Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Jen's Review: My Lady's Lover

My Lady's Lover by Nicola Davidson
Publisher: Nicola Davidson (November 27, 2017)
Series: Surrey SFS, 1
Genre: F/F Romance -- Historical

Welcome to the Surrey Sexual Freedom Society - where unconventional and uninhibited ladies and gentlemen discuss all matters erotic...

Beatrice Irving has been in love with her employer since the day they met. Even more forbidden, she is Amelia, Countess of Garrick—intelligent, beautiful, and very much married—and an affair that would cause the society scandal to end all scandals. It seems Beatrice is destined to remain alone, her only joy the deliciously wicked monthly meetings of the Surrey Sexual Freedom Society.

Amelia Garrick is desperate. Trapped in a bad marriage to a man she doesn’t love and unable to give him an heir, her one solace is her companion, Beatrice. Until the night friendship becomes something more, and Amelia is introduced to an intoxicating new world. Together they risk all. Yet now she’s had a heady taste of scorching hot pleasure, Amelia can’t resist…

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Jen's Review:

I’ve been reading Thanksgiving and Christmas novellas like crazy lately. Lots of those books are novellas, which I didn’t think I liked, but I’ve really started to enjoy them. I’ve even branched out and started to read some non-holiday themed novellas, and the best of that bunch so far is My Lady’s Lover by Nicola Davidson.

The plot is the kind of set-up I find irresistible in a historical: unrequited love. In this case, Beatrice Irving is a companion and lady’s maid to Amelia, the Countess of Garrick. Beatrice longs for Amelia, but the only people she can tell are her friends in the secret society they’ve named the Surrey Sexual Freedom Society. (Is there anything better in a historical romance than a secret society? I think not. Their clubhouse meetings are a hoot, and there’s an older gentleman who is part of the group that seems uncomfortable with it, and I’m dying to know his story.) Even though her compatriots urge her not to give up, Beatrice knows she’ll never have a chance with Amelia, who she perceives to be a fine, upstanding, happily married woman. Little does Beatrice know that Amelia’s marriage is violent and loveless. Amelia’s husband has married her only for her money and is desperate to sire an heir.

Let’s talk a little more about the novella as a form before we move on. A shorter page count potentially creates problems for the author and reader, because it’s just not possible to squeeze everything in. It takes a skillful author to use the form to her advantage, but if she’s not careful it can also go terribly wrong. The key factors in reading novellas are speed and omission: how much faster can the plot and character development go? What can be excluded and left to the reader’s imagination? If it moves too fast and leaves out too much, the reader is unsatisfied. It has to be just right. Nicola Davidson threads this needle so precisely she could have been sewing on buttons. It’s clear from the text that Amelia’s husband is abusive, both physically and verbally. It’s clear she’s forced to have sex when she doesn’t want to---but it all happens off page. I know from her misery and fear that it’s happened, but the reader is never forced to deal with him. By omitting long scenes from a terrible marriage, the story looks hopefully towards a future rather than being mired in tragedy.

Back to our heroines. By the end of chapter one---I told you speed is of the essence! Don’t worry, it’s brilliantly done!--Beatrice is giving Amelia a massage, when she noticed Amelia is showing unmistakable signs of arousal. Beatrice boldly makes her move. Listen, I’m not going to lie to you, this book is HOT. Amelia freaks out a little at this first sexual encounter, but she quickly overcomes her fear and shyness and initiates further contact. Beatrice and Amelia have lots of hot sex, and because it’s natural for a companion to be alone with her mistress, bathing her and grooming her, they feel somewhat sheltered from gossip.

I found myself wondering how the plot would be resolved, even if Beatrice and Amelia can be together in secret, it’s hardly an HEA if Amelia is still married to a rapist. I won’t say more except that I found the entire thing to be 100% delightful...and hot. I mentioned that, too, right? You should definitely check out this perfectly constructed novella. It’s only 6o pages--and they are fast, sexy, and completely satisfying. The price is right at 99 cents, and it looks like it’s also available on KU.


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Jen received an e-ARC of this book from the author.

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Thanks for the review, Jen! This one is definitely going on my list, it sounds great. And you had me at hot, let's be honest.

Remember, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on December 28th for a chance to win an ecopy of your own!

Have you read Nicola Davidson? Also, what are your thoughts on novellas -- who does it right?


Until Next Time,

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