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.
Each book in the Sins of Salem series is STANDALONE:
* Her Wicked Sin
* An Unexpected Sin
* The Sins of a Few
About the Author
Sarah and her husband of what he calls "many long, long years" live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they're asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren't much better than the kids). Though she adores romantic suspense, she writes in many genres. Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found at http://sarahballance.com.
Read an Excerpt
An Unexpected Sin
A Sins Of Salem Novel
By Sarah Ballance, Edited by Erin Molta
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Sarah Ballance
All rights reserved.
Anne Scudder returned an errant strand of hair to her coif and peered through a stand of wildflowers. The heavily scented blooms tickled her nose with their late summer whimsy. "I do not see him," she whispered.
Prudence Abernathy parted the blooms, widening the view. "There. Passing along the boards," she said with hushed interest.
There, indeed. The midday sun feasted on the young man in question, now easily visible through the stems. His loose linen shirt clung to his back, outlining the rigid form of his muscles as he worked. Well-formed thighs challenged his breeches and left no doubt as to his physical prowess. Anne could not make out the color of his hair, for it was shadowed by the brim of his hat and likely darkened with sweat. As he worked, lifting and tossing lumber, she caught only a glimpse of his eyes.
And they seemed to fix on her.
"Oh!" Anne sat back, pulling Prudence alongside her and causing them both to tumble onto their backsides. The floral spray swayed back to its place, though assuredly not before he made observation.
Anne righted herself, and sure enough, another peek revealed his eyes square upon her. The affixation lasted but a moment before a shouted order turned his attention to his work.
"Who do you suppose he is?" Anne asked. Salem was a small village with few strangers, and though its most recent months had been spent in accusations of witchcraft, that dark veil seemed far from this day. Neighbor after neighbor had gathered to help in a house-raising for a young couple, newly married with a babe on the way. With every resident in assistance — and a few, such as Anne, visiting from neighboring towns — work would progress at such a rate the young couple would move in that very eve.
"Perhaps he visits from elsewhere in the province," said Prudence, echoing Anne's thoughts.
"He seems familiar. Do you suppose I might recognize him from town?" Though Anne had grown up in Salem Village, she had moved to adjacent Salem Town where her parents now operated an inn. Anne often traveled the road dividing the sparsely populated farming village from the bustling town, her loyalty split between her childhood home and the new life her parents had created after her brother's devastating accident.
Prudence slanted her eyes toward Anne. "You should approach. Ask him."
Anne shook her head. "I shall not be so forward!"
"There is nothing forward about asking that poor sweaty man if he would like a drink."
"He is sweaty because he works," Anne protested. "He does not need his labor interrupted by conversation."
"You object too readily," Prudence said, her eyes following his every move. "Besides, I see no other woman tending his needs."
"He should think me silly." But Anne's objections had indeed waned. She had not entertained such an immediate attraction to anyone since she was a young girl harboring affection for her older brother's closest friend. Now, the way her stomach fluttered seemed all too familiar.
"What is silly," Prudence said, "is not bringing a thirsty man a drink. Now go, lest I go in your place."
Anne blew an exasperated breath, but her protest ended there. Prudence had found a suitable prompt, for Anne had little doubt her friend would seek the man's affections herself if given the opportunity. She held the kind of confidence for which Anne could only wish. Indeed, the very idea of approaching him dizzied her, but she did not want to miss her chance, so she stood, weak-kneed, and waded through the stand of flowers. When she pushed past the last stem, she smoothed her skirts and wondered how one went about acting casually when all out of sorts. As it were, her attempts to relax only seemed to stiffen her spine, making each step more awkward than the last. The heat of embarrassment must be due to Prudence's attention, but when Anne took a cup from a refreshment station and turned toward the young man, she found his gaze raking goose bumps from her flesh.
