I said it before in my review of Nightfall and I’ll say it again. The world in this series is awesome. It is gritty and intense, and the setting is soI said it before in my review of Nightfall and I’ll say it again. The world in this series is awesome. It is gritty and intense, and the setting is so easy to picture. The descriptions don’t overwhelm the narrative, but the author paints an extremely clear picture of the world three years after it all went to hell.
After losing Angela in the last book, Chris just couldn’t stay. He’s been on the move almost constantly for the last three years. A professional wanderer, you might say. He won’t let himself grow roots only to eventually see them ripped away, and he fears that is inevitable in this new world. He’s very different from the guy we first met in Nightfall. He’s become hardened, but not so much that he’s unable to connect with Rosa. Before he seemed very Beta. While he still has some shades of that, he has a much more forceful personality now. He is confident and self assured, but has no urge to take control of the situation and lead. He is content to be the follower and Rosa the leader. For the most part, at least. ;)
Rosa was quite unexpected. Given her position, the author walked a fine line between making Rosa too hard to sympathize with and too weak to be believable. I think she hit the mark dead on. She was compassionate and loved the life she had built, but she knew that she had to rule with an iron fist to maintain power. The first sign of weakness and she would have been eaten alive.
One of the big things I was surprised about was Rosa’s take on the Change. Most people bitterly regretted losing the life they had led and the people they had known, but not her. As she said…
How fucking sad—the end of the world had improved her life.
I was actually really pleased that she was cast this way. One of the things I loved seeing in the last book was how people from different walks of life reacted to the same event. That’s really emphasized here given the fact that Rosa was worse off in her BC (Before Change) life. This catastrophic event actually gave her a chance to pull herself up and take control of her life. Money, opportunity, education…it didn’t matter anymore. Now you survived on strength of will and determination. That’s what makes Rosa so impressive. Not only did she survive, but she created a whole community of survivors. They lived pretty well when you consider the rest of the people out there.
I like how we got to see a community of people struggling to carve out their spot in this crazy new world. They had their customs and beliefs, and although some of them might seem silly to an outsider, they gave them a sense of community and belonging that they desperately needed. Chris managed to walk into this community and sidestep many of the requirements of the community members. His skills as a doctor are needed enough to convince Rosa to ignore her gut feeling that he will be trouble. She’s frustrated by Chris’s ability to stand to the side of rest of her bravos. It’s not that he doesn’t respect her rule, it’s just that she can’t keep him off balance with her ‘Madonna/whore’ act. She’s forced to look at him as a man and is bewildered to find that she is attracted to him despite herself.
I loved most everything about this book, but I had a few irritants that I was not able to easily brush aside. Mostly it centered on Rosa and her refusal to bend in certain cases. I had no problem with her occasional hardness and her desire to keep her relationship with Chris a secret. She was leader after all, and she was walking a tightrope to keep from being challenged for her position. Plus, she was a good judge of her people and their motivations, so if she said it was necessary, I was willing to go with it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t cheer when Chris refused to accept less than he deserved, though. I understood her fears and the reasons she felt that way, but I was frustrated by her inability to see Chris’s side. That, combined with her bigotry and her behavior toward the end, made her a little harder to take. I still liked them together, but you might say that I lost my rose colored glasses in relation to her.
I’m really excited to see where the author will take us in the next book. I can’t wait to see how much time will have passed and how far the survivors will have progressed. I have high expectations and hope I end up enjoying it as much as I did this one.
Chris wondered if she could feel the intimacy of what was happening. Ex was just a human tool, the means to do Rosa's bidding. Every stab of the needle into Chris's skin was her command, her claim over him.
I really liked the very beginning of this book. We learned about Eva’s school, designed to help mistresses***Warning*** This review contains spoilers.
