Queue My Review

August 2, 2008

Review: Private Places by Robin Schone, Claudia Dain, Allyson James, and Shiloh Walker

Private Places by Robin Schone, Claudia Dain, Allyson James, and Shiloh Walker

I confess that the list of authors for “Private Places” intrigued me. I’m familiar with all of them and wasn’t aware that two of them even wrote historical works, much less historical erotica. So I was very pleased to get a chance to review this book. All four stories are definitely historical and all four are also definitely erotic. But each pulled very different feelings from me as you will see.

“The Decidedly Devilish Duke” by Allyson James is the first story and I was surprised to find at the end of the book that it was also my favorite. James has taken several different well-used plotlines and combined them into something altogether more fun! He’s now a rich Duke with a bad reputation, but was once a welcomed suitor for her hand. She’s now an impoverished widow with a nasty and lecherous guardian, but was once the most sought after beauty of her season. It wasn’t a misunderstanding that separated them, but rather the immaturity and rashness of youth. Each has learned their lessons well and now they team up, and very heatedly I might add, to fight for their own future together. I enjoyed reading of their awakenings—hers is sexual and his emotional—and the author did a fine job of making both seem both logical and almost palpable.

Claudia Dain’s “A Night at the Theater” is a bit darker as she depicts two courtesans with very different backgrounds and very different goals. The majority of the story is the recounting of only one night at a theater when both women begin their quests–one for revenge and one for security–and the men they choose to seduced to their cause. It’s only in the story’s epilogue that readers learn if either or both were successful. Very deftly written and the ending portrays a ‘happily ever after’ that departs from the norm. Dain does a fabulous job of fully portraying the natures of her characters, something which many authors just can’t do in the short story format.

I’m a huge fan of Shiloh Walker’s ‘Hunter’ series and “Hunter’s Mercy” was a very interesting look at what life for a Hunter must have been like in colonial times. Did werewolves fight in the War of Independence? How did they survive? What did they eat? How would they keep their secrets? With that era’s emphasis on religion, how would a woman justify her feelings for a ‘monster’? Did Hunters fight British Hunters? A truly fascinating and well thought out look at what must have been a difficult time in the history of the Hunters, and I gobbled every bite of this story.

Robin Schone’s writing usually pulls a love/hate reaction from her readers. This story is no exception. I’ve read all of her novels and many are on my ‘keeper shelf’. While this book will find a place on that shelf, her story isn’t the reason why. “The Men and Women’s Club” is a short story connected to her last book “Scandalous Lovers.” Readers who didn’t read that story will likely be left confused and unhappy with this story. I read “Scandalous Lovers” and still I’m uneasy with this story. The tone and sexuality portrayed are very dark indeed and could be uncomfortable for many readers. The love and caring I expect to find with a hero and heroine were buried so deep, it would be very easy to miss it completely. This is not light reading and continues down the path her last couple of books began. I hope other fans enjoy it as I didn’t.

All in all, I’m glad I read “Private Places.” Allyson James and Shiloh Walker’s stories entranced me and Claudia Dain’s story amused me. All the stories were very sexual in tone and I was glad to be sitting in a nice, cool room when I finished the book! All four authors are well established in their genres and this book will be a welcome addition for their readers.

Until next time…

 

Julie

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