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Potent Pleasures (Pleasures #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  4,556 Ratings  ·  376 Reviews
Eloisa James breathes new life into one of the most popular fiction genres with her highly original debut novel Potent Pleasures, a charming, vividly peopled Regency romance. With an uncanny wit and an eye for the whimsical, she unravels a complex--and often hilarious--chain of events inadvertently set in motion by a young woman's first taste of forbidden pleasure.

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ebook, 348 pages
Published November 18th 2009 by Island Books (first published 1999)
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Oh, I am so torn. On one hand, I like Ms. James' writing style, the secondary characters are wonderful (I wanted more of Will and Chloe - I wished the book was about them instead of having their romance be secondary) and the heroine is beyond adorable - I'd love to have her in the family.

On the other hand, the hero is an utter fucking temper-driven idiot with trust issues, living with whom would be uncomfortable to the extreme. The main emotion he evoked in me for half the book was sheer rage, e
Jacob Proffitt
It's unfortunate that this is the first novel by Eloisa James that I picked up. I'm kind of glad that I had already bought a few eBooks before reading this one because if I hadn't, I may not have come back.

The thing is, the story works out most of the time. Both Alex and Charlotte are charming and I enjoyed their relationship ... until James started manipulating things against them. Indeed, my biggest problem with the novel is that James manipulates so much stupid just to provide problems for Ch
Fani *loves angst*
Nice writing and interesting plot in this deeply emotional romance. However, the hero tops my list of worst heroes ever, since he distrusts and browbeats the heroine repeatedly and she is stupid enough to stay by his side despite the way he treats her. The fact that after hating both protagonists I ended up liking the book despite myself, says a lot about Mrs James writing skills. With heavy editing this could become a keeper, but with a hero like that it is barely finishable.
Lori McD
OK, from the date and comments I've read about this book, I'm going to assume this was one of Eloisa James' first attempts at a romance novel. So I can almost forgive her... but not quite.

If you're new to romance novels, please take my advice and DON'T BOTHER WITH THIS SERIES. It will put you off Regency romances forever, unless you like stories where men can act like complete and total jerks, expecting wives to be madonnas while secretly wanting them to be whores in the bedroom, but not able to
Jan 31, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Jedva sam pregurala prvih 200 stranica. Misli likova su zbrkane, izmijesane jedne s drugima pa se vise ni ne zna ko govori/misli. Glavni muski lik je kreten, a glavni zenski lik glupaca. Ruzan opis, ali istinit. Autorica kao da je pokusala da podvali njihovu zaljubljenost, ali kao sto i sami likovi u jednom momentu kazu, bez povjerenja nema nicega. A Aleks definitivno nema povjerenja u svoju zenu ni nakon sto joj obeca da se nece voditi svojim impulsima i da ce joj vjerovati.
Od 200te stranice r
I've given this a C+ for narration and C for content at AAR.

I remember reading the other two books in this trilogy several years ago, but for some reason hadn’t read the first, Potent Pleasures, so listening to this new audiobook version seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, it proved to be a disappointing experience overall, as the story relies too heavily on the fact that the main characters just don’t TALK to each other. The narration also leaves a lot to be desired, because, while there’s
May 25, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Meg by: amazon
I love Eloisa James. She's an intelligent, sensuous, witty romance author and her Desperate Duchesses series is up there on my read-and-read-again shelf. So it was with no fear or trepidation that I picked up Potent Pleasures. How wrong I was.

This novel is like a time warp back to the bad old days of Domestic Abuse-Means-Love 1970s romances. It commits more deadly sins of romance writing than most. For example:

1. the novel centres around a conflict that could be solved with a 30 second conversa
Jul 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hr
My first attempt to read a book by Eloisa James and what bad luck I had to choose this story. I liked the beginning of this... a mistaken identity, unforgettable first for them. Liked it up to that point at the ball of her first come-out. Then everything went downhill for me.

