When faced with a rakish, lusty husband, what is a proper English wife to do but educate herself in the art of bedplay?
“Marriages are strange things, none stranger perhaps than this betwixt me and my lord husband.”
Lady Cecelia is married to the dashing and philandering Lord William Stanton, a situation that would distress even the most composed and refined gently–born lady. However, Cecelia has a secret balm to her dissatisfaction: her maid, Bess Miller.
Cecelia's inexperience and William's insatiable appetites fuel her desire to learn, and Bess is a willing teacher. Then, when Cecelia blossoms into pregnancy and can no longer accommodate William's needs, he distances himself, and Bess becomes her only solace and comfort – and the channel for her most intimate desires. As Cecelia struggles to understand her own feelings, gossip begins to spread. William starts asking questions, and wicked confessions must be made...
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Written in diary form, this story adds a nice twist to the historical romance genre, allowing Cecilia to explore her sexual curiosity under the guise of wanting to please her husband. Taking into account the restrictions and expectations for women, her curiosity is ‘unnatural’ and shameful, and Cecilia is a very modern woman in her explorations. While for the most part I did enjoy Cecilia and appreciate her character, her strength and curiosity were well portrayed, but she was completely naïve in her willingness to forgive some of the most hurtful slights. And most of those came from her husband William, who moved from solicitous to almost thoughtlessly careless and callous: considering the lengths to which Cecilia was extending herself for his pleasure, some more concern for her would have felt appropriate. However, this is written in a quasi-diary form, which does have the disadvantage of chopping the story into pieces without a great deal of transition from one entry to the next: not a great negative point as the entries are presented in a logical form and order. Vastly different from other historical romances I have read, this had a nice mix of sweet and steam penned in beautifully written prose and solid point of view. The first from this author that I have read, I certainly will look for more titles. I received an eBook from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.