I really liked the very beginning of this book. We learned about Eva’s school, designed to help mistresses find someone to marry after they had grown tired of the life or become a bit long in the tooth. That sounds pretty hokey and Disney-ish, but I thought it was presented well. The mistresses were told flat out that the marriages would not be guaranteed love matches and that there would be no matches with the nobility offered up. They needed to keep their goals realistic. And the reason for the men being interested in gaining a wife like that—and with that sort of background—actually made sense.
So that seemed pretty promising. I was kind of nervous about the heroine coming off as unnaturally feminist and modern, but I was willing to go with it. Surprisingly, I was so irritated by other things in this book that the school and Eva’s authentic attitude, or lack thereof, had no impact on me.
The hero bursts into Eva’s life demanding the return of his “property”. His property is, of course, his wayward mistress. She disappeared and left all his gifts to her, completely ignoring the fact that she was “his”. Nicholas hires an investigator and finally tracks her to Eva’s school. He blames Eva, personally, for stealing his perfect mistress after she tells him that said mistress is already married and out of his reach. Nicholas plots to ruin her life to make her suffer the way he’s suffering.
The author flirts with some serious issues in this book, but never gives them the weight they would have needed to actually pull it off. Nicholas bought a large chunk of Eva’s mother’s debt and is calling it in as due. He also got the other creditors to start pushing to be paid immediately as well. His terms were: A new mistress given to him from the bunch she's trying to teach at the moment, her becoming his mistress, or her forfeiting her house to cover the debt. He didn’t even actually desire these things, he just wanted to twist the knife and make her beg for mercy.
Eva doesn't own any of those women, so she can't give them to him--and wouldn't if she could. She can't give up the house because her she needs it to continue taking care of her sick mother, so all that leaves is her body. That right there is forced consent and it takes a deft hand to pull that off without making you want scrub yourself clean after reading it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t think the author pulled it off at all. She basically just ignored the issue. She made Eva attracted to the hero for no good reason, considering the circumstances, and left it at that, like that solved the issue. If the issue wasn’t going to be treated seriously I wish it would have been skipped all together. Although I don’t enjoy most of the bodice rippers of old, even I can admit that the authors usually did a good job of providing some spark to fascinate the reader enough to pull them into the hero, even while his actions repelled them. That depth and spark was much needed here.
Nicholas was presented as a douche and he stayed a douche. He seemed to genuinely disdain women, and that is an incredibly hard thing to overcome in my eyes. He acted like a spoiled child and threw a tantrum to punish people who really weren’t to blame. The only reason he didn’t go through with his plan to torment the heroine and financially ruin her was because he discovered that there might be something attractive under her disguise. That’s when he started groping her and pushing her to own up to her end of the deal so he wouldn’t ruin her. It’s pretty hard for me to get behind a guy like that. On top of that, the only reason he started to feel bad about having sex with her was when he found out that she was related to nobility as well!
He'd known Eva was the by-blow of a lord, but Crawford had been unable to discover the connection before Nicholas had abruptly ended the investigation.
Now he knew her late father was the late Lord Seymour, an earl of high standing and a peer. He had bedded Eva knowing her mother had been a courtesan. To know half of her bloodline was as old as his own settled a stone in his stomach.
What a prince, eh?
The heroine was no better than the hero. He was a piece of crap, but she was pathetic. Her actions didn’t fit with her beginning characterization, and by the end of the book I didn’t even recognize her. To excuse the hero’s actions in the beginning, Eva was portrayed as captivated by his touch. He threatened her and groped her and yet somehow she still found the time to admire how hot he was. Right… She practically came in her pants every time he looked at her. I found the way she was portrayed and the way she thought incredibly disturbing.
Though she wanted to believe she'd gone to his bed under force and fear of her future, there wasn't a requirement in the arrangement that she'd actually find pleasure in his arms.
Her pleasure was his gift to her.
She hated His Grace with all of her being--if he were crushed beneath a mail coach, she'd not shed a tear--so why did her body not recoil at his touch?
