This is the first book by Ms.Schone that I have had the sheer delight to read. It has everything that an erotic romance novel should have. I simply cannot understand all those out there that feel the need to belittle and degrade Ms.Schone's hard work by moaning about how 'disgusted' and 'dirtied' they felt while reading it. If you don't like to read about natural things like urinating, masturbating or lovemaking, why on Earth would you pick up this book in the first place???
This is SO much more than just erotica. It tells a very believable story of two sad and lonely people who both appear to the outside world to have everything. The characters are flawlessly written, both the good and the bad. The two leads are so very open and honest, something that seems somewhat lacking in this day and age.
The story goes...Elizabeth Petre, wife to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and daughter to the Prime Minister, has heard rumours that her husband of 16 years, and father to her two sons, is having an affair with an unknown mistress. Determined to win back ANY kind of romance with him, (not that there was much to begin with I might add), she visits with Ramiel Devington. A man born out of wedlock to an Arabian Sheikh and an English Countess. Scorned by society simply because he is a 'Bastard', he and his mother have a very real sense of the world around them. It's reported that he has an extensive knowledge in the art of lovemaking, and therefore, Elizabeth decides to ask him for tutorage in how to seduce her husband.
An agreement is struck by the pair that although he will teach her, there is to be absolutely no touching. This is possibly one of the most erotic things about this book. Most of it is pure discussion, (until later on of course!) The picture Ms. Schone paints of Ramiel and Elizabeth, he so well educated on the subject and she so very innocent and naive, is outstandingly done. You can almost smell the Turkish coffee and hear the logs in the fire popping as Elizabeth is slowly but surely awoken as a woman with desires and wants that she need not be ashamed of.
The story that threads it's way through, almost in the background, builds as the pages turn. It gathers momentum until you find yourself reading at 4 o'clock in the morning and STILL not wanting to put the book down! It is not a pleasant story and it is told in all it's ugliness but, I feel that only adds to the greatness of the book. It's all very nice and cosy to read a romance set in Victorian London with bustles and bonnets aplenty, but nobody until now has been brave enough to write about the REAL Victorian London. The harsh reality is here in all it's unrefined glory.
There are many great characters in this book, all with their own history. From Elizabeth and Ramiel for obvious reasons, to his mother and his servant. All require attention as they all have something to say. The 'baddies' in this story are truly horrendous, and although you can probably work out who Edward Petre's mistress is fairly early on, you are hit later by other facts that you just couldn't possibly anticipate.
Please put aside any prudishness you may have before reading this book. If you get even slightly embarrassed or uncomfortable reading explicit sex scenes then steer well clear of this novel. If you do so however, you will be depriving yourself of an extremely well written, well thought out and most romantic book I have ever had the pleasure to read. This is definately one to keep and will not surprisingly be the most worn book in your collection.
Read this with half as much enjoyment as I have and you will be very happy!