Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lords of Passion by Pearce, Henley, & Robinson

Rating: 4.5 stars

“How to Seduce a Wife” by Kate Pearce

Louisa (the heroine) is from a wealthy family but not from nobility. She is intelligent and loves to read. Although Nicholas (the hero) married Louisa for her quiet demeanor, obvious intelligence, and huge dowry rather than for her looks, he thinks her smile is lovely and likes her warm brown eyes. Nicholas was a notorious rake in his early days. However, after watching his wastrel father destroy himself and those closest to him with his gambling and flagrant womanizing, he vowed to be nothing like him. He aims for stability, both financially as well as personally. His wife is very unhappy with their unsatisfactory sex life but is unsure how to communicate that to her husband so she sublimates her desires by reading gothic romances. Nicholas thinks that he is doing right by his wife by not ravishing her and overwhelming her with his masculinity and sexuality. It is somewhat of a shock to him when Louisa first tries to clue him in. However, after talking to others, he quickly realizes that he needs to figure out how to fix the situation and take action. I like that it didn’t take him long to figure things out. I also liked the gradual seduction of Louisa’s sense – given the time restraints of a short story. I also liked the fact that Nicholas read one of his wife’s romances to see what some of her erotic triggers might be. I also love that he made one of his wife’s favorite fantasies come true in a very real and vivid way. This is the first thing I’ve read by this author and have been reluctant in the past to try some of her books based on the content but I liked the focus in this book on the hero & heroine.

“Beauty and the Brute” by Virginia Henley

The hero & heroine in this story went through with an arranged marriage in name only when she was 13 and he was 18. The main story takes place 3 years later when she is 16 and he is 21 and they have been apart for those 3 years. Some readers had a problem with the ages of the main characters but I didn’t for a few reasons. First, I realized that back then (circa 1719) & with lifespans being what they were, that was the norm. Comparing people that age then with people that age nowadays is like comparing apples and oranges. Also, the age difference between the two was only 5 years – for me that’s different from an old man deflowering a young girl.
After exchanging wedding vows, he goes off on his Grand Tour and she goes to a London academy for young ladies. Sarah can’t get over the very bad first impression of him. Charles was a typical thoughtless 18yr old boy and said some insulting, snarky things to Sarah when he had just met her. Perhaps an older, more mature woman would have either brushed off his comments or else set him straight, but for a young girl those comments stuck with her. During their time apart, they both matured, physically and in all other ways. Sarah’s figure became more womanly and less girlish. She also gained more self-confidence and became very intelligent and known for her fine wit. Charles likewise became more manly in appearance and, after traveling, sickness, and being exposed to different cultures, gained an empathy for others and depth as a person. Charles is captivated by Sarah when he first sees her after 3 years, not realizing she is his wife. When he does find out who she is, it only strengthens his resolve to win her heart. Sarah, by comparison, is intent on plotting revenge for the way he acted toward her when they were younger. Her plan is “love’em and leave’em”. In the end, of course, she falls for him just as much as he fell for her. I was very happy that, perhaps because of the story length, there was not a long estrangement at the end.

“Not Quite a Courtesan” by Maggie Robinson

Prudence Thorn is a prudish widow of 10 years. It takes collector and auctioneer Darius Shaw to awaken her sexuality. I liked the hero in this story much more than the heroine.

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