Worse yet, in the moments after she fled from him and plodded home on Muffin, she'd envied the year Arabella had spent in his bed.
I almost DNF’ed this book many times, but I stuck with it because I really wanted to see if there would be some repentance or even a slight acknowledgment of the wrong that was committed. There wasn’t. By the end the hero and heroine were even playfully joking about him forcing her into his bed. It was disappointing, to say the least.
By the end the book had become rather ridiculous. Nicholas and his mother were cheerfully chatting about his mistress, and various high ranking people were blatantly scheming to get the hero and heroine married. Way too cutesy for me.
I made it to page 156 and finally gave up. I couldn't get into the format. It sounded really interesting in theory, but the actual execution didn*DNF*
I made it to page 156 and finally gave up. I couldn't get into the format. It sounded really interesting in theory, but the actual execution didn't do it for me. It felt too scattered to tell a consistent story. It was like the Twitter version of Nell Gwynn's life. Not really my style....more
How have I not heard of Nell Gwynn before this? I recognized the names of most of her contemporaries, but somehow she has skated under my radar untilHow have I not heard of Nell Gwynn before this? I recognized the names of most of her contemporaries, but somehow she has skated under my radar until now. Luckily I was able to snag the copy offered to Fiction Vixen and immerse myself in Nell’s life during the era of King Charles II.
The book opens in 1660 and a young Nell has finally tired of her life as an oyster girl. She’s decided to follow in her sister Rose’s footsteps and go to work at Madam Ross’s. I’m not clear on how old she is exactly, but we find out when she’s interviewing (sort of) with Madam Ross that she has only just started her courses. That very fact makes her life that much harder to read about. She doesn’t come across as a little girl though. Throughout the book she seems much older than her years and I constantly found myself surprised when another birthday was mentioned because I kept forgetting that she was so young.
I felt the writing and characterization in the beginning section was the roughest of the book. Nell’s decision to become a prostitute seemed willy-nilly and the way she jumped into her role of seductress searching for her first customer just seemed off. The lesson in hard knocks given to her by a group of young men on the day of King Charles’s return seemed designed to cast her in a sympathetic light, but it didn’t really work for me. I felt bad, yeah, but I also was frustrated by her attitude and actions.
The next day when she’s at Madam Ross’s waiting to be chosen we’re told that her seemingly nonchalant attitude of the day before had been fueled by hunger and desperation and later by drink. I just felt that if that was really supposed to have been her motivations it was clumsily done. The only reason I knew that was because she thought it to herself.
Luckily, the author hit her stride once Nell had been at Madam Ross’s for a while. I found it a little slow at times during this period, but that was just because the nature of Nell’s work made her days a bit repetitive. I really liked that along with the benefits like the pretty clothes and freedom from her mother, the downside of Nell’s life was shown. At one point after a celebration in honor of the royal marriage of Charles and Catherine the girls were so busy that they didn’t even bother to leave the rooms because the line of men waiting their turns outside their rooms was so long! Can you imagine that? Ouch!
My favorite parts were when Nell was acting. I loved seeing the camaraderie between the actors and the competition the King’s Company had with the Duke’s Company. I also really liked learning little facts about the theater world. I loved hearing about the reopening of the theaters after 18 years and the rise of women playing female parts instead of the traditional male actors.
The theater was also the stomping ground of two of my favorite characters in the book, Charles Hart and the Earl of Rochester. I loved Charles because he was really the nicest character in the whole book. He and Nell actually seemed to have a bond that I was sorry to see eventually break. Rochester was just a wicked, fascinating man who was written as an eventual dear friend to Nell. It was nice seeing him in that role as I usually only see his self destructive, libertine ways cast. I loved one of the scenes he had with Nell early in their relationship soon after they had become lovers.
"You can give a man a quick ride that leaves him happy or a night of play that tires him. But there is more to learn. You can give a man such pleasure, not just in his body but in his mind, his soul, that you become a drug. So that he will crave you. So that his bollocks will ache and give him no peace until his prick is once more master of that smooth warmth. And I can train you, pretty pet. Do you want that?"
