Posted in: reviews
Tags:Historical romance, interracial romance, multicultural romance, self-published, Sienna Mynx
Buttercup by Sienna Mynx. Self-published, 2010. Erotic Romance very steamy.
Let me start by saying that I was immediately drawn to this book because the cover is absolutely gorgeous. The 1930s setting makes it unusual for a romance, and it’s a time period I really like. Gangsters, bank robbers, and carnival hooch dancers definitely are the ingredients for my kind of book. Back in the day carnivals were definitely not entertainment for the kids. Men paid money to come in, drink liquor, or “hooch” and watch women get naked. For a little extra money sometimes the dancer would grant sexual favors. This is the line of work in which Buttercup is employed when she meets Silvio the leader of a band of bank robbers. Their first encounter results in him being wrongfully incarcerated for rape. So when he returns everyone, including Buttercup, believe he wants revenge, what he’s actually come for leaves the entire carnival in an uproar.
The author does an excellent job of capturing the time period and her descriptions of the carnival lifestyle are vivid and engaging. I could all but smell the aromas and see the cheap, tawdry costumes. The sense of urgency and hard lives lived fast and furiously leap from the page.
The warm fragrance of sweet kettle corn and roasted apples blew in from the midway through the loosened flap at the front of the tent. Carnies taunted townies to test their luck, get their fortunes read, or become one of the chosen few to bear witness to the never seen before oddities of man. However, here under the cover of a patchwork carnival tent, it was just Buttercup and him–alone. Silvio swallowed. His nerves, a ball of conflicting emotions had lodged in his throat as he stared on, riveted. He had found her. Beyond a stage curtain made from tattered wash-worn sheets strung up by fishing wire, she called for him, seduced him, damned him.
These characters are true-to-life, rough edges and all. Buttercup has had sex for money. Silvio is a bank robber and gangster. People have died as a result of his actions. The author doesn’t make the mistake of trying to soften the rough edges for us. These were tough times and she shows them for what they were. This is 1930s America, so racism is definitely an issue, but it’s not the central focus of the book. It’s simply shown as a fact of life that doesn’t slow them down one bit. The gritty realism of the characters make their love story all the more believable.
For me there were only two flaws to this story; it was two short, and the villain’s motivations were a bit confusing. By my account, Buttercup and Silvio only had two days together. They were two action-packed days, and the author does such a good job of drawing the reader in that I didn’t realize that they were together so briefly until after I sat down to write the review. But I think the story would have been well-served by more scenes of the two of them together. At one point I thought the villain wanted Buttercup for himself, but by the end of the book, I wasn’t sure what his deal was. That could’ve been fleshed out more. All in all, I absolutely loved this book.
I recently read her newest Harmony, which is another interracial story set in the same time period, but with the Cotton Club and Italian mafioso. I’ll review it later.