Sins by Penny Jordan

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Sins by Penny Jordan

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 2/5
Reviewer: Dawn Powell
Reviewed by Dawn Powell
Summary: A light novel that does not live up to its title
Buy? No Borrow? No
Pages: Not known Date: June 2009
Publisher: Avon
ISBN: 978-1847560742

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Sins is set in the 1950s and follows the turbulent love lives of four girls — Emerald, Rose, Janey and Ella. Scheming Emerald is determined to bag herself a royal husband, outsider Rose just wants to fit in, wild child Janey puts her heart and soul into becoming the next Mary Quant, and sensible Ella concentrates on avoiding the mistakes of her parents. As the years pass, the girls reach for their dreams and come to terms with issues that have haunted them from childhood.

When a book is called Sins and has a picture of a woman in a slinky white dress on the cover, you pretty much know from the outset that it is not going to be a literary masterpiece. (Contrary to the popular saying, you can judge a book by its cover.) You expect the plot to be ludicrous, the characters to be outlandish, and the ending to be predictable. But you can forgive a book for having these qualities as long as it is entertaining — just look at the success of that ultimate trash novel Valley of the Dolls.

Unfortunately, although readable, Sins is just not entertaining enough. The first problem is that Jordan slows down the pace of the book by over explaining the situations that the characters find themselves in. We are told several times that Rose feels an outsider because she is of mixed heritage and was rejected by her alcoholic father. After a while, you are tempted to scream STOP GOING ON ABOUT IT; WE GET IT!!!

The second problem is that the plot is too predictable. As I said, predictability does not mean that a book is bad. But, it shouldn't so blatantly obvious what is happening that the characters look stupid for not twigging what is going on. For example, you feel no sympathy for Janey when she is badly let down by another character because the said character practically carries a signpost above their head that says Don't trust me.

Thirdly, I was really disappointed by the lack of sin! The reason you (well, OK, I) read trash novels — especially one called Sins — is that you get to live vicariously through the characters. They are supposed to do all of the things you are too restrained to do. But apart from a few bouts of sex with inappropriate men and the odd drag on a spliff, Jordan's characters don't do anything too outrageous.

The difference between reading a good trash novel and reading a bad trash novel is like the difference between eating a cream-filled concoction from a top-notch patisserie and eating a stale iced bun from your local newsagents. One is an indulgent guilty pleasure and the other is an unsatisfying experience that you regret. Sins definitely falls into the stale iced bun camp.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

We haven't disliked everything written by Penny Jordan!

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