Her step faltered. His attention was a profound caress. He stood a head above her, and with little distance between them she could make out tawny hints of color in his sweat-darkened hair. A light sheen glimmered over every exposed inch of tanned skin. Honey-brown eyes fixed on her, seeming to see too much. Anne subconsciously moistened her lips as she watched a drop of sweat travel from his neck to his chest. When the droplet disappeared into his shirt's fabric, she tore her gaze away. The heat rising to her cheeks rivaled that of the sun, but she forced herself to meet his eyes.
Warm and buttery brown, they settled on her without the slightest trace of the tremble which thoroughly shook her insides. When he smiled — a half crooked grin that sought balance in the slight tip of his head — she thrust forward the cup and fought the urge to flee. The drink sloshed on his hand.
A raised eyebrow accompanied his widened smile as he accepted her gift. "Thank you."
Such simple words, but the huskiness of his voice enthralled her.
He is only thirsty, she warned herself. But no amount of common sense could take from her the thrill of his appraisal. The slow walk of his gaze lit fire to her skin, leaving her exceedingly grateful for the skirts that hid her shaking legs, though the same could not be said for her heaving chest.
"Would you like a drink?" Did her voice waver? She studied him, but the search of his features revealed nothing.
He watched her even as he took a long swallow. When he lowered the cup, he wiped his brow with his forearm and then adjusted the hat he had knocked askew. Though the brim shadowed his face, the uneven heat that trailed over her skin suggested his burning appraisal. "I suspect I will be thirsty again later," he said. "Will I see you here?"
Several seconds passed before the weight of his words fully settled. "I — I will be here."
"In that case," he said, touching the brim of his hat, "I have yet another reason to enjoy my work."
The words hinted at dismissal, but he made no move toward the lumber piled at his feet. Rather, he stood in apparent oblivion to the activity rushing past them on both sides.
Anne found herself guilty of the same. The sun's intensity had grown curiously and the sky had deepened in its shade of blue, but just as surely as her senses heightened, the furious clamor of the house-building faded to a dull background murmur. A thousand questions tumbled through her mind, but none found their way to her lips.
"I will look for you," he said.
The words, an aching promise she felt as thoroughly as she did the earth beneath her feet, sent her insides into a happy skid. A niggle of familiarity insisted she knew this man from somewhere, piquing her curiosity and adding to her jumbled thoughts.
The attraction had to be mutual. He'd find her. Of that, she had no doubt.
"Until then." Anne backed two steps then turned and ran the rest, not caring how foolish she must look, for if she did not escape his lingering assessment she would surely combust.
* * *
Josiah Cromwell wiped his brow, nearly sighing with the relief of the cooler evening air against his skin. Never had a day of work passed as slowly as this one, so heavily fraught with anticipation of seeing Anne. He had adored her for nearly as many years as he could remember. When they were children, her brother had been his closest friend, and though those days had long past, the time had not erased his want of her — nor had it eased his worry. Had she forgiven him for the accident? Did she know of his guilt?
The questions, like his desire for her, had only grown with time.
Despite the many years past, Josiah had known Anne the moment she graced his line of vision. From that first moment he sought her, finding her in the crowd of neighbors before losing her again, his every thought consumed with how he might approach her. She granted him favor by coming to him, but she made no acknowledgment that she knew who he was, leaving him the difficult task of admitting his identity. Though their shared tragedy was many years behind them, he anticipated the reminder of his presence would be a painful one.
The last thing he wanted was to hurt her, but the risk was worth the chance to know her again ... whenever that opportunity might come.
By late evening, much of the work had dissolved into fellowship. The men talked and sipped their cups, the heavy tasks behind them. The women hurried about, adding meager comforts to the home and providing a meal to mark the end of a long, successful day. Though he received a number of offers, Josiah had no interest in the food.
He wanted Anne.
Finally he found her skirting the edge of the crowd. She kept company with the same vaguely familiar blond woman who had earlier hidden with her in the weeds. Though he was from Salem and the village remained much the same, he recognized few of its residents — in particular the younger ones, in whom the years had provoked the most change. But it was just as well, for he ardently hoped none of his former neighbors recognized him. With that prayer in mind, he waved to Anne and her friend, sending the blonde to a hasty exit — something he might have found amusing if not for the fast, disorienting cadence of his heart.
