Potent Pleasures (Pleasures Trilogy) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jun 2000
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"James weaves a web of scandals and surprises, forcing the reader into a delicious surrender."
"Unexpected twists...surprises all around."
"A fine debut...brings to mind the best of Amanda Quick and Judith McNaught."
The first book in the Pleasures Trilogy --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the first romance novel I had to give up on for moral reasons. No, not in the interesting way, in a way that felt like it was setting feminism back 200 years. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
SPOILERS THROUGHOUT THIS REVIEW
Not a nice book - hero seduces 17 year-old heroine, takes her virginity, then disappears. Read more
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 morePublished on 22 July 2014 by Judge Tabor
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.
Not really for me. Too heavey. Like my Historical novels to have lots of humour. This did notPublished on 25 Dec. 2009 by C. Quirk
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 morePublished on 14 Oct. 2003 by pfreeman
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 morePublished on 30 Aug. 1999
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 morePublished on 30 Aug. 1999