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Genre: Erotic Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

Married young to a man hand-picked by her father, Elizabeth Petre is an ideal Victorian lady. She has borne two sons and endured sixteen years of selfless duty in a passionless marriage. Craving a man’s loving touch yet loyal to her wedding vows, Elizabeth is determined to seduce her coldly indifferent husband. She knows of only one man who can teach her the erotic secrets of love.

The bastard son of an English countess and an Arab sheik, Ramiel Devington was reared to embrace both Western culture and Eastern pleasure. Scorned by society and challenged by prim Elizabeth’s request, he undertakes her instruction in the art of sensual delight. But when the lessons become a temptation neither can resist, Elizabeth is forced to choose between obligation and a bold, forbidden passion.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I discovered Robin Schone by reading some well written reviews almost by accident, and was intrigued. Erotica is not a genre that has ever interested me but having started this novel I became fascinated. This is not a smutty, kinky, shallow tale, but rather a deeply dark, sensual love story with some very serious ‘goings on’ – this tale is not for the faint hearted.

Elizabeth Petre is a wife and mother, her husband an influential high ranking and ambitious politician. Dutiful and supportive of her husband and his aspirations, she is nevertheless dissatisfied with her loveless, passionless marriage. Living in Victorian England with its double standards, narrow minded attitudes and lack of women’s rights, Elizabeth has little hope of improving her lot in life and then, through the ton’s grapevine, she hears rumours that her husband has taken a mistress. She is desperate to seduce him back to her bed in any way she can.

Lord Ramiel Safyre is the base born son of an Arab Sheikh and an English Countess. Renowned for his bedroom talents but scorned and slighted for his race and bastardy, Ramiel is a lonely man, longing for someone to accept and want him for himself rather than his sexual prowess. Elizabeth approaches Ramiel and surprises him by asking him to tutor her in the ways of pleasing her husband in bed. This is a novelty to Ramiel, having never encountered a woman who is unselfishly anxious to pleasure a man. Privately, he wonders what it would be like to be wanted by a woman in such a way.

Ramiel agrees to Elizabeth’s request and the tutoring begins using an erotic manual, written hundreds of years previously, and known as The Perfumed Garden of the Sheikh Nefzaoui. Elizabeth has specified that she will not be unfaithful to her husband and so the tutoring is done by words alone. How this is achieved is sensually erotic, sexy and utterly captivating. This is where I thought I would feel uncomfortable, but I didn’t. Ms. Schone uses this erotic dialogue to expertly to grow the relationship between the unbelievably naive Elizabeth and the sensual but deeply honourable Ramiel. The air is sizzling and it is not long before attraction begins to grow between them.

There is no physical interaction between these two compelling characters until well into the second half of the book. In the meantime, there is a darkly dangerous background story emerging, in which Elizabeth’s very life is endangered. There is a shocking culmination, which I did not see coming and which some readers may be repulsed although I wasn’t. I feel it thoroughly describes the Victorian era, with its ridiculously draped table legs but conversely, the hypocritical, darker sexual predilections of some members of society.

I was slightly uncomfortable with the very graphic descriptions of the actual sexual acts which is rather unreasonable on my part given that it is an erotic historical romance. I did love the slow unraveling of Elizabeth and her low self-esteem as she learns to become comfortable in her own skin, with the delicious Ramiel teaching her how to be a sexy, desirable woman at last.

My only real criticism with the writing is the inclusion of American words which certainly would not have been used in Victorian England…words such as ‘gotten’, ‘fall’ and ‘block’, but worst of all ‘fanny’ which means something completely different in England! It is a pity that Ms. Schone did not employ an English reader to correct this otherwise very well written novel

MY VERDICT: I was fascinated by this unusual and earthy story and it is a pity I had to be picky. Nevertheless, 4.5* rounded up to 5* for a sensual, darkly compelling tale.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

 

Read June 2014

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