So many years were left to this moment.
Anne came to him, her eyes slightly downcast as she watched him through her lashes. "Good morrow," she said.
Her words were impossibly light and so terribly shy that they lifted a weight from his chest. She did not speak in the tone of a woman who held anger or distrust. Perhaps he had a chance, after all.
He cleared his throat. "Anne — "
She did not look through her lashes any longer. Now, she stared straight at him through brilliantly green eyes, wide with wonder. "You know my name?"
He tried to swallow, but his throat refused to cooperate. Her shock did not bode well for his hopes for forgiveness, or at least that her kindness indicated she had forgiven him. She had not yet realized who he was.
"I do," he said. "We were ... my name is Josiah Cromwell." The words hung thick in the air. A small piece of his pride would be crushed if she did not remember him, but to know him might crush her. He wanted nothing more than to protect her from the pain of the past, but eventually she would know. She had to know.
And perhaps she already did.
The fury of emotions storming Anne's face sent Josiah's stomach spinning. Anne must now remember him, for no empty recollection would account for such a reaction. But was that blame tumbling alongside the surprise, or was she just startled by his reappearance?
Try as he might, he could not ascertain whether she believed it was he who brought harm to her brother.
The silence wavered, as unsteady as the earth beneath his feet.
"Josiah," she finally said. His name was little more than a gentle breath. The fading sun lit fire to her features, turning a few escaped strands of hair to burnished gold that lent a sparkle to her eyes. A true forest green. He had not forgotten their hue, for the unusual intensity did not make for the kind of memory a man could easily evade. He had been but a lad at their last meeting, but man enough to hunger for her sensual curves and supple movements. Even then he had treasured every moment her deep emerald eyes had fixed upon him.
The confession hung on his lips, but he held back. He had not been in Salem a day and was far from caught up on the six years of talk he had missed. She might well belong to another, and no matter Josiah's chances with her, he would make no attempt to sway the affections of a woman already betrothed.
The silence stretched to awkward lengths. He cleared his throat. "It was kind of you to bring the drink. I am most grateful."
"Josiah." The fiery blush in her cheeks threatened to defeat the sun. "I cannot believe I did not know you!"
She was his best friend's little sister. Time had taken so much ... it was no wonder she knew him not, for Josiah was best forgotten. He forced a light tone. "Do you prefer to minister to strangers?"
"I —" She touched her mouth with her hand, the shock melting when he could no longer hide his grin.
"It has been a long while," he said. "And we were ... it has been a while." He fumbled his words, hesitant to remind her of their shared moments, for at no time had they not endured her brother's company. As much as Josiah would have loved back then to share a private moment with Anne, the impropriety of such a meeting would have surely led to severe punishment. So, he had coped in the only way possible — by teasing her mercilessly, then soothing her annoyance with kisses for which he risked life and limb. For if Anne did not seek to end him for his liberties, verily her brother would. All the while, Josiah had dreamed of the chance to truly indulge in her sweetness ... and something more. As a child, he could not put a name on what it was he wanted, but now he knew it to be passion. For her to long for him, no matter the cost. But fate had offered one cruel twist after another ... Had he missed his chance?
"Indeed, it has been a long while," she said. "Many years have passed."
He swallowed the nerves clogging his throat. He needed to ask her a question, but her answer might well put an end to desires that had spanned better than a decade. But better to know now. "Forgive me for being so forward," he said, "but have you taken a husband?"
Aside a slight tilt of her head, his question did not seem to take her off guard. "I have not."
Relief edged through him, though he had yet to secure her availability. Her parents were charged with the task of finding her a husband, and she was close to the age of matrimony. It was quite possible a match had already been made. He pressed on. "Has a marriage been arranged?"
