Sex, Lies, and Sensibility by Nikki Payne

May 8th, 2024 Kimberly Guest Post, Review 5 Comments

8th May

Sophia Rose has returned with another contemporary romance inspired by Austen. Grab an iced coffee and check out her thoughts on Sex, Lies and Sensibility by Nikki Payne.

Sex, Lies, and Sensibility by Nikki Payne
Sex, Lies, and Sensibility
by Nikki Payne
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Heat Level: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

Two sisters roll up their sleeves to run a dilapidated inn but must learn to work with the locals in this deliciously spicy novel inspired by Sense and Sensibility.

There’s never a good time to learn you are your father’s secret child—especially not at the reading of his will. With their father’s affairs laid bare and Nora’s sensible reputation in tatters due to a viral video scandal, she and her free-spirited sister have nothing left but a rustic inn in the middle of nowhere and each other. What’s more, they need to revamp the inn before Labor Day or they lose it all. Nora hasn’t even knocked the traveling dust off last season’s designer boots when she’s confronted with three problems:

1. She really should have watched more HGTV.
2. She hasn’t seen another Black person for miles.
3. A tall, dark stranger has already staked a claim on their property.

Native Abenaki eco-tour guide Ennis “Bear” Freeman has seen hapless tourists come and go. When he spots two pampered city girls at his unofficial headquarters, he expects them to catch a flight out of the inhospitable coastal Maine backwoods within a week’s time. But Nora, turns out, is made of sterner stuff. And as she rolls up her sleeves to breathe new life into the inn, she unwittingly reignites a flood of emotions inside of Bear that he had very intentionally suppressed.

Their connection is electric, their desire palpable. But Bear’s silence about his mysterious past might turn out to be the one thing that sends Nora packing.

Sophia Rose’s Review

After the sizzling Pride and Protest slammed into my senses last year as a savvy modern retelling full of culture and diversity, social struggles, and vibrant characters, I was well primed to snatch up Sex, Lies, and Sensibility.  Nikki Payne’s latest retelling gets off to a torchy start and Jane Austen’s famous sister duo comes vividly to life in a canny story of starting over, trial and error romances, found family, and making new dreams in picturesque Maine.

Nikki Payne made it clear in her introduction that she wanted to not just pay tribute to Austen’s Sense & Sensibility- which I thought she did rather well, but she wanted to tell the story of two people of the diverse African American and First Nation races who are true to their unique cultures and circumstances.  Maine is a beautiful, mostly rural state and I loved the descriptions and activities that were backdrop to the story, but I also enjoyed learning about these people groups who make their home there and what it is like through Nora and Bear’s story. 

The sisters are opposites.  Nora was a top college track athlete until she made a poor decision about a video with her boyfriend that made her notorious, lost her scholarship, her father’s approval, and her own self-respect.  She’s kept a low profile and quiet working life in a pharmacy ever since.  Cyber bullying and digital abuse are big concerns for her.  Yanne is a boisterous theater actress and into poetry, and all things dramatic and gushing.  She nearly misses out on real love because she’s been in love with love and blind to what is real and true.

Like the sisters, Bear has his own hang-ups.  He’s dedicated everything to his grandmother’s trail business and duty to tribe and the local environment so that he’s stuck in a bad commitment and drowning in financial struggles.  His friendship and time at the inn with Nora allows him to breathe a little, but he still has to make a choice about what he really wants.

The romance was not the primary element though it was strong.  Rather, it felt more like fiction with Nora, Bear and Yanne fell to bottom and had to hardscrabble their way to their goal and personal growth so that they could fall in love.  Both sisters fell for opposites and it was a tough emotional journey, particularly for Nora and Bear who end up forced apart by her hiding her feelings and not going all in (talking of leaving and going back home- afterwards) and his duty struggles and commitments.

In summary, I felt Jane Austen’s tale had new life breathed into it.  Those who have never read or watched Austen’s Sense & Sensibility will have no trouble delving into this hard-fought story of hope and triumph, family and romance.  Contemporary Romance fans who enjoy diversity, social issues, and family struggles baked in around their romance will definitely appreciate this one.

Amazon | Audible

About Nikki Payne

Nikki Payne

Nikki Payne is an anthropologist who can. not. turn. it. off.
She loves to force her characters into new environments new cultures and in finding love, they change the way they see the world. Church, cemeteries and romance novels are still the most segregated places in America. Her romances, inspired by the classics turn expectations on their head. It's cultural commentary, for the hopeless romantic.

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About Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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5 Responses to “Sex, Lies, and Sensibility by Nikki Payne”

  1. Katherine

    Oh this sounds fun and I love the Austen retellings! I’ll have to give this a try as I do enjoy a complicated family situation.

    • Sophia Rose

      The set up and characters are all different, though, so that might make a difference maybe, but, yes the style of writing and tone are the same. 🙂