29 September 2009

Book Review: Beyond Sin by Emma-Louise Jordan

Jessie O''Neill's sister Andrea is due to get married to the love of her life, but Jessie just can't be happy for her. Jessie's marriage to her husband seems to be over, but Jessie can't admit her failure to her friends and family, leaving her spiralling out of control into the depths of despair and depression.

All goes fine until the wedding reception when the O'Neill family finally starts to crack, and then Jessie goes missing. Jessie's family frantically try to find out what was going on in her life and find her before it's too late.

But does Jessie want to go back and face her family, or is her deep sin just one too many for her to bear?

This book isn't usually the sort of thing I would pick up to read - it's part of the Poolbeg Crimson range which is branded as "chick lit with a twist" which does sound rather good you have to admit! This book has elements of a mystery and a thriller to it - a mysterious disappearance and shocking secrets, and although I usually like something a little more light-hearted, I was intrigued to see how it was going to turn out although I did make sure to read in the daylight because I'm a wimp at the best of times! This is the second novel for Emma Louise Jordan which is the pen-name for writer Emma Heatherington - she also has another title which has been recently released called Playing The Field.

The book begins with Jessie struggling to cope with her life, although we aren't told at the beginning what has happened to get her in such a state. It immediately sets you on edge, wondering what has gone on and I liked how the author throws the reader right into the story this way. For some reason, I disliked Jessie because of her behaviour - it became more understandable as the book went on but I just couldn't feel sorry for her! She seemed quite selfish, and I found myself liking her husband and sister far more than her which I'm not sure was the intent of the book! Even though I didn't especially like her, she was a great character to read about and is believable too... in that you can believe something bad has happened because of her crazy behaviour.

The suspense is kept up throughout the story and full credit goes to the author for this. She manages to keep you guessing right from events that happen before the wedding that set the suspenseful scene a bit, to Jessie disappearing out of the blue. I honestly had no clue what happened in the beginning but as the book progressed, I had an inkling of what happened and slowly it unravelled that this was the case, but it didn't stop my enjoyment of the book either and in fact made it slightly more exciting because I wanted to see if I was right and whether or not they would be able to find Jessie in the end.

Jordan writes the anguish and despair of Jessie's family very well. I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Jessie and her sister Andrea changes throughout the book, and I think Andrea came to be my favourite of all the family characters by the end. You can see she loves her sister a lot despite everything, and this shone through very easily and was a sweet storyline inside the suspense of the main plot. The male characters in the book weren't particularly nice but they worked well in the plot and the fact I hated them shows they were written well in their unlikeable roles! The book really focusses on the family of Jessie and because of this, you get to know them well and care about how things turn out.

I think Jordan has written a really good romantic suspense book here and I certainly enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to! I prefer things that are a little happier and with a predictable happy ending but this book kept me reading and desperate to find out whether they were going to find Jessie or not. She doesn't give anything too early which would spoil the book, so keeps it mysterious and was well written. The book is written in the third person and I thought the writing style was easy to read and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a well written story with great characters. I look forward to reading her work under the name Emma Heatherington as well to compare the two, I expect I'll enjoy it after reading this!

Rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publishers Poolbeg Crimson for sending me a copy to review.


  1. Great review, this sounds quite interesting actually! I should be getting my copy of the author's other book Playing the Field soon so I look forward to reading that one, it really sounds like my cup of tea and I love the cover. :)

  2. Good read, thanks. Always looking out for weird and wonderful stuff to read :)