To that, she laughed. The sound of her laughter burned its impression on his heart, for when he had left town, he believed he would never again hear her joy. Now he wanted to gather those pieces, to keep them in a place of hope.
"My father has not spoken of a match," she said, still smiling.
Her father. Another burnt ember of Josiah's past. He glanced over her shoulder where men moved simple furnishings into the home, many of which had been pieced together that very day. Bittersweet longing settled over him. His home — his family — had been taken from him. Would, too, his chance to start over?
Anne's response did not indicate whether she held an interest in anyone — just that her father had yet to arrange her marriage. Josiah did not ask her to elaborate. He would take these moments of conviviality — however few — and feast on their familiar warmth.
Still, though she did not seem angry, awkward expectation lay between them. "I have thought of you often," he said.
Her eyes glittered fiercely, hinting at unshed tears, but they did not rival the brilliance of her smile. Though it wobbled a bit, it was true.
He wanted to reach for her. To finally feel the warmth of her body against his, but he would have to live with the ghost of their past indiscretions. The years had not faded the forbidden sensations.
But for her, they surely had not faded the pain.
Her brother was dead, and the fault was Josiah's.
The past came flooding back to Anne as she stood with Josiah. And at such a pace, the present seemed pushed away by the turgid waters. Gone was the grown, utterly masculine Josiah. In his place was a gangly boy — tall, even at sixteen years of age — who had taunted and thrilled her young heart. He had provoked her endlessly, but in soft and gentle ways. Ways that had warmed her, made her feel things she could never fully admit. And now those old memories swirled relentlessly, the innocent longing of her girlhood now a trembling, untried need.
Josiah's hair, once a bright blond, was darker now, but his eyes were the same. She wondered how she had not known him at once, for she had spent many hours dreaming of having those eyes rest upon her with the very interest they now expressed. Could he really, after so many years, hold affection for her, or was it guilt that compelled his attention?
"I am surprised to see you again," she murmured. "After ..."
"Samuel's accident." The words hung heavily, thick and forlorn.
Anne's older brother, dead.
"I miss him every day." Just a girl of fourteen at the time, and the incident not spoken of since, Anne had never been privy to the details. All she knew was that one horrible day her brother was lost forever, and it was not until much later that it really hit her that Josiah was gone, as well. When she had finally surfaced above her grief, she had spent much time wondering what had become of him. But her questions were for naught, for she had not seen him in all the years since.
Excerpted from An Unexpected Sin by Sarah Ballance, Edited by Erin Molta. Copyright © 2014 Sarah Ballance. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A FORBIDDEN FRUIT SYNDROME hero tries to reclaim his dead BF little sister, but it's in Salem & witchy superstition is afoot! Anne Scudder has only loved 1 man & that was her brother's BF Josiah. She not only lost her brother when he die, but she lost Josiah as he moved away. He would steal sweet kisses, then not so sweet kisses & he will always hold her heart. Will she ever find her love again? Josiah Cromwell is back in Salem for only 1 thing, Anne. After the death of her brother, his father sent him away in shame, but hided it behind his education, as he was sent to school. He father always blamed him for his mom's death & his new wife never liked him, so he never came back until he could provide & marry Anne. As Salem village is having a house raising for a newlywed couple, Anne & her BF Prudence are hiding in the flowers & sneaking looks at the new guy in town, as he is flexing his muscles. Josiah doesn't know how to meet Anne again, but she is eyeballing him over the flowers, giggling with her friend & bravely shoving & spilling a glass of water at him. As they chat, she thinks she knows him, he tells her it's him, she is floored with happiness, he sneaks a kiss & her world is bright again! They hatch a plan for him to go to her family's Inn, apply for the handyman job & hopefully her parents won't remember him, so he can be close to her & woo her parents with his hard work. What do they say about plans? All doesn't go well as her grandma gives him the evil eye, her mom treats him like servant, Josiah looks at her too long, living so close, but so far & temptations aplenty, but at least her dad likes him & all the hard work. Now Salem was talk of evil, witches, a stranger stalking the forest, a witchcraft hanging, Anne walking too far, & Josiah goes searching, she feels the darkness closing in, they