Nell found that her heart was beating and her loins were on fire. She looked up at Rochester and found she could hardly breathe.
"Yes, my lord."
"Good. On your knees. No, off the bed. For this is your god, and you must worship it."
I just thought that last line was particularly apt and powerful. He also said:
”This bed is your stage,” Rochester said. “From such a stage you could do anything.”
Which was another great line when applied to Nell and her life.
I really liked how the author showed Nell having stray meetings with the king at various times in her life. It really helped build a nice foundation for their eventual relationship. I also felt that the author did a great job of including important factual events and political happenings in the background. It really gave me a nice frame of reference for when things were actually occurring.
The last quarter of the book was very sad for me. It was rough watching Nell lose such important people. I though the author did an excellent job showing her pain and heartbreak though. I never felt that any of it was gratuitously included and it was very sad watching Nell try to cope again and again.
Although I really enjoyed this book I don’t think I’d ever want to walk in Nell’s shoes. She had a hard life and I was sorry to see her never be valued as much as I wanted her to be. She came a long way in life, and she was content, but I was a little sad she never got the happy ending I hoped she would. Alas, that’s usually the case when I read books based off of real historical figures.
This was a very nice follow up to the first book, The Lover. Any time I saw Gabriel in that book he stole the scene. I was fascinated by him and wanteThis was a very nice follow up to the first book, The Lover. Any time I saw Gabriel in that book he stole the scene. I was fascinated by him and wanted to know who he was, how he thought, and what led him to the point he was at today. I didn't understand how he could love Michael and seem to hate him at the same time. I just needed to know why.
This was very much a story about Gabriel. I know it's advertised as an Erotic Romance but just like with The Lover, that wasn't the appeal for me. I liked the darkness and mystery of both of the books more than the actual romance. If I had to classify it I'd probably call it a love story at the most. While they both involve two people falling in love, the way they are executed and the rules that they follow are completely different. A love story is a side concern in the overall story whereas a romance is the main focus of a story. I'd say the main focus here was Gabriel's growth and healing.
Even though the focus wasn't necessarily on Victoria, she still managed to shine. Her desperation and her conflicted view of her sexuality really captured my attention. I found her very interesting and enjoyed watching her gain confidence in it being okay to desire someone.
Learning the truth about Gabriel didn't disappoint me. I was shocked and fascinated to learn the truth about his complex feelings for Michael. His fear of intimacy and the reason behind it was heartbreaking. I wish I could have just reached through the book to give him a hug. Although knowing him that probably wouldn't have gone over that well...
I found Gabriel's past interesting and sad. I can't tell if his feeling or lack thereof was a blessing or a curse in his line of work. How sad that he longed to feel what he could give.
The tone in this book was just as slow and repressed as in the first book. The author once again strives to write in riddles and half-speak to keep the reader confused and in the dark. It does get a little irritating after a while, but I was willing to ride it out just to see how it would all unfold.
The only major irritation I had with this story was the constant use of the term "angels." Michael and Gabriel are names of angels, yes, I get it. It was used incessantly in the first book too, but for some reason it just irritated me more in this one. ...more
Wow, this book was actually really good. Do I sound surprised? I suppose I am, a bit. I had no real basis for low expectations, I freely admit that, bWow, this book was actually really good. Do I sound surprised? I suppose I am, a bit. I had no real basis for low expectations, I freely admit that, but for some reason I had them. I had been told this was dark, and that was what made me pick it up, but I really didn't expect the reality of it.
I liked it! I liked it enough to order the next book, Gabriel's Woman, before I had finished this one. What can I say? I found him the most interesting character in the book. That's not a slur against everyone else, that's just a nod to how complicated he is. I admit it...I'm a sucker for complex men.
