A woman who refuses to follow the rules.... In a world that belongs to men, Lady Maud Finchingfield is a bluestocking seeking a level of forbidden independence. Within the secret chambers of London’s most decadent club, where the ruling elite indulge every vice, can Maud discover freedom and pleasure by bringing those who would dominate into submission?
A man who never expected to lose his control… Lord Henry McCaulay views women with disdain. That is, until he meets the enigmatic Mademoiselle Noire, the alluring hostess at his club, who both fascinates and infuriates him.
As games of power draw Henry and Mademoiselle Noire together, their liaison leads to reckless passion and the risk of scandal.
Each enthralling encounter confirms his hunger to possess her, as thoroughly as she has claimed him - in body and soul.
Can sexual desire transform into the ultimate surrender, and the unmasking of love?
A darkly sensual romance, set in 1899, recommended by Stylist magazine as ‘a mind-blowing’ read.
Heat level: deliciously kinky
The first, seductive volume of Emmanuelle de Maupassant's Noire series.
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4.5 stars. Through much of this story, the reader feels like they are participating or viewing each tableaux as a member of the club. Each tableaux is erotic, sensual and beautifully written. The Victorian setting adds to the taboo element of each performance, but it also defines and underscores the societal limitations imposed upon women in that era. As Lord MacCauley and Mademoiselle Noire begin their relationship, it is he who seems obsessed with her. However, I am not convinced of her feelings for him yet. The novella ends with much to still be revealed about both characters. I am looking forward to reading volume two.
Lord Macaulay and Mademoiselle Noire are the perfect couple Book one is such a tasty beginning Can't wait for the follow up Inspired writing Emmanuelle makes you feel she is one of the characters living in these pages Red hot Especially the early MM Delicious erotica Beautifully written Excellent character development Great plot Delicious five stars
Jan 16th After my non review back in Oct 2014, and the author encouraging me read the revised edition, I took another chance on this story.
While the part I initially had an issue with read much better, and didn't push my buttons like the first time, I still can't say this story was a winner for me.
Yes it was chocka block full of all kinds of sexual scenarios, which was basically the guts of the story. I had no issue with that, some of the scenes could have been extremely hot, if not for the wording, that at times made me scratch my head, and often threw me out of 'the moment'.
I've read historical fiction before, but don't recall an abundance of terms like the below, so I am unsure if it was fitting for the era or not.
..his buttocks and mighty staff. ..he might impale her with his divine spear. ..his sword buried to its hilt. ..ached to feel his thunderbolt within her.
..His veined majesty rising..his sword...grinding his weapon...fat pythons...(and on it goes).
..her flower exploded within her..at the threshold of Daisy's garden...her own delta of pleasure..her mossy garden.
I appreciate the author was trying to mix up the vocab, but much of it just threw me out of the story, and I personally didn't find it erotic. Which I think this story is supposed to be. However, it did in part, keep me reading to see what she could come up with next.
Food for thought - If an author is going to use flowery words, and garden references to describe sex scenes, it might be safer not to name a character Daisy! Or not, it was entertaining.
If you like stories with a lot of sex, terms mentioned above, and don't have to google words like 'confluence' and 'egalitarianism', to find out the meaning, then I encourage you to read this story.
NON-REVIEW Oct 19th I am not going to rate this book as I didn't finish it. The content hit on something that really pisses me off in books with female leads. . Apparently this is the ultimate way for a woman to dominate a male....I beg to differ.
That's not to say many won't love this story, it's just not for me.
Eloquently written erotic escapism, guaranteed to liven up a dull evening.
Adored the feisty heroine, Mademoiselle Noire, who chooses an unconventional life of adventure and experimentation, expressing her sexuality to the full. She is a rare delicacy of empowerment and sensuality.
Meanwhile, the author's convincing portrait of Victorian London is penned with elegance, giving an interesting context from which to explore the double standards faced by women in a man's world.
Extremely raunchy, but never lurid, it may well broaden your mind (and enhance your sexual appetite)! There are several scenes which are likely to stay with you long after you've turned the pages.
