The Original Sinners is a series of four books by Tiffany Reisz. The individual books in the series are (in order): The Siren, The Angel, The Prince, and The Mistress.
I was initially introduced to the series through the Tell Harlequin book panel. They occasionally send me full books, or samples of books, which I’m to read and then complete a survey on. On one occasion, what they sent was the first three chapters of The Siren. I’d completed a survey about having read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (which was okay), and they sent those who’d completed the survey this excerpt as a kind of thank you. In the email, there was a quote from someone’s review, and the quote said that The Siren was “everything Fifty Shades should have been.” I have to agree with that quote 100%.
Where the author of Fifty Shades made BDSM sound kind of strange and alternately boring and slightly intriguing, Tiffany Reisz made that world sound fascinating, fun, and even almost normal. She created a world that makes you suddenly think that you want to explore the dark and mysterious world of sadism and masochism, of domination and submission.
Her characters – oh, what can I say about her characters? Nora, Wesley, Zach, Grace….and of course, Søren. Reisz has fleshed these characters out so well that I fully expected to be able to look up and see them standing before me in my living room. And she made them so endearing that the idea of Søren, a sadist, appearing before me, was a pleasant thought rather than the horrifying thought it would have been before reading her series.
While I’ve always been open minded enough to believe that relationships are very much a “to each their own” kind of thing, I always had to wonder exactly what the appeal was in this kind of relationship. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea that someone might want to allow others to cause them pain, that it might give them pleasure to allow that. I couldn’t fathom how causing pain to someone else would cause someone pleasure. It just wasn’t something I could understand.
But Reisz managed to write these books, these characters and their relationships so well, that it clicked. It was like a light bulb went on and I thought, “Oh, I get it now!” It makes sense and now I feel like I understand how these relationships appeal to people. I still don’t think I’d want the domination/submission aspect of those relationships for myself, but Reisz’s writing shows how that is only one small aspect of a larger relationship that is full of love, respect, admiration and a deep desire to make the other person happy.
Each book in the series builds on the last. Questions that are unanswered in one book are answered in the next. We learn more about each character’s past as their present plays out on the pages as we read.
The first book, The Siren, is about Nora Sutherlin’s love/hate relationship with her editor, Zachary Easton, who’s separated from his wife, Grace. We learn about Nora’s complicated relationships with Wesley, a young college student that lives in her home and works as her assistant, and Søren, the sadistic Catholic priest that taught her that pain can be pleasure, as well as Kingsley, who is both friend and foe to Nora and taught her that causing pain can be as much fun as accepting it. We see the tug of war that Nora feels about these four men, as well as Zach’s conflicted feelings about Nora and his wife.
Book two is The Angel, is about a young man named Michael, who’s very troubled past was partially healed by a meeting with Nora in the first book. Michael is discovering himself, who he is and what he wants, and he finds that what he wants is Griffin Fiske. Griffin is a very sexy Dom who seems to be afraid of only one thing: Søren. But when he decides he wants Michael, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to have him, including face Søren and whatever the sadistic priest demands of him.
Book three is The Prince, and is all about Nora and Wesley. Young Wesley has been pining for Nora, desperate not only to have her as his own, but to rescue her from the men that he is certain are ruining her. She’s resisted temptation in the form of the hot young student until now, but having been released by Søren to go to Wesley, she gives in and lets herself have what she’s wanted for so long. But just when we think all might be well, and that we’re going to get the happy ending we want, Nora is gone, taken by someone who just might be more sadistic than Søren, but in a much scarier way.
The last book is The Mistress, where we learn exactly who has taken Nora (though it’s likely you’ll have already figured it out, or at least made a very good, educated guess), and why. We learn more about Nora’s history with both Søren and Kingsley, more about the love that the three of them have for each other. We learn that through her stories to her abductor, but we also see it in the way that all those who love her rush to her aid: Søren, Kingsley, Wesley, Grace, and so many others. We learn not only Nora’s fate, but the fate of all the others.
I’m being very careful not to give too much away, because I really want you to read these books. They are absolutely incredible. With amazing characters that lodge themselves firmly into your heart, mind, and…other places (hehe), a vividly described world that you can easily slip into whenever you pick up the book, and relationships between the characters that give a new meaning to “fairy tale love”, these books are what I would call the grown up version of Fifty Shades. This is the real deal.
I have just one plea for Tiffany Reisz: Please, please, please, don’t make The Mistress the last one!! I need more!
(There are four more books in the series, however, the four books listed above are The Red Years, and the next four will be The White Years, and delve into the years before The Siren. They have not yet been published.)
Check out Tiffany Reisz’s site for more information on all of her books.
Or go here to buy her books: