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Beyond Innocence, by Emma Holly

Emma Holly is well known in the online romance reading community for her erotic romances (such as All U Can Eat, review here). Beyond innocence is my second full length novel by Ms Holly, and it was a wonderful surprise, giving me a glimpse of a very different facet of her writing.

Set late in the nineteenth century, Beyond Innocence presents a different perspective on societal mores, their pressure on the individuals, and the contrast those make with familial obligations. Love is a powerful force, indeed, and doing something out of love doesn’t always make it the right thing to do.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

When her beloved father passes away, Florence Farleigh finds herself alone in the world. All she wants is a man who will treat her kindly and support her financially—and she’s come to London to find him.

Edward Burbrooke thinks marriage is the only way to save his brother Freddie—and their family—from scandalous ruin. As head of the family, Edward has vowed to find Freddie a bride—and fast…

Thrown together by Edward, Florence and Freddie make a perfect pair—until Edward realizes he has feelings for his brother’s betrothed. The sight of her nubile young body makes his blood burn with lust. The sound of her voice makes his heart warm with love. And the sweet taste of her kiss makes him wonder if he isn’t making a terrible mistake.


All U Can Eat, by Emma Holly

I had read only a couple of short stories by Ms Holly (“The Night Owl”, in the Hot Blooded anthology, and “The Countess’ Pleasure” in the Hot Spell anthology) before reading this novel, so I had an idea what to expect from her writing. Still, I was nicely surprised by the reality of it.

The usual warning though: This book, considered more erotica than romance, is funny and graphic and definitely not for the faint of heart—or at least, not for the prude and faint of heart. Did I mention graphic? Minors, this is not for you.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Frankie Smith’s longtime boyfriend just left her for another woman, but she doesn’t have much time to nurse her broken heart. Her diner, All U Can Eat, is as popular as ever, and the people of Six Palms want their appetites satisfied…

When the body of a wealthy local woman is discovered in a nearby alley, it’s Frankie who falls under suspicion. But the truth is, chief Jack West has an all-consuming attraction to the sexy proprietor—and he knows placing her under arrest isn’t going to improve his chances of winning her.

Determined to clear her name—and to get to know the ultra-responsible police chief better—Frankie joins Jack on a roller-coaster ride of an investigation, uncovering Six Palms’ raciest secrets. And as the twists and turns are revealed, letting go of their inhibitions begins to seem like the most natural thing in the world…

For those keeping track: this blurb isn’t more than half way accurate. Frankie is not the only suspect and she doesn’t investigate the murder. (more…)