The Gentleman's Club is an exquisite exploration of Victorian times and life. Emmanuelle has surpassed expectations with beautiful descriptive prose that catches every delicious erotic episode. Quite a long novella and needing to be so. The first course is simply superb. Mademoiselle Noire, Lord MacCaulay and Cecile each play delicious parts. Although their are many other minor characters at the club who provide delightful passages of MM, FF, MMF, FFM the combinations go on and on. Five beautiful stars from me If you like beautifully written Erotica instead of porn, this is a must read book
This book is strictly about sex. It's all about finding sexual gratification and pleasure by means other than what society finds conventional. The story is centered on Lord MacCauley and Mademoiselle Noire. Lord MacCauley went to an exclusive gentlemen's club in London to seek entertainment. There was new entertainment to be found in Mademoiselle Noire who was a Domme. She titillated the gentlemen with her command and charm. For her presentation, she needed a volunteer and so comes her first contact with Lord MacCauley. He preened, he was proud, but by the end of that first contact he was humiliated, and thus began their relationship.
Though thoroughly embarrassed, Lord MacCauley would go back to the club again and again, more confused with more questions rather than answers and insane with a desire to be near Mademoiselle Noire. Every time MacCauley went to the club, there were different scenarios being played out. There was the helpless virgin, f/f action, group sex, menage, just about every sexual fantasy that men wanted, they were able to partake in at this club. Mlle. Noire wanted the gentlemen to know that women were just as sexual and their desires shouldn't be suppressed just because society deemed it inappropriate for a woman to even have sexual needs. Each time Lord MacCauley went to the club to seek Mlle. explicitly, a new sexual challenge was presented to him by Mlle. Noire to see how he would handle himself. This book shows MacCauley and his transformation from what he thought he should want, to what he saw that he really needed and the freedom to be had in that lifestyle.
I enjoyed reading this story. It flowed well, had a good story line, was entertaining and it was edited well. I look forward to reading the second book as Lord MacCauley and Mademoiselle Noire's journey continues.
I am being honest about this book actually being a 3 star for me, the only reason why I feel obliged to round it up to 4 stars is the unique, wonderful and eloquent narrative of the author. I can't help but bow my head to that. But it's maybe exactly this out-of-the-world style that made it hard for me to connect to the characters, to feel for and with them. Emmanuelle de Maupassant skillfully puts the reader into the role of a voyeur, not being part of the story at all, but still bound to watch with intrigued interest. The narrative is perfectly fitted to match the area of the story, which rather feels like a play than a story. And that, to be honest, is one of the downsides for me. It seems as if the author couldn't decide whether it should be a recount of sorts, displayed as a theatre play, or closer to a diary, because as the story continues, it approaches the main characters, but fails to make a connection between me as a reader and both characters. The descriptions were too clinical for me to find an emotional connection, and therefore it's not 'steamy' in my eyes. Most of the scenes in this rather short story were sexual and expertly described, though some words made me cringe, but that's my personal perspective. For me, I would have loved for the story to be written more smoothly, to explore more of the characters and their surroundings. Without this, it is not more than expertly and eloquently written porn.
Despite the few pages, it's worth the price, something I rarely admit, but this story is a rare gem among erotica books. I only miss the heartache a bit, sadly.
I absolutely loved this story. The little twist at the end was a big surprise. Emmanuelle de Maupassant has developed incredible characters and story to go with it. I can't wait to read more of what delicious, erotic treats she has in store for Mademoiselle Noire and Lord MacCaulay. Highly recommended!
This book. This book! This is the book I wish I had written. This is the book the recent "how-do-we-rescue-erotica" debate was talking about, without knowing it had been written.
De Maupassant offers a delightful, quality romp. Yes, a romp. She brings back the joy, the fun, the playfulness that has been missing from erotica. She reminds us that sex stories are supposed to be FUN! The dialogue is witty, the asides are amusing, the social commentary brings a giggle in between the sexy bits, which are many, and varied.
And the language...oh, the language! It grabs you and propels you smack dab into Victorian London from the first paragraph. It weaves a net about you, it draws you in, it gives The Crimson Petal and The White a run for its money, and it has you shouting 'yes, yes, yes,' like Meg Ryan at the diner, because finally there is a well-rounded, well-written, exquisitely crafted story which redeems the genre.
