Jamie Brenner's The Gin Lovers keeps rolling on with installment three, Society Sinners. When last we saw Charlotte Delacorte, she was falling hard and fast into the orbit of speak-easy bartender Jake Larkin. Now, after a memorable night with Jake, her marriage to William becoming increasingly intolerable, Charlotte knows that she can't keep living the way she has. So she convinces her continually annoyed husband to let her travel to Philadelphia to visit her parents. Charlotte's plan is to gently break the news to them that she's thinking about leaving William, and let's be honest, to cry on her mother's shoulder.
However once she gets there she realizes that things with her parents are not well. Oh sure, they're still living in the carriage house, having sold the family mansion years ago when Daddy's fortunes turned, but she hadn't realized things had gotten more precarious. Charlotte ends her visit knowing one truth: she can never leave William. Ever. Money isn't buying her happiness, but it sure has hell can grease the wheels that she just found out are squeaking.
Further developments include Jake scratching together a new business deal in the hopes of being with his new lady love, Charlotte. Fiona attracting the attention (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) of a Prohibition Agent working undercover, and Amelia Astor sharpening her claws, waiting in the wings to undermine Charlotte at every turn.
This installment does further things along nicely, although honestly it feels a little like a place-holder in some ways. It's the entry where the characters turn a little introspective, and are looking for ways out of (or into) situations they either 1) want to be in or 2) are looking to escape. Charlotte fancies herself in love with Jake, which I honestly don't see - but hey, good sex has been known to cloud the judgement of even the most sensible of women, and you can't entirely blame her because heck- if I were married to William I might fancy myself in love with a potted plant if it gave me any sort of affection.
I missed not having as much Mae in this installment, although I liked the fact that it now seems to be Charlotte and Mae Against The World. Charlotte telling Mae to be smart, play the game, bide her time - that eventually her inheritance will come her way. Although, naturally, William hasn't told Charlotte all of the stipulations of mama's will. I also liked the development of Fiona and the Prohibition Agent, and I'm just about ready to have babies with Charlotte's butler, Rafferty. That guy = awesome.
I'm still hooked. I'm still loving the trashy, soapy shenanigans. I'm dying to get started on the next entry in the serial.
Final Grade = B