Monday 9 January 2012

Review: Lords of Passion - Anthology

This dazzling new historical collection delivers a trio of heroes who are bold, dashing, and unforgettable in every way...

"Beauty and the Brute" by Virginia Henley

It's been three years since Lady Sarah Caversham set eyes on arrogant Charles Lennox-the husband her father chose for her to settle a gambling debt. Now Charles has returned, unaware that the innocent ingénue he wed is determined to turn their marriage of convenience into a blissfully passionate affair...

"How to Seduce a Wife" by Kate Pearce

Louisa March's new husband, Nicholas, is a perfect gentleman in bed-much to her disappointment. She longs for the kind of fevered passion found in her beloved romance novels. But when she dares him to seduce her properly, she discovers that Nicholas is more than ready to meet her challenge, over and over again...

"Not Quite a Courtesan" by Maggie Robinson

Sensible bluestocking Prudence Thorn has been too busy keeping her cousin Sophy out of trouble to experience any adventures of her own. But when Sophy begs Prudence's help in saving her marriage, Pru encounters handsome, worldly Darius Shaw. And under Darius's skilled tutelage, Pru learns just how delightful a little scandal can be...

The stories included in the anthology are:
Beauty and the Brute - Virginia Henley
How to Seduce a Wife - Kate Pearce
Not Quite a Courtesan - Maggie Robinson
(For more information about any of these authors click on their names in the above list to go to their websites)

Beauty and the Brute - Virginia Henley

I know that in 1719 it probably wasn't unusual for 13 year old girls to be married off to 18 year old boys by their parents but I'm not a big fan of reading about such young heroines in adult romance novels.  Our main characters see each other for the first time at their wedding and don't exactly hit it off, Charles is horrified to be marrying such a plain young girl and Sarah is upset by his mean attitude and the nasty comments he makes to her.  Immediately after the wedding Sarah is sent off to a finishing school while her husband Charles goes off on a grand tour of the continent so thankfully the marriage doesn't have to be consummated straight away.  By the time Charles returns from his travels 3 years later Sarah has completely transformed into a beautiful young woman who is popular amongst the ton.  Charles has changed his ways and it is love at first sight when he sees his wife but Sarah hasn't forgotten the way he treated her and she is determined to get her revenge.

I actually enjoyed the majority of the story when I put aside my doubts about the age of the characters but this was my least favourite story in the anthology.  I was pleased that Charles came back like a completely different person though because I didn't like him at all when we first met him.  Things were fairly predictable but it was an entertaining read until you came to the part about Sarah seeking her revenge.  I guess I should forgive her because in reality she was still only 16 at the time but I thought she was very childish and it irritated me, especially when she acted so much older most of the time.

How to Seduce a Wife - Kate Pearce

In How to Seduce a Wife Louisa and Nicholas have been married for nearly a year but things haven't been quite what Louisa expected in the bedroom department.  Nicholas was a notorious rake and his passion filled kisses before their wedding gave her high expectations for a satisfying love life.  However, Nicholas is determined to change his rakish ways and be a respectable husband, he doesn't think a real lady would be interested in a normal sexual relationship and he makes appointments to visit her once a week for a rather boring and very unsatisfying encounter.  When he arrives one night to find Louisa more interested in reading her naughty novel than receiving him in her bed he decides it is time to spice things up a bit.

I have to say I didn't think it was very realistic that a rake with as much experience as Nicholas had wouldn't even attempt to arouse his wife before climbing on board and doing his thing.  I mean come on he knows it is painful for her and he is the one with the skills to make it a pleasurable experience for her so why has he spent a year letting her suffer?  Stupid, stupid man!  Anyway, once he actually decides she won't be horrified if he shows her a good time things get a lot better and I really enjoyed the story from there onwards.  It was just the beginning of the story that put me off a bit.

Not Quite a Courtesan - Maggie Robinson

Courtesan Court Series:
Not Quite A Courtesan (novella in the Lords of Passion anthology)
Mistress by Mistake
Mistress by Midnight
Mistress by Marriage
Master of Sin

Widow Pru doesn't have the best track record with men.  Her husband was a fortune hunter who died within weeks of their wedding after being caught in bed with his mistress so when her young cousin Sophy elopes and marries a fortune hunter of her own Pru expects the worst.  When Sophy begs Pru to help her save her marriage to Cyrus she unwittingly captures the attention of his brother Darius.  A treasure hunter who has recently returned to London with an array of valuable but naughty treasures to sell Darius can't resist the urge to teach buttoned up spinster Pru the art of pleasure.

Not Quite a Courtesan was my favourite story in the anthology and is set in the same time frame as Maggie Robinson's Courtesan Court series.  There is no cross over with characters from the series so it can be read completely separately to the other books but it is set on Jane Street where the other courtesans live and is a good way of testing out the series if you haven't started it yet (it is a series I can highly recommend if you like erotic historical romance stories).  This was the funniest story in the anthology by far, I loved the banter between Pru and Darius and the treasures he had were hilarious - particularly the ring that he gives Pru at the beginning of the story.  Their relationship was sexy and fun and I would love to see more of this couple in the future.

Source: Thanks to Maggie Robinson for sending me this book

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

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