rather more important together. There is also a subplot of Amelia, Maria's sister, and her blossoming into womanhood while under house arrest by her father - she is used as a bargaining chip to make Maria do Viscount Welton's bidding.

The plot is fairly good in this story, but the disappointment lies in the ubiquitous sex scenes. One or two would be enough to give us an idea that Christopher and Maria are compatible in bed, but it seems that they leap under the sheets at every possible opportunity, and we have to have detailed all that they do there. Although meant to be a romance, this falls rather short on the romance and is far more of a sex manual - and one which uses rather coarse language at that, even between the hero and heroine. I was also not always entirely sure of the historical setting in many cases, and some of the phraseology is American rather than 18th-century English. There are some interesting characters such as Quinn, Amelia and Colin (whom I imagine are the subject of a forthcoming book), but more could have been made of the hero and heroine in this story outside the bedroom. A reasonable read, this is also a missed opportunity overlaid with too much sex.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2007

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