The Harlot by Saskia Walker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Advice to all husbands whose wife's libido has gone down the drain and are experiencing a dry spell: go get this book and give it to your woman NOW.
First off, I should make clear straight away that this is not my usual genre. Or rather it is but slightly less. I do enjoy me some good steamy paranormal romance (I'm thinking Cat and Bones here) but I had some really unfortunate experience with PRN bordering on erotica (I'm thinking Beyond the Highland Misthere). This is mainly erotica with romance and a bit of paranormal added. It shouldn't be my cup of tea.
But I have to confess that this was done rather well.
I recently read a passage from Tempest Rising that summarizes the genre I am referring to and which I do not like:
"She liked a very particular kind of plot: the kind where the pirate kidnaps some virgin damsel, rapes her into loving him, and then dispatches lots of seamen while she polishes his cutlass. Or where the Highland clan leader kidnaps some virginal English Rose, rapes her into loving him, and then kills entire armies of Sassenachs while she stuffs his haggis. Or where the Native American kidnaps a virginal white settler, rapes her into loving him, and then kills a bunch of colonists while she whets his tomahawk."
This is not the case, as Jessie is certainly not virginal.
The Harlot is basically an 18th century version of Pretty Woman. Jessie, known as the Harlot of Dundee, gets spotted during a catfight (imagine various anatomic parts on display here) by Gregor, a man with an agenda of revenge.
Arrested for witchcraft, Jessie gets imprisoned and is bound to be burnt at the stake. But Gregor has other plans for Jessie. He wants to recruit her and employ her fine arts to seduce his long time enemy, the one who caused his father's death and defrauded him of all his properties. Of course, the plan does not go as devised because Gregor and Jessie hopelessly fall in love with each other (and each other's crotches).
But make no mistake. Despite the Pretty Woman motif, this book is no fairy tale for teens. The sexual content abounds and is as varied as it gets: there's m/m and f/f action, all kinds of imaginable positions and some minor bondage.
While I have to confess that the sexual scenes, though... emh, interesting are not something I would read on a daily basis, in Walker's case I appreciated the fact that she kept the weird metaphors and awkward terminology to a minimum, still maintaining the scene highly flammable. If you want to know what I'm talking about you might want to check my review of Beyond the Highland Mist.
I also liked Jessie pretty much. Even though she is a total nympho and the secret dream of 99.9% of the male population on Earth, she is no damsel in distress but a determined woman set to achieve her goals and who will resort to any possible means to do it.
All in all, certainly an entertaining read, well written and less clichéd than usual.
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