The delightful encounters between Lord MacCaulay and Mlle. Noir cover quite the gamut of kink: menages a trois, a quatre, a group scene with a cast of thousands, people watching, people being watched, all four letters of BDSM, and then some.
Kudos also for the tasteful treatment to consent. Erotic fiction often falls into two easy traps: either ignores the subject and glorifies abuse, or it takes it upon itself to deliver a Consent 101 lecture right smack in the middle of a plot. The author finds a happy middle, making consent a central part of the plot without being patronizing or preachy.
I find myself waiting for the sequel with all the anxiety of a fangirl. Oh, for Noir 2!
I'm not sure what to think of this, and I will leave it unrated, as I went in already having my doubts.
For one thing, no prostitute of any kind can be sold as an "empowered woman" to me who independently lives out her own sexual needs. No way, no how. The heroine is a prostitute alright, and as such she has no agency.
Next thing is that despite this being protested, this is no actual rendering of consensual sex or consensual sadomasochism. This most assuredly is not BDSM either. In quite a few instances you have outright rape, in others this is dubious consent. For that matter: someone blackmailed into consenting to sex isn't a case of dubious consent (dub-con), that is straight rape.
Just to clarify: I have no problem with rape!fiction if the author acknowledges that this is rape and doesn't side with the rape and rapist. Here you find no acknowledgement, on the contrary, the rape is sold to just be of minor import, especially in the case of Daisy.
Unlike some other readers, I liked the language, even though it was a bit overdone in some places. But as a fan of e.g. May 1812, I can see the attempt to stay as close to the era as possible.
My verdict is that this is an interesting premise, which unfortunately wasn't explored in the manner I would have enjoyed. As I already surmised I wouldn't like erotica based on the woman being a prostitute "liberating herself as a prostitute" I will not rate this.
This is a well written erotic novel based in Victorian times, so expect twosomes, threesomes, too-many-to-countsomes and a range of surprising encounters.
In between the naughty nookie, there is a subtle tale of love and lust, with a promise of another book, or more to come.
Whilst not the longest book you'll come across, it does pack a lot between its pages and the simple, yet effective narrative leave you plenty of room to indulge yourself in the fictitious carnal delights of the main protagonists.
Read it, enjoy it and push Mlle Maupassant to hurry up with her next volume.
This was one hell of an erotic and naughty read and I thoroughly enjoyed it!! The writing was captivating and each scene could be imagined and real. I am actually looking forward to the next installment in the sexual adventures of Lord MacCaulay & Mademoiselle Noire.
Somewhere in Victorian era London, England there exists an exclusive establishment known as The Club. For all practical appearances, it's one of many exclusive Gentleman Clubs that cater to men of wealth who wish to enjoy some quiet time reading, drink a beverage or two in the company of friends, or savor a steak dinner with all the trimmings. This club however is different but you have to be a member to know how different.
This story follows one of the club members, Lord MacCaulay, who is about to meet the Club's new temporary Mistress of Ceremonies Mademoiselle Noire. Mademoiselle Noire has a unique take on adult entertainment with plans to provide a variety of entertaining nightly performances that are guaranteed to amuse those in attendance.
* * * *
This book won't win any prizes for literary excellence or become a New York Times #1 bestseller in the fictional historical romance category. It's way too erotic and raunchy for mainstream readers ... which is why I enjoyed it as much as I did. Oh to see some of the celebrities who read all those FSOG passages read any adult content passage in this book .... well, no reason to wonder as it's not gonna happen. Too over the top HAWT for prime time TV. lol.
The author blows the lid off Victorian era England premising a fanciful exclusive sex club for the wealthy. Nightly performances put on for the clientele result in individual mono on mono scenes or a free for all orgy with the harem of the club. Whatever their pleasure, sex is enjoyed in all shapes, sizes, and dynamics. Guess this is a good time to mention to check out my tags for the 'dynamics' specifics. :D
My takeaway from this book is that erotica and adult content scenes encompass 90% of the story with other 10% featuring an actual complex and multifaceted romance. The reader gets to experience Lord MacCaulay, a self centered pompous noble, charting into unfamiliar territory as the female interest of his affection is not intimidated, fearful, or impressed by him in the least. Rather, she's the one in control calling the shots. Becomes a guessing game if the two have any hope of a future in this sort of circumstance or if the expected norms of Victorian society are too problematic to overcome.
