OK, I once made the statement that I was never going to read another anthology again, but oh well I lied. Lords of Passion has three authors involved, Virginia Henley, Kate Pearce and Maggie Robinson
Let's start at the beginning with Virginia Henley's Beauty and the Brute or as it's called in my house A Plethora of Aristocrats. Of all of the authors out there in Romanceland, Virginia Henley is never a surprise and this short story is no surprise. This short story almost made me take my - no more anthology vow again.
I had a number of personal problems with this story, first of all it's based on a true story and it's filled with real people...lot's and lot's of real people. There's the Duchess of Shrewsbury, Lady Anne Lennox, Princess Caroline, Prince Frederick, Earl of Albemarle, Marquis of Blandford, Duke of Marlborough, Dowager Duchess of Marlborough (Sarah Churchill), Lady Diane Spencer, to say nothing of the main characters, Sarah Cadogan and Charles Lennox - later the Duke and Duchess of Richmond. And for all you history buffs, the parents of the Lennox sisters (a story in itself.) Every time one of these people showed up in the story, I had to run to my non-fiction books and check them out. And let me tell you these people showed up a lot. I have come to believe that Virginia Henley is a name dropper. So, I found all of these whacky nobles to be a bit of a distraction.
And then my ick factor really kicked in big time! Now, since this was based on a true story we have a heroine and hero who were married at 13 and 18, then according to Ms. Henley consummated their marriage at the grand old age of 16 and 21. Now, I can read this in a non-fiction book and not be upset, but when I'm presented with the bedroom antics of these two, along with Ms. Henley's usage of time-period appropriate sex slang...all I could say was eewwww! I strongly dislike the slang "m...s" (on page 53, 63, 74), almost as much as I dislike the term "p" and they are both in this book over and over again. Plus, Sarah doesn't have normal "m...s", it's "high m...s". What is she, deformed? Why do we always have to go just that one step more? Give me a break! And then there is the 21st century choppy language...that also got on my nerves. As you can tell, we have a groan story here.
Time/Place: 1719 England
Sensuality Rating: Ick
Then I wiped the sweat from my brows and gave a sigh of relief. How to Seduce a Wife by Kate Pearce was second and it saved me from swearing off anthologies again.
This story had me smiling, especially in the beginning when Louisa is more interested in the pirate book she's reading then in having sex with her husband Nicholas. I thought this part of the book was a hoot. Of course, Nicholas sets out to seduce his wife and of course he succeeds by making her fantasies come true. This was a fast read, filled with some really hot sex.
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Really Hot!
Then we come to Maggie Robinson's Not Quite a Courtesan. This was the winner of the group. I loved this story, which by the way didn't have the feel of a short story. I also think it was a first for me, I didn't want this short story to end or maybe I wanted it to be a long story. We have Darius, whose family business is dealing in pornographic antiques and Prudence, an uptight widow whose silly cousin is married to Darius' equally silly brother.
This story is filled with some really funny stuff, from the dialog to the inner thoughts of Prudence, all great fun!
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot!
Warning: This is a trade sized paperback, so, it's one of those that don't fit on the books selves and cost a little more.