The Prince of Pleasure
Do you like hot romances, just this side of burning? Do you like heroes who are impossibly alpha, handsome and studly? How about heroines who are blindingly beautiful? Do you like lots of love scenes and purple prose? Then rush out and buy The Prince of Pleasure. Fans of old-fashioned erotic romances will love it. As for me, I think I prefer my historical romances with a bit more depth and subtlety.
In 1804, Jeremy Adaire North (Dare) loved French émigré Julienne Laurent. They had a passionate relationship and wanted to marry, but his uncle, the Marquess of Wolverton, was certain Julienne was a traitor and threatened Dare with loss of his inheritance. The old man arranged for Dare to discover Julienne in a compromising position with another man. Dare’s heart was broken and he did the usual old-style romance hero thing – he became a rake.
Dare inherited his uncle’s title and wealth and set out on a long debauch. He founded a Hell Fire Club, and for several years gave himself up to pleasure. But this was simply a façade to mask his aching heart. Dare has never forgotten his One True Love.
Question: Why is it that almost all romance heroes become sluts when their hearts break? Why not try some other way to compensate, like doing good deeds, or becoming a hermit? Why do they never seem to try to fall in love with another nice woman and get on with their lives?
In 1814 Dare is enjoying a night at the theatre. The lead actress turns out to be Julienne, the new Toast of the Town. Being the rake that he is, Dare makes a public vow to have her as his mistress. She makes a public vow that she will not yield. Although the author does not say so, I’ll bet White’s famous betting book filled up a lot of pages that night.
The Prince Of Pleasure settles down to a long string of scenes involving much throbbing and aching of various body parts for both Dare and Julienne, much internal anguishing for both Dare and Julienne, and every so often a lusty session of boinking for Dare and Julienne, followed by some internal anguishing… and then the cycle repeats. There’s a bit of a plot involving Dare’s attempts to find a French spy, but this is only secondary to the anguishing and boinking.
I can’t say a whole lot about Dare. He’s handsome, rakish and insatiable, a perfect romance novel cliché. Julienne is a bit more interesting. I have read any number of romances where the heroine, having been jilted by the hero, never even looks at another man and remains as celibate as a Shaker. Not Julienne. She takes several lovers, both for money and in an attempt to forget her One True Love. She even practices birth control involving the insertion of a brandy-soaked sponge. This is a nice touch. I thought Julienne would have a tougher constitution given her hard past and how she transformed herself into an excellent and successful actress, but once she sees Dare, she turns all throbbing and angsty.
Oh well, there are some historical romance writers who can write complex characters, hot sex scenes and interesting plots. Nicole Jordan has one of the elements down perfectly, and I suspect you can guess which one.
Buy it at Amazon/iBooks/Barnes and Noble/Kobo