Review: In the Flesh
Well, my goodness. This is my first Portia Da Costa book and I went in to it thinking this would be a standard 19th century London historical romance. (Those of you already familiar with Da Costa can stop laughing at me now.) This is not a story of a gentle romance where the innocent virgin lands the rakish gentleman. It more like the randy and explicit sexual adventure where the innocent virgin lands the rakish gentleman. Let me explain.
No one will ever look at Beatrice as a lady again, ever since nude photos surfaced of her on cabinet cards in the gentleman's clubs. Granted, her ex-fiance drugged her beforehand, but no one knows that. And because of the photos, she has caught the eye of Edmund Richie, a notorious and wealthy ladies man. Richie offers to pay off her brother's debts and give her an allowance if she agrees to be his mistress for a month. With no other prospects and the debts piling up, Bea accepts.
Richie's seduction is a slow one, but he gives Bea quite the education. Most of their interactions surround some kind of sexual act ranging from masturbation to voyeurism and sex toys to, eventually, the full monte. Richie is nearly obsessed with Bea because of the cards. And because of his tortured past relationships, he feels like an affair is all that can ever be between them. Bea is truly an innocent as the book begins, but ends up quite the lusty temptress. And that's not only bed play the story has to offer. There is also a spicy subplot featuring a m/m/f menage, with Bea's brother in the center of it all.
The romance is essentially the plot. Bea and Richie fall in love, despite the futility of a relationship between them. But theirs is a relationship that is built almost entirely on bedsport. Don't get me wrong. The sex is hot. And I cared enough about both characters to want them to have a happy ending. It was clear there was only one way that could happen, so in that respect it was a little predictable --or perhaps, I should say, inevitable. But it entertains and titillates along the way.
I don't think anyone looking for an erotic historical would be disappointed. I just wish we could have experienced the couple together a little bit more out of bed, to make the deeper emotions a little more believable. 3 1/2 stars.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
In the Fleshby Portia Da CostaRelease Date: March 20, 2012Publisher: HQN Books