Friday, December 30, 2011

Review: Her Husband's Harlot by Grace Callaway (Mayhem in Mayfair #1)

Full Description: See Amazon

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thoughts After Reading: I would classify this book as erotica, but with a catch. My classification is due to some of the language and some of the scenes (at the beginning of the book, the heroine inadvertently observes a menage-a-trois). There were maybe 4 or 5 sex scenes. For all that, though, I've never read an erotica that had such a "sweet" tone. Both protagonists mean well: the hero wants to protect the heroine, while the heroine wants to be the perfect wife. The hero is not attracted to anyone besides his wife (both as herself and as a "harlot"). Overall, I'd summarize it as a cute but steamy read :).

Edit 2/5/12: This post in particular seems to get quite a bit of attention, so I thought I'd add more to the review. It's one of the first reviews I wrote, so it's not as detailed as I would like. From what I remember of Her Husband's Harlot: I really liked the book. It's an interesting contradiction of lust and true love and, despite the serious themes, never becomes dark.  The rating would be a 5 except that I don't like infidelity, regardless of intentions or the fact that infidelity never actually occurs (the "harlot" is, after all, his wife). The hero is of more common birth and had a much darker childhood than the heroine, and after he hurts her on their wedding night he berates himself for forcing his "base, lustful" urges upon his lady wife. He lusts after her like crazy, but in his ignorance of the ton he believes that "ladies" are very different from other women. The heroine is confused why the hero has never tried to make love to her since the wedding night, because she wants more than anything to please her husband and be an ideal wife. The hero eventually decides to go to a brothel to relieve his urges. Not cool, but again the hero means well - he'd rather have sex with his wife than anyone else, but the last thing he wants to do is very directly hurt his wife like he did on the wedding night. The heroine finds a pamphlet, and correctly interprets her husband's intentions. She disguises herself and goes to the brothel with the intention of confronting her husband. In her innocence, she accidentally observes a menage-a-trois. The hero, meanwhile, can't find anyone at the brothel that turns him on because he's in love with his wife. He eventually starts masturbating to the same menage-a-trois and runs into his wife. He mistakes her for a "harlot", but since she looks so much like his wife he has erotic sex with her while fantasizing about his wife. This type of misunderstanding goes on for much of the novel, and there's a mystery plot intertwined with the hero's background as well. There is a very ironic level of humor as the heroine worries if her husband will still think her a virtuous lady after he finds out she was pretending to be a harlot with him, while the hero worries if his wife will ever be able to forgive him for his indiscretions. The misunderstandings are a bit silly, as is common in romances, but the most beautiful aspect of the book was that the (sometimes misguided) love between the hero and heroine shines through their thoughts and actions. And then at the end, their love and lust in the marriage finally becomes unfettered of conflict. It's certainly a bit different of a book, but if you can get past the slight infidelity tone I feel it's a great romance. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

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