I had thought he would be pining for Charlotte until they met again. But no, he got married and had a child.
My second dislike is there's a child involved. I always stay away from romances involving widows/ers with kids. Aar
Feb 02, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me so damn angry, specifically the asshat hero. Oh yes. And the heroine, who starts out as someone who could be called interesting and on her road to independency, but then is turned into this human-shaped doormat. She calls the hero a "madman", yet tells him that she loves him and will keep forgiving him. I just can't. I felt so angry throughout the book. I kept hoping for some kind of a payoff, but it just didn't happen. Just lots of anger. And once I finished it, I felt tired a ...more
Lita Bouquard
Wow, How many times can you be called a ho and accept it? There were several things that bothered me about this historical romance and that was the corker of them all. I also disliked:
A LOT of time spent detailing the friendship of Charlette and Josie(?) I forgot the BF's name already because after the initial mundane preferences of both characters, ex: one liked dancing the other didn't, one sat straight , the other lounged, she is dropped like a hot rock.
Whyyyyyyyyy? I want best friends to be
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Started off interesting. Story definitely unfolded very differently from what I expected. Charlotte is good heroine. Strong minded. Alex, on the other hand, was despicable. It was lust lust lust, "WHORE!" followed by more lust lust lust and then branding his wife a whore again. He basically ruined the whole book for me.
Jan 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
Eloisa James does a wonderful job on Potent Pleasures. Can you imagine being so “touched” from a “one night stand”(using today’s terms) that no future matches could really compare? Then imagine “falling” into them three years later and being just as enchanted. James writes about this very thing in the first book of her Pleasures trilogy (Potent Pleasures, Midnight Pleasures, Enchanting Pleasures) yet only one remembers the other even though both remember the moment. The Earl is a devestatingly h ...more
Tracy's Place
I have incredibly mixed feelings about this. When Charlotte and Alex were good they were very good. When they were bad it was SO bad I was shocked at how bad it was. Alex wasn't a complete ass all of the time but when he let his asshole ways shine through he really went off the deep end. How many times can you call your wife a whore and expect to be forgiven? The fact that Charlotte kept forgiving him boggled my mind. He said several times that he didn't deserve Charlotte. Damn right he didn't! ...more
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I liked parts of this book, I hate that it seems to suggest that if a man is properly apologetic or has an emotional trauma in his past, a woman should forgive his verbal abuse and other humiliations. I can see perhaps forgiving a solitary incident, but a second? No way. I read trashy novels like this as an entertaining diversion from real life.
AmyS Schmid
The heroine didn't get the memo that the hero has to WORK for your forgiveness when he screws up HUGE...Love doesn't make up for all acts of jackassery.
Katherine 黄爱芬
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
2.5 - 3 stars. (Sorry Gabriela, don't kill me!)

One of my friends lent me her copy of this book as she knows I enjoy reading romance novels and this was the first romance novel she ever read and it holds a soft place in her heart so she lent it to me to try.

+ I liked the characters -especially Charlotte and her mother who *gasp* actually cared about her daughter and her happiness
+ The 1 year-old daughter (Pippa?) was adorable.
+ Paintings! I loved that Charlotte painted people including her
Heather Petty
Feb 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, ebook
This was my first romance novel.

And, to be honest, I probably never would have looked twice at this book, if it weren't for my agent. She and I were talking about something in my manuscript, and she said I should read Eloisa James to see what I could learn from her.

