A Sinner without a Saint (The Penningtons)
In this stand-alone Regency romance novel, fourth in the Pennington Series, the world of the art collector is explored. The sparkling protagonist, Lord Dulcie, is a Regency anti-hero: manipulative and flippant, but sartorially forward. His one goal, since he will not be siring any heirs, is to become London’s next artistic tastemaker, collecting the best paintings Europe can offer. A schoolboy crush, Pennington, has other ideas: a public collection of paintings for the betterment of all. But is there more to Art than just the Masters?
The author does an excellent job of describing art during a period of change, as Romanticism takes the stage. Also of note in this novel is the spot-on depiction of cattiness, infighting, and the scrabbling for rank that can happen in any small, opinionated bunch. What I most appreciated in reading this was that the central conflict was not the homosexuality of the characters, but rather the question of loyalty; loyalty to one’s own opinions, loyalty to family, and loyalty to a lover. Of those, which comes first?