Review – A Sin Such As This

A Sin Such As This (Love Lies Beneath #2) – Ellen Hopkins

Final Thoughts: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to NetGalley for the generous eARC, in exchange for an honest review.


Summary: In this follow-up to 2015’s sex-filled mystery, Love Lies Beneath, we follow Tara Lattimore as she settles into her new marriage with her fourth husband, the doctor/hunk, Cavin. Her honeymoon phase is abruptly concluded when a swirl of familial drama is topped off with a murder investigation, after Cavin’s ex-lover winds up deceased. Tara, Cavin, her wicked step-son Eli, and his girlfriend/Tara’s niece Kayla are all suspects in a plot most foul. Tara’s harsh past catches up with her as she faces entirely new conflicts.

Alrighty. So. If you clicked the link above, you might’ve read my review for the first novel in this installment. And you might’ve noticed that it didn’t sit quite well with my bookish palate (I gave it two stars, to be clear). The first book was filled to the brim with outrageous drama and characters. Tara is an extremely wealthy women, despite the fact that she doesn’t really do very much. Cavin is a super-sexy doctor with a gambling problem who hides things, makes white lies, and never exactly learns how to be honest with his wife. His son Eli is a teenage lover boy who works at every turn to seduce his new stepmom. The first book didn’t thrill me; the characters were unlikeable, and their decisions were so beyond me. Tara clearly didn’t trust Cavin, but how does the book end? She marries him. Logically.

This book was a slight improvement. Firstly, I’m well-acquainted with Tara by now. She drinks fountains of sidecars, is a compulsive exerciser, claims she never lies, and inserts herself all up in everybody’s business and then huffs and puffs when she gets tangled in the middle of it all. She is totally untrusting, but thrusts herself into friendships, marriages, and even motherhood. She’s questionable, but she doesn’t surprise me anymore.

A Sin Such As This is a good sequel. It’s thrilling, stringing you along as the characters you love to hate live out a new soap opera. No one can claim that this book is anything less than action-packed and full of drama. Let me count the ways:

  1. Her niece, Kayla, moves herself into Tara’s house, and immediately hooks up with Eli, a manipulative, lying, unusually sexual douchebag. He cheats on her, lies to her, and consequently puts her college career at stake.
  2. Cavin’s ex-girlfriend, Sophia, circles close to the family at social events, threatening Tara’s questionably fragile marriage. Also, Sophia and Cavin broke up because Eli (Cavin’s son, yes) slept with her is still sleeping with her.
  3. Eli tries (many times) to physically seduce Tara. Gross.
  4. Tara’s leg injury worsens, and after a weird sexual experience where Cavin got all dominant and…well, weird, she wonders if Cavin is purposefully trying to stall her recovery and keep control over her.
  5. Tara’s sister, Melody, is having an actual breakdown as a divorce from her husband, Graham, looms.
  6. Melody finds out Graham and Tara slept together years ago.
  7. Tara’s mean, neglectful mother kicks the bucket, and she and Melody are dragged to the funeral.
  8. Sophia is murdered, and literally everyone is suspect.
  • So now that we have 8+ subplots going on here, let’s chat.
  • These loose threads are totally compelling, even if they feel like trashy, daytime television.
  • However, though I’ve held Ellen Hopkins’ books near and dear to my heart for almost a decade, her sense of drama and thrillers doesn’t really hit the mark for me. I was incredibly disappointed at the end of the novel. Much like the first installment, as I neared the last few pages, things still hadn’t met their resolution. I thought to myself, “Could this be a cliffhanger? How exciting!” I was wrong. Similar to the whiplash ending of Love Lies Beneath, the sequel concludes with an epilogue that explains everything away, literally. After a clear period of time, Tara, from a hindsight perspective, simply goes “So and so murdered Sophia because of this and that, and that’s the end.” The suspense is immediately suspended, the tension is released, and the vibe is killed. I wouldn’t call any of it a plot twist; it really does just end with an explanation.
  • I am happy that I was able to enjoy to flair for the dramatic that Hopkins employs in these books. The characters are still ridiculous and distant, but now, I really just love to hate them.
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