actually meet at the cross roads, find shelter, a fire is started with kindling, wet clothes removed & Anne's inner BAD GIRL takes her man. Can Anne love him after learning of his part in the death of her brother? Will Josiah earn her parents respect & her hand? Is Josiah's past coming back to haunt him? Why the evil eye from grandma? This is my 2nd book by Ms. Ballance & the 2nd book of her Sins of Salem series. This book has the FORBIDDEN FRUIT SYNDROME & I personal love that storyline, which is CRAVING a little sister & Ms. Ballance added a brother's death in the mix. Anne was a heroine in 1600s & I thought 1800s were tough, but Salem was not a friendly place for young love or even happiness. I hate (a word I rarely use) busybodies, gossip HOs & people who pass their pain on to others, but Salem was filled to the brim with them. Anne knew what she wanted, took it, was willing to deal with the fallout & I think that makes her very brave & down right HEROIC in the 1600s! Josiah CRAVED his BF little sister, but his grieve & guilt over shadowed it all. He could never have Anne truly without facing the good, the bad & the really ugly of himself. I loved Anne' dad with his nurturing & caring nature & her grandma was a crazy hoot & since I know I am a crazy hoot & I totally love her! Ms. Ballance brought back Lydia & Henry, who was in the series 1st book, to help Anne & Josiah to find their uneasy way & I love an author who brings back characters with a purpose. Now like all romances, there needs to be those yummy scenes & Anne & Josiah only had 1 night of tangled lips, hands & legs, but HELLO it was 1600s, so it worked. I can't wait to read the next book in this series because it is has the spoiled & lying Abbott sister's brother in it & those girls need a slap upside their heads! Ms. Ballance wrote a sweet & slightly sizzling tale of young love in a place full of hate, superstition, lies & rumors, so this tale earns my score of 3 fingers up & 7 toes! ARC given for my honest review.
By Merri House "Merri" (Nashville, TN USA) This review is from: An Unexpected Sin (Entangled Scandalous) (Kindle Edition) This was the first book I have read by this author and I enjoyed it. This story had an array of things happening throughout the book that kept my attention. It had suspense, mystery, tragedy, loss, and romance all of which had me flipping through the pages until the very end and I wasn't disappointed to find the happily ever after I anticipated. I admire the fact that the author was able to deliver a well written story without the presence of a lot of foul language and explicit love scenes.
This is my first historical romance set in the Colonial period - more specifically during the Salem witch trials. I always thought this was a very interesting period of time. Sarah Ballance managed to capture the time period perfectly for me. The accusations flying, innocent people accused, not defending anyone for fear you'd be named next. It was a very tense period in which to live. These issues all touched the story of Anne and Josiah in different ways - ways they could have been disasterous. It was very nicely pieced together. The downfall of this novel was the period language. I know they spoke this way, but when it was also narrated this way, it was a little rough at times. One word in particular seemed to grate on me, verily. When used in dialog it was very fitting but it was thrown in elsewhere just a little too often. The blame Josiah places on himself was a little over done and I did get tired of hearing about how unworthy he thought he was. Overall, this was a good shot at the period for historical fiction. My issues with the book may not bother other readers at all - some may even enjoy them. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
3.75 stars I really enjoyed the relationship between Anne and Josiah! They have many obstacles to overcome, mainly Josiah's own issues and Anne's family issues. They have that forever love that always makes for a nice read. :) They were sweet in my opinion, especially the way that Josiah is with Anne. She is daring and one of a kind. I liked the secondary characters as well. I hope that Prudence gets a story with the man that I think will be popping up. ;)
I loved this book just as much as I loved the first in the series. I fell in love with the characters as much as I did Salem. The mystery, the propriety, the scandal... the sin. Although a second book in a series, you will not feel lost if you haven't read the first. Several details are woven in throughout this book with past characters, creating a very enriched world set in colonial Salem. The words, the settings, every last detail right now to the description of the clothing will leave you feeling like you were there, watching this story unfold from in the midst of it. An Unexpected Sin is a sweet, heartwarming, yet mysterious love story. You won't be able to put it down.
