Thursday, April 19, 2012

In the Flesh by Portia Da Costa

In the Flesh (The Ladies' Sewing Circle, #5)
Society already believes she's a scarlet woman.

Why not become one?

Posing nude to appease her now ex-fiancĂ© perhaps wasn’t the most prudent idea Beatrice Weatherly has ever had. With the photographs scrutinized up and down the ton and her brother running them into debt, Beatrice’s hopes of making a respectable marriage are dashed.

After one glance at Beatrice’s infamous racy cabinet cards, wealthy, powerful Edward Ellsworth Richie is soon obsessed with Beatrice’s voluptuous figure. His indecent proposal—one month of hedonistic servitude in exchange for enough money to pay her brother’s debts—is one she can hardly refuse.

Determined not to let the rogue best her, Beatrice sets out for the infamous House of Madame Chamfleur to learn how to appease Edward’s well-known appetite. Soon the couple is playing out exquisite fantasies…and feeling emotion that goes deeper than flesh. But Edward harbors a shocking secret, and Beatrice must decide if she’s prepared to give up everything for a man who can offer her nothing, but who means everything.

Okay, I thought I would like this book more but it fell flat for me.
The plot involves a woman, Beatrice, whose reputation has been ruined by her nude pictures-which she was tricked into posing for. Edward Edmund Richie saw the pictures and was overtaken with a need to hook up with her. They strike a deal: Beatrice will offer her "services" for a month in exchange for her brother's debts being paid off.

Let's get the bad over with. 

Richie seemed like a bit of a creeper in the beginning. Though I eventually grew fond of him, the whole situation of his obsession was a little bizarre. 

The real problem, however, was the constant sex. The character were constantly jumping onto each other. That's all well and good if done right but this amount seriously detracted from the plot. It wasn't just Beatrice and Richie. Bea's brother, Charlie, was hooking up with Richie's employee, Jaime. Yes, this is guy on guy action. I was a little unprepared for that revelation, to say the least. I don't mind guys being into each other at all, but I don't seek out the particulars. At the same time, both of them are doing Bea's lady's maid, Polly. Eventually, this escalates into a threesome. Their tri-relationship was a little bizarre for me. I'm not really into all of that. All of this constant hooking up on every other page became wearing. I lost interest after a few hot scenes and started skimming until a found part of the actual plot. Quite honestly, the first 90% of the book could be condensed into 10 pages in terms of plot. 

So what saved this from being a total tank? The last chunk of the book. The ending was when the plot finally kicked into gear and took off. Not only that, but it actually became exciting. The stakes were suddenly raised and I found myself getting in to the story. The revelations are shocking and I found a distinct parallel to Jane Eyre in terms of one aspect of the plot. I don't know if this was on purpose because it doesn't really mention it in the summary, but there was a very clear influence of Jane Eyre on the last bit. I can't say why without giving away the best surprise, so I'll leave you to speculate on that. 

Really, the ending was so brilliant that it saved this book from becoming a one star, adding a whopping two stars. It was that good.

So, if you happen to really like a mountain load of graphic sex, I'm sure you will love In the Flesh. If you don't like it but can find the patience to bear through A LOT of it, I think you'll find the magnificent ending worth the wait.

Pulling a massive save right at the end...3/5

PS, thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for a copy!

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