Hello, Divas!Â Thanks for having me today.Â I donâ€™t usually write book reviews, but I just read Jackie Barbosaâ€™s debut novel, Behind the Red Door, and it was so wonderful that I want to tell everyone about it.
The book is made up of three novellas, each involving a house of ill repute called the Red Door.Â Before I continue, I have a few confessions to make.
1. Â I love sexy Regencies.
2.Â I adore novellas, especially when Iâ€™m busy
3.Â Iâ€™m often in the mood for erotic romance, because I really like sex scenes.Â I like early, frequent sex scenes.Â What can I say?Â Iâ€™m naughty.
Behind the Red Door was right up my alley, because it incorporated all of the above elements without skimping on quality writing or emotional impact.Â Each story was excellent, which is rare in this format, from my experience.
In the first story, the hero is a dissolute rake and secret scholar.Â The heroine is a recently jilted young lady who is also a bit of a bluestocking.Â She doesnâ€™t consider the hero a good match for marriage because of his scandalous ways.Â Although she desires him physically, sheâ€™s also intellectually infatuated with his â€œfriend,â€ the brilliant poetry translator sheâ€™s never seen.Â Oh, the calamity.
Like the next two stories, this one has familiar themes, done well.Â A unique pointâ€”the hero has had male lovers in the past.Â I find sexual fluidity in women very appealing, in men not so much.Â This is a matter of personal taste, however, and I think the author addresses the issue in a positive way.
The sex is explicit, and the hero talks dirty (mmm!), but there is a real tenderness between the characters. Â He realizes that he wants a committed relationship before she does, which is a detail I always enjoy.
The second story also worked well for me.Â A war hero with PTSD enters the Red Door with an odd requestâ€”a good nightâ€™s sleep.Â He canâ€™t stave off the nightmares when heâ€™s alone, so he hires a prostitute to lie beside him.Â She fancies him, of course.Â In the morning, she wakes him in the best possible way.Â He returns the favor, what a gent.
Again, we have steamy erotic encounters, and a marriage-minded hero who decides what he wants in record time.Â My main problem was with the heroineâ€™s profession.Â She likes sex better than scrubbing pots, and has no negative feelings about her job.Â Maybe some readers would find that refreshing, but I thought it unrealistic.Â The story took an unexpected turn in the second half, and continued to hold my interest.Â Nicely done.
The third story is the most explicit.Â I liked it the best!Â Lady Jane is in love with her betrothed, a seductive scoundrel who he sees her only as a friend.Â Desperate to win his heart, she visits the Red Door, intent on learning how to please him in the bedroom.Â Janeâ€™s unsuspecting fiancÃ© is there to relieve a hankeringâ€”for Jane.Â But he doesnâ€™t go through with it.Â Before he leaves, the madam invites him to give lessons to a disguised Jane.Â He readily accepts.Â She wonâ€™t allow him to take her virginity, so they do everything else.Â And I do mean everything!
Behind the Red Door has three very sexy, very enjoyable stories.Â If you like well-written erotic romance, I highly recommend it.
Jill Sorenson writes romantic suspense for Silhouette and Bantam Dell.Â Her latest release, Set the Dark on Fire, is in stores now.