If you have not read Scandalous Lovers, this is still going to take your breath away, but it will be so much more powerful if you read Scandalous Lovers, which is the back story for this book.
I have read every book by this author. Robin Schone is in a class all her own. This is far more a feminist historical novel than an erotic love story, but it is also an amazing erotic love story. This story is a must read if you have any interest in 19th century British legal history, especially as regards women, morals, and the sexual roles of men and women, how that relates to class, the rights and power (or lack thereof) of women in various strata of society.
Like it's predecessor, Scandalous Lovers, I put it in a category of it's own, and something akin to A Handmaids Tale in the feminist power it has. It also presents the awakening understanding of men to the need for change in how women are treated and the need for women to have power over their lives in society. This story is rich in history and presenting one the incredible social, political and personal evolution of an incredible woman's (Rose)sensual, sexual, and over all life awakening after being married for 12 years to a man who has ignored her for 11 of those years because he has become steril. She realizes he has relegated her to role of a breeder whose services he no longer requires. She challanges the prosecuting attorney who, in the court proceeding in Scandalous Lovers, ruthlessly but inadvertently makes her a person sconed by society, to help her obtain a divorce. She wants to experience passion and not be viewed as having the limited role in life as a procreator. Like Scandalous Lovers, this love story takes my breath away, not only from a sensual or sexual standpoint, although there is ample heat in that department, but rather from the heart wrenching personal and private and shared perspectives of both a man and a woman trying to find a passionate, close relationship, in Victorian England, and the awakening to their sensual selves, and their true needs, desires, and inner selves. The heart and gut wrenching realization, that there is no way they can legally pursue their relationship without serious consequences, including destroying both Rose's and Jack's positions in society.
This is a magnificent book! The author has a sound and impressive knowledge of British history, especially of this time period, and of British Law of the time. I finished this book in one day and cannot stop thinking about it and Scandalous Lovers, which I reread just before this book. This is definitely NOT light escapist erotic fiction, but it is a page turner. I know this is a book I will read again, and again, and again. No one out there writes like this author!