To be frank. This isn't a book that's going to appeal to all fans of historical romantic erotica. It's an in your face read that features sexuality between consenting adults in a time where sexual repression is the norm. Additionally, it puts the female main character in the position of power and control in a time period where this sort of thing is unheard of. For readers who can appreciate and more importantly look for this I would suggest checking it out.
I do see at the end of this book that the author has posted a soon to be released: The European Tour (Volume two in the 'Noire' series) though I can't find any time frame for it so maybe the story isn't finished yet.... only time will tell.
At first I thought The Gentlemen's Club is probably like other erotic novella, short and has no plot, only about sex. A quickie.
But boy, had I ever been so wrong... This book is very well-written. The tone of the book had me glued to my kindle from the first page till last. The plot is so unexpected it's refreshing. Even now, when I re-read the book I still think, 'I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!'
There are some scene that I normally won't like but the author, Ms. Emmanuelle, managed to change my mind. But I warn you, when you read the book, keep an open mind.
I am now very upset because since this is the debut novel, I have nothing else of the author to read. I'll definitely buy her following books (if she writes a new book.) I won't harass her into writing a new book, but a person can only have so much patience.
So if you're still thinking whether or not to read this book and you have an open mind, I'd say go for it.
Well-written story about a woman who travels on her unique path during a time when that wasn't socially acceptable. I can't wait for the next installment. This is a very steamy, sexual story but written with class, grace and wit. Loved it.
This is a superior, engaging piece of work that kept me guessing right up until the last page. The author has made a determined effort to create a vivid, detailed setting peopled with interesting characters you want to learn more about.
The story is set in fin de siècle London, and our purported main character, Lord MacCaulay, is a member of a discreet club devoted to pleasures of the flesh. One night a new grand dame of the club arrives to direct the ceremonies: a mysterious auburn-haired woman named Mademoiselle Noire. Though Mademoiselle is the mistress of a hundred perversions, guiding her staff through one scene after another of creative debauchery, Lord MacCaulay has eyes only for her. Who is she? Will she yield to him?
Lord MacCaulay instantly falls under her spell despite her refusal to be courted in any sort of respectable fashion. He is forced to accept her for who she is, yet that identity remains a mystery until the very end. The twists and turns of the plot are considerable despite this story's modest length, and the author pulls them off with sheer panache.
An excellent start to a series I want to read more of.
The first thing that drew me to this book was the contrast between the cover and the description. The cover for the Kindle edition I read is different from the one featured here on Goodreads -- it’s a nineteenth-century illustration of birds, yet I felt like I had an inkling of what I was getting into. The setting was perfectly set for a Victorian-era gentlemen’s club before I’d even read the first page.
This is the best piece of erotica I’ve read in a long time. The Victorian setting and language mask any vulgarity, yet it is still fairly explicit. There is a tenderness and depth to the main characters that make them feel real and believable, even when some of the acts they perform seem downright unbelievable. The characters’ interests in birds and insects have them running into each other in museums and other sites around London, which lend to their being real people outside of the club. I especially like the strength of Madamoiselle Noire and the playfulness of Maude. They are women making their way in a man’s world, on their own terms.
I loved the ending and I look forward to the next installment.
In The Gentlemen’s Club, Emmanuelle de Maupassant recreates a genuine atmosphere of late Victorian London, with all its secret decadence hiding beneath the veneer of gentility. In this illicit underworld, sexual license and ‘proper’ gender roles are reversed: men are made to submit, while women dominate. And it’s this perversion of normalcy that provokes Lord McCaulay, a seemingly respectable gentleman of high-born society, to obsess on his coquettishly elusive mistress, Mlle. Noire.