This story was dark and a bit morbid and gloomy at times. It had twists and turns and kept me on my toes. I didn't know who was good and who was bad, and I spent most of the book in the dark about the 'Why' of it all. While that would have irritated the living hell out of me in a book that I was struggling through, I loved it here because I did care. I was engrossed and needed to find out what plots and manipulations Michael had going on. When the reveal came--well, I didn't quite expect that. I had some assumptions going on, and I was wrong. So kudos to the author for that!
There was a rather gloomy, repressed attitude permeating these pages. I know what you're thinking. Repressed??? In an erotic romance??? Yes, you didn't read that wrong. I'm not talking about the sex--although I'll touch on that soon (snicker)--I'm talking about the atmosphere. I'll give a few quotes to illustrate what I mean...
Everything could be bought, Michel had said. Sexual satisfaction. Intimacy. Friendship.
In all her years she had never heard anyone say they loved another. Not husband to wife. Not mother to child.
...she said deliberately, cruelly--hating herself, hating him, hating *bleep* for destroying the only beauty she had ever experienced.
(I bleeped that last one on purpose to avoid even the slightest of spoilers) Taken by themselves these quotes are powerful things, yes, but those lines were not unique. They were special in the sense that they spoke to me the most, but there were many more scattered all throughout the book. Combined, they all created a rather melancholy air.
The friendship between Gabriel and Michael was very complex. Gabriel's restitution reveal and the reason behind it didn't surprise me in the least. I was never angry, just sad, because how could he not hate him for his pleasure? So sad... But their bond was strong at the same time. Even in the face of betrayal, they still clung to that relationship. They were brothers in heart, and I feel that their relationship was one of the best parts of the book.
The relationship between Anne and Michael was much murkier for me. I enjoyed reading it, but if I had gone into it expecting a Romance book with a capital 'R' I would have been disappointed. There is a romance, but it's...complex and twisted at times. Their actions toward each other and their emotions for each other aren't always neatly labeled. In the beginning Anne's emotions were easier to define, but toward the end when everything started becoming clearer, but darker, that's when it all became twisted.
The book ended on a hopeful note, but it did not have a clear Happy Ending. It worked for the book, but it might bother some. I wouldn't have minded another chapter or two being included so I could have been witness to them working out their differences and having a heart to heart, but like I said, I wasn't expecting a Romance.
The sex was really the weakest part of the book for me. I think it'll appeal to a lot of readers, but it just didn't work for me. I am not a fan of monologuing during sex. Having characters talk, talk, talk during sex and explain in detail everything is a turn off to me. It comes off clinical, not hot.
As I was reading this book I kept thinking of Madeline Hunter's older works. They have completely different styles, but the plots and machinations of the men seemed very similar. That's not a bad thing, I liked it. Once someone mentioned Three Nights of Sin I realized that I was picking up strong similarities of that too. So, if you enjoyed either of those for their darker aspects, you might enjoy this one....more
**spoiler alert** I should probably warn my friends (most of whom enjoyed this book) that they probably don't want to read my review. And if they do,**spoiler alert** I should probably warn my friends (most of whom enjoyed this book) that they probably don't want to read my review. And if they do, to just keep in mind that I'm not criticizing you for liking it. I usually don't make this statement, but somehow all but four of my friends gave this book over four stars. And a lot of them have read it. So, you're warned. Moving on...
I'd heard that this book was angsty. What I didn't hear is that it's a hot mess. Honestly, I would never term this book angsty. It's over done and drama filled, but it's not angsty. Angst--to me--takes a depth and darkness that this book just didn't have. This was like the Disney version of the courtesan/prostitute Romances.
