I haven't read very much of Ms. Devine's work, but if it's all like this, no thank you. The reason I read this book was because of the favorable reviews, so I'm here so others don't waste the time and money.
The 2 biggest problems with this book were: 1--her excessive use of italics. Yes, I understand that it was to denote the central characters thoughts, but I felt it was ineffective because 1-half the novel was italicized, 2-the characters thoughts were also expressed in unitalicized sections, and 3-often they were very fragmented, trailing off (...) without finishing the thought/sentence. 2--genre confusion. Devine starts out with a sexy idea, a woman accidentally stumbles onto a sensual realm she didn't know existed and goes on to discover new sides of her own sexuality. But from that point on, things go south. This novel would have been better served written as erotica because the constraints of the romance genre, e.g. emotional intimacy, only having one sexual partner, etc. limit what could have been a good piece of erotica. The lack of emotional connection between the main characters and scant plot in this book cannot be overcome by sheer number of sexual encounters. If you want explicit sex scenes with good plot, try Susan Johnson, Virginia Henley, and the earlier work of Bertrice Small, but stay away from this book.
The plot is sketchy and convoluted at best. bizarre. And what is with the overuse of the word "ramrod." That's not sexy, not a turn-on. Overall, "Secret Pleasures" is an unsuccessful attempt to combine the erotica and romance genres.