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Potent Pleasures [Hardcover]

Eloisa James
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 1999
Eloisa James breathes new life into one of the most popular fiction genres with her highly original debut novel Potent Pleasures, a charming, vividly peopled Regency romance. With an uncanny wit and an eye for the whimsical, she unravels a complex--and often hilarious--chain of events inadvertently set in motion by a young woman's first taste of forbidden pleasure.

About to make her debut in London society, Charlotte Calverstill, beneath the lavish gowns and manners of a well-brought-up young lady, yearns for a taste of freedom. Pushing propriety aside, one evening she sneaks out with a friend to attend a masked ball, and there meets a devastatingly handsome stranger who relieves her--not against her wishes--of her virtue, then vanishes.

Years later, when they meet again, the rogue does not remember Charlotte. But she certainly remembers him; she has since learned not only his identity, but also a titillating piece of gossip about him that is sure to set society abuzz. The intricate web that a now-wiser Charlotte weaves to exact her due ensures justice for some and great merriment for all.

Taking the Regency historical to fresh new places, with artful smoothness and irrepressible humor, Eloisa James delivers a winsome tale of first love and life's unexpected surprises.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 375 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Pr (Sep 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385333609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385333603
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 15.5 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 623,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The first book in the Pleasures Trilogy --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Nothing is more seductive than temptation...

Reckless desire sends Charlotte Daicheston into the garden with a dashing masked stranger. He's powerful, unforgettable, a devastatingly handsome footman who lures her--not against her will--into a grand indiscretion at a masquerade ball. Then he vanishes.

Several years later, after Charlotte has made her dazzling debut in London society, they meet again. But the rogue is no footman. He's rich, titled, and he doesn't remember Charlotte. Worse, he's the subject of some scandalous gossip: rumor has it, the earl's virility is in question.

Charlotte, who knows all too intimately the power of his passion, is stunned by the gossip that has set society ablaze. At last, there can be a storybook ending...unless, of course, Charlotte's one mad indiscretion had not been with him at all....

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delightful little book 24 Nov 2002
By Farfalla VINE VOICE
This book combines some of the best characteristics of the romance novel into a surprisingly delightful whole. There is the typical plot (boy meets girl, get married, strife, reunion) but the way in which this is exectued is wonderful. Nor does the author rely on sex scenes to create a feeling of intimacy between the characters. They talk together out of bed!
The heroine, Charlotte, is quite likable, and likes to paint, actually is a serious painter, even if only for herself. She has a misadventure with the hero, Alex at a masquerade ball right before her debut. She feels herself to be ruined, and after three years of protesting agianst marriage, she finally decides that she doesn't want to be alone, and proceeds to give herself a makeover, and takes London by storm.
During this time, Alex has been sent off to Italy, while his twin brother Patrick, is sent off to India by their irate father. When Alex returns after Charlotte has become one of the reigning beauties of London, he doesn't recognize her. However, she recognizes him. Alex was declared impotent, which he went along with happily in order to escape from his marriage in Italy, and so even though he has a little daughter, he is believed to be ineligable for marriage. And from here, we get the rest of the plot. Alex still is distrustful of women, after his wife in Italy betrayed him with the servants, and those of their social circle, and anyone else to come along. Charlotte knows that Alex is the only one she has ever slept with, even if he doesn't believe her. And society decides that she has a tendre for his twin, since Alex is supposedly incapable.
The supporting characters are well drawn out, and you hope that they will re-appear in their own book(s) - they do! I look forward to reading more by this talented author.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical romance 19 May 1999
By A Customer
Just prior to her eighteenth birthday, Charlotte Daicheston innocently accompanies a friend to the "Hooker's Masquerade Ball". While there, Charlotte loses her virginity to Alex Foakes, a future duke. Alex searches for her, but fails to find her. A few weeks later, Alex and his twin brother get in trouble and their father exiles them with Alex going to Italy.
By 1801, three years have passed since Alex was sent overseas. He has returned as the Duke since his father recently passed away. He seeks a wife to help him raise his little girl, who he sired while being married in Italy. At a ball, he meets Charlotte, who recognizes him, but he fails to do likewise. He pushes her into marrying him. They make love, but he goes crazy when he realizes she is not a virgin. Though they make up, one must wonder if love dies when trust fails to anchor it. Soon, this couple will be put to a life and death test.
POTENT PLEASURES is an interesting Regency romance that centers on how gossiping scandals can ruin lives. The story line is interesting even though readers will want to pound Alex at times for his boorish, obstinate behavior. Charlotte is a warm character and little Pippa will steal the audience's hearts. Eloisa James has written a historical romance that will please sub-genre purists even as it provides a moral lesson on loose lips sink relationships.