An Unexpected Sin was a sweet, young love story set in one of the eras in American history that we are ashamed of -- the witch trials in Salem, MA. Josiah Cromwell has returned to Salem after years away, following the death of his best friend, Samuel, brother of Anne. Fraught with guilt for young Samuel's death and packed off to school, Josiah dreams of being reunited with Anne, Samuel's younger sister whom Josiah fell in love with. Anne sorely missed Josiah after he left when her brother died. She not only lost her brother, but she lost her good friend and love interest, too. Josiah must prove his worth to her parents when he returns, but how does one beg for forgiveness for an accidental death? The story is sweet and romantic and you cheer for Josiah and Anne. You'll furrow your brow as the grandmother keeps saying cryptic things and it's only at the end where the truth comes out. Will Josiah and Anne be together? Will they have her parents' blessings? Will we finally understand what that grandmother has been uttering? Wonderful read, very enjoyable and romantic.
An Unexpected Sin, the second book in the Sins of Salem series, is set in the time of the Salem witch hunts and speaks to the bleakness of the time and the care each person had to take to avoid being unjustly accused of witchcraft. I like learninng more about this time period, even though I find it upsetting at how little it took to be accused. The author's research and attention to detail is very apparent. Josiah has returned home, after six years, seeking his childhood friend, Anne. He's loved her all this time and can only hope she returns his feelings. But he has secets and as the story progresses, we learn others have secrets, too. I love the air of mystery the author created with all the secrets woven into the story. I truly enjoyed Josiah and Anne's journey, experiencing the joy of their love and the difficulties they endured right along with them. In my opinion, this book offers the reader a rich and beautiful love story. Even if you haven't read the first book in this series, you won't feel lost; An Unexpected Sin works well as a stand-alone. I can't wait for the next book in this series, ever hopeful that the instigators receive their just reward. I find Ms. Ballance to be a talented writer, regardless of genre, and look forward to reading her work for a long time. 4 Stars. *ARC received from the publisher for an honest review.
Una ración de romance histórico dulce y apasionado. AN UNEXPECTED SIN, de Sarah Ballance, tiene lugar en el siglo XVII entre el pueblo y la ciudad de Salem, donde la cacería de brujas está viviendo un momento álgido y las normas morales son tan austeras que ni la bondad ni la camaradería vecinal se salvan. La pareja protagonista compartió su niñez hasta que la muerte se cebó en el hermano de ella, cortando de raíz un romance juvenil apasionado. Tras muchos años, ya adultos, Anne y Josiah se reencuentran en la ciudad mercantil de Salem. Ella no le reconoce al principio, pero poco a poco retomarán su relación mientras la atracción crece entre ellos. Lo que más me ha atraído de esta novela es el lenguaje arcaico aunque claro que tan bellamente pone de manifiesto el ambiente de la época. La relación entre Anne y Josiah es preciosa, romántica y clásica, aunque son capaces de romper las normas pasando una noche de pasión muy tórrida. Por otro lado, Josiah soporta una gran culpabilidad desde que el hermano de Anne murió, algo que no le perdona mucha gente, incluida la madre de Anne. La familia pesa en esta historia. Guardan terribles secretos que afectan a la pareja de forma muy dramática. Uno tras otro influyen en las decisiones que toma Josiah y en los caminos que puede afrontar Anne. En resumen: En un clima oscurantista y persecutorio, las acusaciones de brujería campan a sus anchas en Salem. Los secretos del pasado van a poner a prueba el amor de una pareja que luchará con valentía contra el pasado y las normas sociales. El desenlace feliz es muy satisfactorio, y el estilo narrativo enriquece la ambientación de la época. Temas principales: romance, persecución de brujas, valores familiares, secretos No apta para: los que busquen personajes y ambiente modernos.