Ms. Maupassant draws on a wealth of knowledge and research to capture the feel of the period—from historical landmarks, to fashions and fads, to societal norms (unchaperoned women and underground pornography, to name but two). With fluid wit, she weaves a tale of complex relationships, juxtaposing propriety with impropriety, and questioning the artificial standards of morality. But she isn’t afraid to explore the ‘vulgar’, punctuating her story with very vivid sexual adventures. In doing so, she elevates the art of erotica to first-rate literature.
I appreciate that it's not to everybody's taste, but if you're hunting for some good Victorian erotica, then you should look no further than The Gentlemen's Club. But you'll certainly be surprised to find out that this is, in fact, a modern work; written in 2014. It's well done too - leading you happily through the plot with ease, and serving up adequate helpings of 'naughtiness' in a classic, tasteful way. Even the 'out there' stuff feels intimate and acceptable; a rare feat in today's world of 'Grey Clones'.
Put simply, The Gentlemen's Club is a high-level example of the Victorian genre with a promise of more volumes to come. What more could you ask for?
Much in the style of Fanny Burney and traditional 18-19th century erotica, the author has emulated the style with aplomb.
Quite a romp, with some major eye-openers (unless you read this sort of thing all the time, in which case I expect it's all 'meat and two veg' with an extra dash of gravy - so to speak!)
I found the plot inventive and felt involved in the progress of the leading characters, but the book's strength lies in its sensuous descriptive passages. These really are quite evocative (and provocative).
Three cheers and a big thumbs up. I'll have another serving of this anytime.
I'm not a big fan of historicals, but this one was pretty good. Taking place in an upscale sex club removed a lot of the repressive aspects of that era. The descriptions were nicely overdone, and didn't distract from the very hot sex. The story is short, so there are not a lot of political plot machinations to wade through.
This sets the stage for a sequel, but I don't know if there will be one.
Not a LOVE STORY! LOL! This is the best of the British for a sexy regency era erotica set in a club. The Gentleman's Club is for the hedonists as its pure sex and sensation. If you like the Regency era and hot sensual scenes that cross EVERY BARRIER of "right" and "wrong" this book is for you! Sexy!
Ms. De Maupassant gives us a well written, erotic historical tale. At first, I thought there were two storylines paralleling each other, a sort of dance, where I would hope they would intersect at some point.
We are introduced to Maud, a young woman whose days are filled with mundane and serene interests. All pursuits are governed by strict societal rules as befits her station during nineteenth century London. Maud is intelligent, educated and portrayed as a bit of a bluestocking. But there is more to Maud we will later find. It is the revelation that is most intriguing and I never guessed it.
Lord Henry McCaulay is a bored and entitled aristocrat whose sole endeavor is to “aspire to live a life rich in the enjoyment of experiences new and unexpected.” Most evenings he can be found at his gentlemen’s club where men can indulge in sexual pleasure and debauch exploration. After a few evenings at the club, Henry is intrigued by Mademoiselle Noire to a point of infatuation. Mademoiselle is seductive and alluring and fascinating. She is like no other woman he has ever met, and Henry realizes, at one point, he is obsessed with claiming Mademoiselle. She has ruined him for any other woman because, with Mademoiselle, his sexual fantasies become real.
The Gentlemen’s Club is the first book in the Noire series. The author weaves a story that is richly descriptive with vivid characterization and highly erotic scenes. You will be absolutely surprised with the ending. I admit rereading the story for clues that I missed entirely. What a great beginning to this series and I look forward to Maud and Henry’s story in Italian Sonata, the second book of the series. Wonderful job, Ms. De Maupassant.
So today I thought I'd throw in a little erotica as I usually don't read this type of genre much. Well I guess I picked the wrong KU Novella freebie to read because this one was a solid 1-star for me and concludes this review.
Set in Victorian London, The Gentlemen's Club is a fascinating story of the Victorian era's misogyny, double standards, and hypocrisy. Maud is a young upper class woman whose life has been planned out for her in every detail. However, she's not content with what's expected of her. She wants more. Living with her great-aunt Isabella in London, her life is not unpleasant. But she feels restricted, confined. She has dreams, but what can she do about them? Despite her wealth, she's not free to do as she wishes. She has her little rebellions, but will they ever be enough for her? She's like a caged canary who wants to be free but has no idea how to achieve that freedom. Will she ever be able to escape her family's expectations? Can she find a way to pursue her own dreams? Or will she be forced to follow society's rules, marry a suitable man, and become a woman she doesn't want to be?