Robert irritated me at times, but my biggest gripe about this story was Bel. What irritates me the most is that she had the opportunity to be a really interesting character, but wasn't. Bel seemed incredibly young whenever she played the courtesan. I never felt that the role sat well on her so it was a little hard to believe that everyone was so enamored of her. She was like a little girl dressing up in mommy's clothes and playing a role, thinking that she knew what she was talking about. It was incredibly irritating. She kept regurgitating these courtesan rules that she had been taught, but they just made her seem even more naive. The fact that she thought getting a protector would keep her from ever being abused made her dumb as rocks to me. She kept glamorizing her role, thinking that she had rights, and it drove me nuts that no one ever proved her wrong.
But honestly a lot of her personality and thought process didn't make sense to me. She was supposedly terrified of having sex with a man and was worried about being able to perform her courtesan role, so Robert's ruse seemed perfect for her. Now I can totally accept this. What I can't accept is the fact that a woman terrified of sex would be the aggressor in a lot of close contact situations unnecessary to their agreement. She cuddled up with him and rubbed his head and even gave him head but still was terrified of sex when the plot called for it. Her back and forth attitude made her seem bipolar and like a tease. I have a very hard time accepting that a rape victim terrified of intimacy would only be frightened of actual penetration by a penis but was gung ho for everything else. That makes no sense.
In addition to that, Bel seemed to have no inner awareness of her role in life. She walked into Robert's life and took charge of his household and just generally grated on my nerves. It's not just the fact that she was a prostitute doing this that bugged me. I have a problem with the way Romance novels frequently have servants of any type step above their station with no awareness that what they're doing is really ballsy. I mean, she was in a duke's household. The lack of awareness of this fact really bugged me.
That leads me to my next gripe... the actual duke, Robert. I generally like the aloof, stuffy aristocrats, but Robert was something else. He was judgmental and apt to fly off the handle whenever things didn't go the way he thought they should. He was also an emotional mess and very weak willed. He's participating in this plot (an incredibly dumb plot) because of his love for the married saint, Lucy. But then he realizes that he's only in love with the idea of her. But he doesn't stop the stupid plot. I just had a problem with the whole setup because it seemed like a really dumb plan in the first place.
In addition to this he is also presented as a paragon. He supposedly hasn't even consorted with courtesans before. So I have a hard time believing he would have installed his mistress in his home or have taken her to spend time with his family members in the country! He'd have flashes where he'd seem more lifelike--admitting that even though he lusted after her, he still looked down on her for her profession or being appalled at the thought that someone who thought it was okay to become a courtesan had taught his little sister--but then would lose it again.
I found Robert's attitude toward marrying Bel to be the most realistic part of the book. The last hundred pages is where I finally became hooked and is what bumped the grade of the book up. I still found Robert hard to swallow as a duke, but he and Bel finally dealt with a realistic issue that made sense over the fact that they couldn't marry each other. That's the part when I felt the book really started to shine. Bel's inner struggle with accepting it and Robert's fear that she would leave him when he married was well done. The actual end was rather silly, but I was pleased enough by that point to only roll my eyes a little when I read it.
Edited to add: I forgot to say how irritating I found it that the back of the book referred to Bel as "London's most provocative courtesan" when she hadn't even slept with anyone else. Like I said, it's the Disney version here....more
I’m so glad that I ended up liking this book! I enjoyed the first book in the series, Ravishing in Red, butReview originally posted at Fiction Vixen.
I’m so glad that I ended up liking this book! I enjoyed the first book in the series, Ravishing in Red, but I was rather unimpressed with the second book, Provocative in Pearls. I had a deal with myself that this would be my tiebreaker on whether or not to continue the series. I was lying to myself, of course! How could I not read the fourth book when I heard it was about Castleford? I do have to admit that I am relieved that I’ve liked two out of three of these books, though. It makes me confident that I’ll love Castleford’s story as much as I think I will. ;P
Wow, I really wasn’t expecting a heroine like Celia. I knew her circumstances from the previous books, but I thought she’d end up being toned down for her own book. What can I say, everyone else does it. How was I to know that Madeline Hunter would make her character feel so real? Kudos to her, though! I was definitely impressed.