I haven't read this one yet but have to write a review for a contest. What I will say is that I look forward to reading it as it sounds like a great story and after the first book I know I'll love this one. I have to thank Sarah Ballance for giving me a copy of this TBR book. I can't wait to jump in and read it and then leave a review of exactly what I do think of this book. I am very certain that I'll love it though. :)
Having read the first book in the series I was quite enthused to receive a copy of An Unexpected Sin. This story took place during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. This was a very dangerous time in history where persons had to be very careful as the least appearance of the unusual could result in one being accused of witchcraft. An Unexpected Sin tells the story of Anne Scudder and Josiah Cromwell. These two were close friends since childhood, however due to tragedy in the Scudder family Josiah was forced to leave Salem. After several years of separation, Josiah decided to return home with the intention to make amends with the Scudder family and to Anne as his wife. Josiah’s past is shrouded with secrets. A secret which could cost him his life and the life of those dear and near to him if it were to be revealed and one that could lead him losing Anne. I found him to be lacking in faith as he doubted that he would not be able to be with Anne. Anne on the other hand was upbeat and very optimistic about their relationship. What I liked most about Anne is that her belief in Josiah never wavered. The author’s portrayal of the characters makes it easy for one to empathize with them and to understand why they believed they had to do the things they did. An Unexpected Sin is a poignant story of love, separation, secrets, guilt, forgiveness and healing. The lessons to be learnt from this story are : Painful secrets can destroy lives and cause emotional and physical pain. You should not blame yourself for someone else’s decision. We each have to take responsibility for our own actions and decisions. I enjoyed this story from beginning to end. If you love to read historical romance then get yourself a copy of An Unexpected Sin. DISCLOSURE: I WAS PROVIDED WITH AN ARC IN EXCHANGE FOR A HONEST REVIEW.
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. Review: I know I probably said this when I reviewed the first book in the series, but I really do love that this is set in Salem in the time of the witch hunts. I think the witch hunts, and the paranoia add a perfect backdrop that adds to the drama and tension to the story. The authors attention to the detail of the time period is excellent and really helps you relate to the characters and the time period. Even though this is the second book in the story, if you have not read the first book yet, you will not feel lost. The author does give us references to things that happened in the first story and we do get to see the main characters briefly in this book. The weaving in of Lydia and Henry into this story is perfect and makes sense. Josiah and Anne are friends and at the beginning of young love when tragedy strikes and Anne's brother, Samuel is killed and they are ripped apart. Josiah and others blame him for Samuel's death, so when he comes back to Salem after years of being away he tries to hide who he is, except with Anne. The young love that was there all those years ago is still there and blossoms into a deeply passionate, forbidden love that culminates in a night of love and passion. Secrets and accusations lead Anne to send Josiah away when her family learns who he really is and her mother hiding her own regrets accuses Josiah of killing Samuel. Without giving away parts of the story, Anne is forced to run away and seek Lydia's help. Once Josiah and Anne are reunited, they go to Anne's parents where all the secrets and fears of the past come out. I loved the ending and thought it was perfect for the story. This is a well written story, that is worth reading and getting immersed in. 4stars
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading young love novels. An Unexpected Sin is a young love romance set in and around Salem at the time of the burnings of witches by the Puritans. It's the story of Anne Scudder and Josiah Cromwell, who had been infatuated with each other from a young age, then struck by a common tragedy and separated, and reunited six years later as Anne became of marriageable age. The plot kept me engaged from beginning to end as their passion was rekindled and faced obstacles to being together. Anne had a strong and feisty personality for being a Puritan at that time and place and Josiah was willing to do anything to be with her. Through the author's pen, I experienced the fears, sadness and woes of the witch trials as the burnings hit close to home for the characters. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading young love novels. I enjoyed it and I'm in my 60s. 3 1/2 stars!