Rant, Review

Review: Night’s Illusion by Amanda Ashley (2021)

Children of the Night, Book #8

Heat Factor: Purple prose fading to black

Character Chemistry: Well… 

Plot: There’s a meddling vampire family and a vengeful sire and just a lot

Overall: It’s not tightly written

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Lord I Left by Scarlett Peckham (2020)

The Secrets of Charlotte Street, Book #3

Heat Factor: I’m way too prim and proper to tell you how smouldering this gets, but it burns

Character Chemistry: I have never been so distraught thinking that two people were doomed to be apart in my entire life, honest truth

Plot: Alice learns that her mother is at death’s door and accepts Lord Lieutenant Henry Evesham’s invitation to deliver her home as quickly as possible despite his role as an evangelical reformer tasked with investigating the sex worker trade and recommending changes. This is nuts, because Alice is currently a housekeeper in training to be a whipping girl at a house of pleasure in London…

Overall: Look, take everything you thought you knew about sex work and faith and romance novels about the above and just toss it out the window because this book is about to shake you to your BOOTS, I’m telling you

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Review: Hot Rabbi by Aviva Blakeman (2020)

Heat Factor: They have sex (a good bit of it), but it was more focused on the emotional connection and the kissing and touching than on the arousal and orgasms

Character Chemistry: Just because there’s an instant connection and attraction doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing from there!

Plot: Shoshana has a lot of emotional baggage associated with the synagogue. New hot rabbi single parent David would like to date her. 

Overall: This story has a lot of good energy. Definitely a good one for people who like their protagonists to be checked in and thoughtful.

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Smut Reporting

Impotent Ministers

Back in the spring of 2013, when I was still a starry-eyed graduate student who thought I’d be a superstar academic (ie, before I discovered that I loved school but didn’t love research), I presented a conference paper called “Impotent Ministers and Harem Girls: Reading Religion in Romance Novels.” 

My original plan was to dust it off and throw it up on the blog, since we’re talking about Men of God this week, but, uh, there are a couple of bits in there that I find cringeworthy, now that I’m fully immersed in Romancelandia. Like, I was convinced that my very unscientific survey of traditionally published regency romances in the past five years was indicative of trends across the genre as a whole, which really points to how myopic I was about what the world of romance entailed. I also referenced Fabio. [cue the pitchforks]

I also decided that, for the purposes of the blogosphere, I’d stick with a narrow focus, and just talk about impotent ministers here. Maybe I’ll bring out the harem girls another time. 

So here’s a marginally revised excerpt from that conference talk. Even with the caveat that my data is outdated and my sample unrepresentative, I still think there’s some interesting stuff going on with the way romance novels depict religion (religious people, actions, and spaces). Note that most of the characters I discuss are secondary characters; I’m, for the most part, not analyzing the heroes, but the characters around the margins. 

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Wicked Lady by Mary Lancaster (2017)

Blackhaven Brides, Book #2

Heat Factor: I mean, he’s in the clergy and she’s a blacklisted widow who refuses to publicly grieve, so the “but we mustn’t” factor is steamy from the get go, and it just takes off from there

Character Chemistry: The witty banter between these two is just *chef’s kiss*

Plot: Lady Katherine has been widowed and although reality is far from the story being spread throughout the ton, she’s been shunned to the seaside village of Blackhaven all the same. Grant, the town’s substitute curate, is just about everything you could hope for in both a curate and a future hubs, but he’s also got some secrets about his own past cooking up some trouble…

Overall: I LOVED this book—it’s deep and messy and has that element of forbidden foxiness (but not in a squicky way). All around a great read.

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