Celia didn’t spend any time with her mother, Alessandra, a famous courtesan, while she was growing up. But when she was sixteen she was brought to live with her. Alessandra began grooming Celia to walk in her footsteps and Celia didn’t react how you would expect in a romance novel. She took to it like a duck in water. She appreciated the thought of having pretty things and a nice house. She took most of her mother’s lessons to heart and had a very upfront attitude about pleasure. She embraced it and learned to focus on her own pleasure even if she didn’t really like who she was with. It was just business. Here’s a little hint of her view while she’s talking to Jonathan from page 131.
"People always build some story around pleasure. The story of marriage or the story of love, or at least a brief tale of commerce.”
Her pragmatic attitude was extremely refreshing. She may have chosen to walk a different path than her mother, but she didn’t reject it out of repugnance for the life. I really liked that, because she knows growing up who she is and what her place in society is going to be. It was nice to see a character who didn’t martyr herself for her pride and honor.
All that practicality and acceptance was in every aspect of her personality as an adult. She was just so grown up. It felt like I was reading about a real person. Sometimes I was a little turned off by her choices, but I still liked her because it made total sense for her personality.
Jonathan was another interesting character. He really turned out to be such a nice guy. I wouldn’t say that he carried the relationship, but I really feel that without him Celia wouldn’t have ended up in quite the same arrangement. She was too aware of her place in the world to dare ask for more. Luckily he was there to insist that she was worth it! I really liked how things turned out in the end. I also Awwwww!ed when I found out about his role in her past when he talked to her mom. That was such a good guy thing to do.
I really appreciated how things turned out for both Jonathan and Celia with their families. While it might not satisfy everyone who desires perfect endings, it satisfied me for its very lack of one. It just made it feel more authentic. Especially when a certain something at the very end was predicted to take so long. There’s no magic snap of the fingers here to solve all their problems.
Where I think this book really shined over the other ones in the series is in the friendships between the men and the women. We’ve met all these characters before, of course, but by the very nature of the girls’ stay with Daphne we never felt like we knew them very well. Everyone just had too many secrets. Here they feel like puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly. They talk and they laugh and they gossip. I really like it. One of my favorite quotes in the book comes from one of those conversations. On page 149 Verity (from Provocative in Pearls) and Daphne were teasing Celia about the possibility of her and Jonathan getting closer.
"...did I mention, Verity, that Mrs. Hill tried a new kind of trifle the other night? It had a bit of lemon in the cream."
"It sounds delicious," Verity said.
"I do favor trifle myself, so I must ask her for the recipe. I wonder if trifle is called trifle because it was once served on trifle? That is what my father called our everyday pewter when I was young. Trifle."
"How interesting. One could serve trifle on trifle to a man at dinner, who later trifles with--"
"Could we return to the topic at hand?" Celia interrupted pointedly.
Daphne looked innocent. "I did not realize we had left it, Celia."
It cracked me up! But it wasn’t just the women who seemed like more of a real unit. The men were more abrasive and joking with each other too. I think we’re finally getting to see them act like a close group together.
The only complaint I had was that the pacing felt a bit slow in the middle. I still enjoyed it, but it broke the momentum enough that I couldn’t love it.
I cannot wait until next May so I can finally get my hands on the next book! The author has been teasing me with little fascinating snippets of Castleford’s life and personality since the first book! He was almost unlikable in the first book, but something about him was just so compelling that he stole the show every time he came on scene. I’ve loved watching him grow with each book. His attitude on Tuesdays cracks me up! I have to end this review before I write a book myself, but let me leave you with some great quotes involving Castleford that I found in this book. Maybe it’ll whet your appetite enough to want to read about him too. ;)
"You came too early. You are supposed to come at night. Ten o'clock would be good, tomorrow. There is a pugilist match to see, and we can find some whores later. I hope you like common ones. I have never understood men paying a hundred pounds for what can be bought for a shilling."