It was like my nightmare, being assigned a romance novel and then told to read an author who only writes REGENCY ROMANCE. *headdesk* The worst, possible scenario. I walked by her books a few times in the book store, wincing away fro
Neus Gutiérrez
Feb 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No. Definitivamente no.
Este es el típico libro que metemos en la sección de romántica y que leído superficialmente pues aceptamos como maravilloso y bonito, porque está bien escrito y los personajes están bien. Te atrapa.
Ahora bien, si somos realistas y leemos REALMENTE el libro, éste libro es el ejemplo perfecto de 'marido-celoso-maltratador-psciológico' que es un idiota temperamental que a la mínima duda tilda a su mujer de zorra, puta y vete tú a saber cuantas cosas más. Y ella, en lugar de e
Kit Lau
I agree with a lot of the other reviewers of this book that found it frustrating — a lot of it went downhill after the wedding and I couldn't believe for a second that the main heroine couldn't find the nerve to confront Alex about what really happened. The relationship seemed really emotionally taxing especially with Alex's crazy temper. I get it, he is hot, he is an earl, but you just can't get away with that kind of abuse and still forgive him! I get that back in Georgian period, women are ve ...more
The hero was such an idiot!!! Ugh like the story was a good one but the hero I repeat is an idiot! I am not going to write proper review for this because some parts annoyed the hell out of me. The fact that the story had a good plot and amazingly written characters is probably the reason why I finished it and rated a solid three stars.
The heroine to me was your typical wishy washy type. One moment a strong and stubborn resolve. The next no back bone. Cause if some man would of said the things t
Camille Azarcon
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book! I started reading this novel with high hopes since there's a review by booklist that says this novel brings to mind the best of Judith McNaught (who is my fave author). And yes, it did remind me of JM's works. :) Alex and Patrick Foakes reminded me of Clayton and Stephen Westmoreland. Also, I felt like I was the one hurting when Alex misjudged Charlotte, which usually just happens when I read a JM novel. I'm so happy this book didn't disappoint me and I'm looking forw ...more
May 17, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What? No. Just no. I usually love Eloisa James, but this... The hero is a complete asshole who didn't deserve the heroine; Charlotte should have dropped Alex like a hot potato. He didn't trust her, verbally and emotionally abused her, and came close to physical abuse, and yet somehow everything ends up tied up in a pretty ribbon? I don't think so.
Patricia Burroughs
I could point out some specific issues with this book, but bottom line, I think the biggest issue is the omnipotent point of view. I felt removed from the characters and didn't really experience the cracktastic angst-fest this could have been.
Vikki Vaught
While I absolutely loved the heroine, I wanted to bash the hero over the head for his impulsive decisions! Nonetheless, I couldn't stop listening to this compelling story. Happy reading!
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eloisa-james
mau kasih 5* tapi cowoknya bego sangat jadi 4* ajalah
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Eloisa James and it surely won’t be my last. .Potent Pleasures was so witty, original and clever!

I thoroughly enjoyed the omniscient point of view, hearing from gossipy old ladies to eager suitors. I especially loved reading from Adelaide’s perspective, who is now one of my favourite Regency mothers!

I adore Charlotte. She was an incredibly engaging heroine to be with.

Alex, on the other hand, had me yelling ‘BASTARD’ at 2 am in the morning. He is a pigheaded, brooding fool. He
Jan 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1.5 stars? I think this is Eloisa James's first book, and,'s painfully obvious. Plots aren't her strong point even now, and this one is a particular mess. And the characters are all over the place as well. Not my favorite.
Aug 06, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #170-172 Pleasures series by Eloisa James 1 2 Sep 05, 2015 09:17AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 10, 2015 07:56AM  
  • A Dangerous Beauty (Widows Club, #1)
  • An Invitation to Sin (Griffin Family, #2)
  • Lady Anne’s Lover
  • His Wicked Ways (MacKay, #1)
  • How to be a Scottish Mistress
  • The Devil's Necklace (Necklace Trilogy, #2)
  • The Ruthless Charmer (Rogues of Regent Street, # 2)
  • The Wife Trap (The Trap Trilogy, #2)
  • Everything and the Moon (The Lyndon Sisters, #1)
  • Lord of Ice (Knight Miscellany, #3)
  • The Perfect Stranger (The Merridew Sisters, #3)
  • One With the Shadows (Companion, #5)
  • Don't Tempt Me (Fallen Women, #2)
  • A Dangerous Love (Swanlea Spinsters, #1)
New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James writes historical romances for HarperCollins Publishers. Her novels have been published to great acclaim. A reviewer from USA Today wrote of Eloisa's very first book that she "found herself devouring the book like a dieter with a Hershey bar"; later People Magazine raved that "romance writing does not get much better than this." Her novels have repeat ...more
More about Eloisa James...

Other Books in the Series

Pleasures (3 books)
  • Midnight Pleasures (Pleasures, #2)
  • Enchanting Pleasures (Pleasures, #3)
“Men are different,” Sophie retorted. “You can see that easily enough, Charlotte. Women may love one man, but men simply love the person they see before them. That old chestnut, absence makes the heart grow fonder, doesn’t work for men. They are like children with toys: They move on to the next shiny object if you take the old one out of their hands.” 0 likes
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