By all outward appearances, Lord Henry McCaulay is an upper class gentlemen. But is he really? Like most men of his class and wealth, he looks down on women as merely second-class citizens. That is, until he meets a most remarkable woman in the most unexpected of places. Mademoiselle Noire can humiliate and shame him but still take him to the heights of pleasure and desire. And yet she remains an unknown to him. Who is she? Why is he so irresistibly drawn to her? She is bewitching, beguiling, and utterly enchanting. She's also elusive, mysterious, and so unavailable. Henry resists her, then is enthralled and obsessed. But can his quest to pin down this mystery woman and learn her identity succeed? How? There are no clues, no evidence of who she is. To what lengths will Henry go to learn the identity of Mademoiselle? And even if he does discover her secrets, will it do any good? In a world full of complacent, docile, obedient women, Mademoiselle seems determined to do things her own way. Can Henry even begin to catch her interest? Or will he eventually give in to the demands of his family, his own class system and settle down with an acceptable young woman as his bride? Does he even have a choice in the matter?
Emmanuelle de Maupassant is an entirely new author for me, and I truly wasn't sure what to expect from this book. But I was surprised by the accuracy of the history, the eroticism of a story based in an era of prudery and hypocrisy, and the absolutely enchanting characters she created. For me, this story is a bit reminiscent of The Story of O but without the elements of BDSM. What truly delighted me was the totally unexpected ending of the book. I kept thinking I had it all figured out. Then, when I realized I was nearly finished with the book, I knew my conclusions had to be totally wrong. I was mystified at just how Ms. de Maupassant was going to end this story but it was a fascinating and totally unanticipated ending that took me by complete surprise. I enjoyed this book so very much. I'm eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series which will be released in the near future. I sincerely recommend The Gentlemen's Club for anyone who's a fan of historical erotic romance. Thank you, Emmanuelle de Maupassant, for providing an exceptional reading experience that demonstrates your writing expertise and your ability to combine history with erotic romance in a way I've seldom experienced.
One final note. Please be an informed reader and consumer! This is an ADULT book. It contains explicit language and sexual scenes. If you don't enjoy this genre, think hard before buying any book you know you won't enjoy. There are book synopses and reviews available on Goodreads and all booksellers' websites. USE THESE RESOURCES. DON'T LEAVE A NEGATIVE REVIEW WHEN YOU KNOW YOU WON'T ENJOY THE BOOK. IT'S NOT FAIR TO THE AUTHOR! She works extremely hard to provide a quality work product. If you know you'll object to the book's subject matter before you buy it, you're doing yourself and the author an extreme disservice.
“We live in the wondrous here and now and it’s here that our flesh must take its pleasure. Your body is yours and yours alone, but not for long, and never long enough.” Mademoiselle Noire
The Gentleman’s Club by Emmanuelle de Maupassant is a very erotic and risqué Victoriana story set in 1898 London. It is dark, graphic, raunchy, and quite different from a lot of other stories in this genre. The is a lot of sex happening in this book, which is kinky, often and varied- There are scenes with BDSM elements, humiliation, Multiple partners, m/m, m/m/f, and dirty talk (and more) …… so if you are offended by, or opposed to any or all of these subjects, then this probably isn’t the book for you!
“The nineteenth century was a time of prudery and hypocrisy. While it was expected that men would indulge their sexual impulses widely, regardless of marital status, it was unthinkable for a ‘genteel’ woman to admit even to enjoyment of her marriage bed. For her to express undue interest in sexual matters was a sign of wantonness and questionable moral character. More ominously, it could inspire diagnosis of hysteria. In extreme cases, a woman might be referred to an asylum for treatment of this perversion. Engaging in sex outside of marriage made her a ‘fallen woman’.”
