Posted in: willaful reviews
Tags:Evangeline Collins, Historical romance
The premise of this grabbed me instantly: James, a wealthy merchant married to an aristocrat who despises him, miserably seeks out an evening with a kind woman in the only place he can think of to find one — a brothel. He’s matched with Rose, a woman also trapped by ugly circumstances — her public persona is a quiet life running her family’s country estate, but for one week each month, she works as a high paid prostitute to support her feckless younger brother. That one night with Rose happens to be on her first night, and stretches into another, and another… but what will happen on the seventh night?
The book is marketed as sexy, and it is, but it doesn’t rush straight into bedroom antics. The sensitive and highly principled James finds it difficult to pay for sex or to commit adultery, despite the fact that his wife sleeps with everyone but him. Rose is caught off guard by his considerate behavior and trustworthy demeanor, and can’t stay detached from their encounter. Their first night is spent in nothing but conversation, but leaves both of them craving more.
The rest of the story is about each of them carefully feeling out the boundaries of this difficult relationship. James wants nothing from Rose that isn’t freely given, but it’s hard for her to forget that he’s paid for her time or to believe she has real choices with him: “The word yes flowed so smoothly off her tongue that it had been difficult to get that no out.” And sometimes it’s hard for James to forget that Rose is a professional. There’s some pain and hurt feelings along the way, but also a joy in each other that finally gives them both the strength to fight their way out of their impossible situations, and find a happy ending.
You wouldn’t think a hot affair between a married man and a prostitute would make a sweet story, but strong, sensible, desolate James and beautiful, charming, lost Rose are very lovable and essentially good people. I felt both were too prone to make martyrs of themselves, but at least they do come to realize this. Filled with powerful yearning, this was a very touching story; I give it four stars. It can be bought in trade paperback or for Kindle here or for Nook here.
Published by Berkeley Sensation. Review copy won from a blog contest.