Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books!
Today we are going to learn more about Isobel Carr and her Erotic Historical – Ripe for Pleasure. As you can see from the graphic above, Isabel is on blog tour from May 9 to 20th. I’ll be giving away 3 copies of Ripe for Pleasure (to residents of Canada & US only, sorry!). If you want to be entered in the giveaway, just leave a comment with an e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win. This giveaway ends on Sunday the 15th.
Release: May 2011
Source: Forever Romance
Second in line, first in love
A secret society of younger sons, sworn to aid and abet each other, no matter the scandal or cost…. Their fathers and brothers may rule the world, but they run it . . . and when it comes to passion, they refuse to accept second best.
Searching for hidden treasure, finding forbidden fantasy.
London’s most sensual former courtesan, Viola Whedon, is incapable of being seduced-she does the seducing. Until she meets Leonidas Vaughn. Her salacious memoirs have made her the target of half the lords in England, and Vaughn is the only man she can turn to. When he promises to protect her-and to make her beg for his touch-the alluring beauty finds both offers impossible to refuse.
Leonidas Vaughn secretly believes Viola possesses a fortune given to his family by the King of France. So the strong and sexy Vaughn charms his way into Viola’s life . . . and her bed. But when their arrangement is consummated, he’ll experience pleasure far beyond his wildest fantasies-and realize his heart may need the most protection of all.
Before we begin with the review – don’t you love that cover?? I really have to rant a bit about how wonderful the cover of this book is! Most of you know that I’m quite a visual reader. I was immediately attracted to that cover, and it certainly sets the tone for this book!
Ripe for Pleasure starts off with an recitation of the charter of “The League of Second Sons”. It reads in part: “We are MPs and Diplomats, Sailors and Curates, Barristers and Explorers, Adventurers and Soldiers. Our Fathers and Brothers may rule the World, but We run it. For this Service to God, Country, and Family, We will have Our Due.”
I find this to be a fascinating way to start a book. Leonidas (Leo) Vaughn is a younger son of a duke. Our story starts with a contrived rescuing of Viola Whedon. It seems that Leo’s cousin, Charles, thinks that there is a treasure hidden in her house. When she wakes up in the middle of the night to sounds of robbers, Viola escapes the house only to be “saved” by Leo. He calls the watch on the robbers, helps to clean up the mess left behind (including one dead footman) and comforts Viola. Although he doesn’t agree with Charles’s methods, Leo, being a second son with an estate to support, needs that treasure more than Charles. He figures that once he is in Viola’s good graces, he can search for the treasure. He promptly offers his protection to Viola, one of London’s most notorious courtesans. Viola, at the ripe old age of 27 has decided that she needs to get out of the business of pleasure and in order to have enough money to do that she is writing her memoirs. She is completely unaware of any treasure that might be hidden at her house, and even the existence of Charles. She feels that the intruder is the result of her previous employer, Sir Hugo, looking to destroy her memoirs, and of course any mention of himself in such a document.
The story takes off from this point, with Viola believing that she needs protection from Sir Hugo, and Leo knowing that he is protecting her from his cousin Charles. A point of dishonesty that comes back to bite him in the butt, of course!!
This is the first book that I have read by Isabel Carr. It is classified as an historical erotic romance, but I don’t feel that it is any more racy than alot of other romances that I have read. I love the initial premise about the League of Second Sons. Most of the historical romances I read are about titled heros or heirs to titles. It’s interesting that this is obviously the first book in a series about second sons. The other thing, interestingly enough, that I really like about this book is the names of the characters. Leonidis, Lady Boudicea, a dog named Penthesilea, all combine to add an unique twist to a fascinating story. Our hero is pretty tarnished at the beginning of the story, and how can you have a successful historical romance with a courtesan as a heroine? Can you really put together the son of a duke and a famous courtesan and make the story seem believable. The answer in this case is – yes, absolutely!!
The secondary characters in this story are numerous, and memorable. Isobel Carr has the ability to create believable, crisp, real characters. Reading her book is like watching a movie in your head. The hell-raiser sister, Lady Boudicea, is a delight to read about (and I hope we get to read more in another book). Leo’s mother, Her Grace, is a force of nature to behold! I thoroughly enjoyed her shenanigans! I also hope we read more about her! Even the character of Pen, the dog, was delightful.
This is not a story of a maidenly miss being swept off her feet by a handsome prince. This is the story or two mature, experienced, and flawed, characters dealing with reality in life and making their way towards a glorious happily ever after. A delight to read. I am looking forward to the next in the series.
Several interesting things that I found out while researching for this post.
1 – The treasure Leo and Viola are looking for is real. The King of France really did send a fortune to support Bonnie Price Charlie in his bid for the English throne, but the rebellion collapsed before the money reached him, and no one knows what happened to it.
2 – The idea of a man marrying his mistress in the Georgian era wasn’t all that far-fetched. Charles James Fox, the famous Whig politician, did it (and they lived quite happily at Strawberry Fields; yes, that Strawberry Fields) as did the 5th Duke of Devonshire, the 1st Baron Carteret, the 1st Earl of Orford, the 3rd Viscount Palmerston, and Sir Robert Wilmot.
ISOBEL CARR is single, child-free, and a committed “dog person” (the bigger the dog the better). She has taught creative writing, horseback riding, and seminars on historical costuming. She can start a fire without matches and hitch a team of horses to a wagon. She can also spend nine hours in a Victorian corset without a problem but can’t wear heels for more than four hours. She laughed all the way through every episode of Colonial House, and if she could only watch one movie for the rest of her life, it would be Impromptu.