Lord MacCauley has the means and status to explore his sexual proclivities. His tastes are many and varied- he’s always on the lookout for the next experience or conquest. So it comes as no surprise to find he is a member of an exclusive ‘club’, a refuge of sorts for the high society gentlemen who frequented it. But if you pass through a certain doorway, you enter a world of pleasure and pain, with lovely ladies only too willing to enjoy some male company. It is here that Lord MacCauley meets Mademoiselle Noire and succumbs to her incredible talents. His first experience in her theatre of sexual exhibitionism was humiliating, he was mortified by what had occurred, but couldn’t stop thinking about it. After avoiding the place, he finally gives in to his desire and seeks her out again. What starts off as an attempt at revenge ends up with him being drawn even further into her perverted web. His obsession grows and he can barely think of anything else. By day he wiles away his time in anticipation of the nights ‘entertainment’. Will she be his undoing? Or will she bring a clarity and freedom to his life that he didn’t know he was missing?
“Her power over him is a diabolic contagion. Yet, there is something else. He feels her exhibition of her basest animal impulses as a revelation: a miracle of honesty, against which the rest of his life stands in counterfeit. It is as if she has been sent to awaken him to his true self and to lead him on some previously unconsidered path.”
We also meet Maud, a progressive thinking and lovely young aristocrat who is desperately trying to gain some independence and establish her individuality, in the male dominated society of Victoriana London. She deals with the societal expectations of women and the frustrating double standards of the era. What happens when her path intersects with that of Lord MacCauley?
This story is very well written- even if the wording was a little ‘old fashioned’ for my tastes. At first I found it too flowery and a little jarring in places, but soon adapted to it and became more comfortable with it as the story progressed. The wording and dialogue is in keeping with the era, so I commend the author for extra authenticity. Ms. de Maupassant’s scene setting was exquisite. Her attention to detail, and vivid descriptions transported me to Victoriana London- where I was pulled into the story and made a voyeur to all the kinkiness; as well as a witness to the journey of discovery that the characters embark on. There is no cliff-hanger, but the story does continue in volume two- “Italian Sonata”, and I am curious to see what happens next.
I loved The Gentlemen's Club. The characters Lord MacCaulay and Mlle. Noir were complex and captivating. In a time where men held all the power, Mlle. Noir could command a room full of men just by entering the room. It was easy to picture the tension in the room, as they witnessed the scenes that were not for the faint of heart. You could feel Lord MacCaulay’s longing as the story progressed, and the surprise at the end was sublime. I am eager to see where this story leads.
First off, what a GORGEOUS color. A+++ for packaging. I'd leave it out on the coffee table with the art prints if not for the questions it might raise.
My problem is I got into this story expecting it to be decadent historical femdom. Decadent...yes. Historical...yes, and strongly so--the Victorian setting isn't merely a backdrop but infuses everything from the daytime heroine's adventures (which are refreshingly non-sexual as a foil to MacAuley's raunchy nights) to the language of the sex scenes (at times the metaphors reminded me of John Cleland from a century earlier--and that's not a problem, because while I usually hate florid metaphors for sex, once they get florid *enough* it's amazingly fun). It also keeps an eye on the cutting edge of Victorian feminist developments, right from the start where a prologue acknowledges the role of birth control in helping women freely express their sexuality. Hell yeah!!
Femdom...not really. Yes, there is that initial scene (although is "forced" m/m really femdom? Quote marks because there is consent, enough for the fictional scene at least--there's some negotiation going on there that is truly interesting). But afterwards we get a heroine who is more of a masochist that tops from the bottom--which is still something I enjoy seeing, actually! I like my kink to be kinked and twisted further. The hero, though, stopped being so engaging when he became the piston-pussy-pounding "alpha" type whose pages I've listlessly flipped through a hundred times before. I was more interested in some of the other characters at the club (Noire's girlfriends, the man from the first scene-who gets some gestures at characterization and interactions with Noire that raise a little above the "big black cock" trope but not enough, honestly). It's not as if there wasn't space to develop both the characters and the dynamics some more--for a short book, this packs in an amazing amount of content through brief but well-focused chapters. But I realize some of this is a matter of my personal tastes, and being misled by the book description and a heavy dose of wishful thinking (if only this were femdom!).
This came so close to working for me and then it didn't quite work. It will probably work for many other people, though, who like me don't mind the flowery language or who unlike me don't mind toppy heroes.