"I don't like them too common."
"I do. Common and lusty and fun. No sad stories of being driven to sin by poverty either. There's plenty who like the trade."
"I remember it well. All these men salivating over the pretty virgin. I have never understood the fascination with them. Virgins. For dynastic reasons it is wise to marry one, but that first night has to be clumsy."
"So you were not interested yourself?"
"Hell, no. Nor in the mother, although she had something to her. You could tell she knew her trade. But if I wanted to swive a woman who subjects me to salons and assemblies and expects diamonds for the effort, I would just get married."
He ran his fingers through his hair. And froze. "What the hell--" He groped around his head, trying to make sense of what he did and did not feel.
"I had my man cut it while you slept," Castleford said. "It looks much better now. He did a fine job of it."
Jonathan glared at him. "You go too far."
"I can't be seen around town with a man whose hair is so unfashionable. You will thank me once you see it. The women will be swarming you now."
"Rather suddenly Castleford did not appear very drunk at all. Sly intelligence showed in the gaze he settled on Jonathan."
"They should have used me during the war, not you, Albrighton. I have a knack for this investigating business. My analytical powers even impressed me this week."
"Being a duke probably helps too."
"In investigating? Probably so."
"Also in impressing yourself, and in convincing yourself you have the right to interfere."
"So I went there. Hence my sore ass. I did not want to waste too much time on this and thought riding cross-country would be best. I asked some polite and discreet questions and--"
"You are incapable of being discreet, so you are already turning this tale to make yourself look better," Hawkeswell said.
**spoiler alert** This book really didn't hit any of my enjoyment buttons. I bought it because one of my friends raved about it. Unfortunately for bot**spoiler alert** This book really didn't hit any of my enjoyment buttons. I bought it because one of my friends raved about it. Unfortunately for both of us it didn't hit me the same way it hit her.
The book opens with Charlotte talking to her sister, Deborah, in a house on Jane street owned by Sir Michael Xavier Bayard. Michael recently set up Deborah in the house as his mistress, but before he can consummate the relationship he's called away because of a death in the family. While he's gone Deborah decides she's getting married and wants Charlotte to talk to Michael in person and explain it to him.
I really don't understand why Deborah wanted someone there to explain things in person. That made no sense. What was even more illogical was the fact that Charlotte agreed to it. I was surprised that when Charlotte found out that Deborah stole the necklace she wasn't more angry with her. Her sister set her up to take the brunt of Michael's anger! Even if Deborah didn't know that Michael would be crazy enough to keep Charlotte prisoner she still knew he'd be out for blood.
I felt bad about Michael's past with his ex-wife-but-not-really-because-she-was-already-married. She wasn't the nicest person though. Even before she went psycho she toyed with Michael's affections and kept him dangling after her. I wish Michael would have had enough strength to break it off with her completely further in the past.
Nothing was really made of the fact that Michael was raped twice in this book. It disturbed me badly, but it really didn't seem have much impact on Michael or Charlotte. That really surprised me. How could it not even have bothered them a little? Also, there were some uncomfortable moments for me in regard to the consent aspect of Charlotte and Michael's sexual relationship. It kind of creeped me out at first. Also, Charlotte never seemed bother by one aspect that really bothered me: He wanted her sister but now he'll sleep with Charlotte because she's there, but he only wanted both of them because they look like his ex-wife.
Also, was this book Erotica? It didn't say so anywhere in the description, but it seemed to center around sex rather than the relationship. I thought it was supposed to be a Romance, but after reading it I think my assumption was wrong.
To me the sex wasn't really sexy. There was a lot of page time spent on it but it seemed kind of mechanical and forced.
I did think the writing style was pretty nice though. I also really enjoyed the time spent on the friendships between the women of Jane street.
I'm undecided on trying another by this author. Like I said, the style of writing was nice, but I'm just not sure if I'd be setting myself up for failure by trying again. ...more