Harriet Klausner
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Potent Pleasures is a joy from start to finish! 30 Aug 1999
By A Customer
As a 91-year-old, life-long romance reader, I was enchanted by all the pleasures of Eloisa James' first novel. From the whimsical account of Charlotte's experience in finishing school, to the heart-wrenching child-birth scene, James' novel moved me to both laughter and tears. As a nonagenarian feminist, I was quite happy to encounter a heroine who was talented, witty and self-confident--not the simpering, doting females of many other romance novels. James has a masterful touch with witty dialogue, along with a delicious ability to evoke all the textures and nuances of the age. I found Potent Pleasures to be both imminently entertaining and ridiculously readable!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing stinker 2 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm a big Eloisa James fan. I consumed the Desperate Duchesses books in one sitting each and have confidently bought several of her books without even reading the blurb. Even the ones that looked kind of iffy always surprised me, so I've learned to trust this author. I bought Potent Pleasures with great glee and no trepidation whatsoever - in spite of the fact that she'd just released another book at the end of March. "How does she do it?" I asked myself. Well. . . that's the thing. I don't think anyone can really maintain a standard of excellence *and* be that fast without eventually producing a stinker. And boy does this one stink.

Maybe the problem is that my expectations were too high. I've always loved the wit, strength and intelligence of James' characters, so Charlotte's doormat routine went entirely against type. I've also always liked the heroes (it's a romance novel, you're supposed to like the heroes) - and enjoyed the fact that they were well-rounded, flawed but ultimately good men. And yet Alex is an abusive tool with no redeeming qualities. (To be fair, he doesn't actually hit her, but she's not sure he won't. At different points he undermines her sense of self, shames her sexuality, isolates her, threatens to rape her, publicly humiliates her, abandons her, blames her for the consequences of his actions and threatens to take her children.) Ultimately, I find that "Someone hurt him in the past but he's really sorry and I looooove him" is a lazy excuse for anybody and truly expected better from this author.

I'm well aware that this is historical romance and not a genre known for its realism or forward thinking. However, James' books usually stand out in a genre that's often too casual when approaching infidelity, abuse, rape, and virgin worship.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Misunderstandings Between the H/h
This book had an interesting storyline with good characters. If you don't mind misunderstanding after misunderstanding after misunderstanding between the H/h then you will enjoy... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Judge Tabor
4.0 out of 5 stars Love E James
Well worth reading any of Eloisa James' books - entertaining and enjoyable from start to finish.
If you haven't read her give her a go.
Published 19 months ago by Lostinromance
2.0 out of 5 stars book review
Not really for me. Too heavey. Like my Historical novels to have lots of humour. This did not
Published on 25 Dec 2009 by C. Quirk
2.0 out of 5 stars a disappointing read
I haven't read any other books by Eloisa James, so I don't know if this book is typical, but I found Alex unlikeable and Charlotte unconvincing. Maybe her other books are better. Read more
Published on 14 Oct 2003 by pfreeman
1.0 out of 5 stars Simply Silly
Like Lizzy's youngest sister in Pride & Prejudice, Potent Pleasures is simply silly. It does a disservice to the genre and the many talented Regency writers who have lovingly... Read more
Published on 30 Aug 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Potent Pleasures is a grave disappointment when compared to the well-written, historically accurate stories lovingly created by hard-working regency authors who know their stuff. Read more
Published on 30 Aug 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A great surprise!
I really fell in love with Potent Pleasures, even though I usually do not like regency as much as contempory love stories. Read more
Published on 28 Aug 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing.
I'd heard so much buzz about Potent Pleasures that I thought it must be absolutely wonderful, and the setting is one I know and enjoy. Read more
Published on 26 Aug 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful! A sparkling new voice!!
I picked up Potent Pleasures and read it in one night--I didn't put the book down for a second! How wonderful to have found such a talented new author and a book that is so... Read more
Published on 25 Aug 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare find that makes the reader laugh, cry and sigh.
Potent Pleasures by Eloisa James is one of those few books that will keep the reader up until 3:30 a.m. Read more
Published on 24 Aug 1999
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