Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Pleasure Garden Review

The Pleasure Garden 
by Amanda McIntyre, Charlotte Featherstone,
and Kristi Astor

Description from Amazon:
Many lifetimes ago, the beautiful May Queen exquisite seduction not with her husband, but in the arms of the Green Man—the passionate ruler of all that is warm and light. And thus began the earth's most torrid love triangle.

Now three women of diverse eras are drawn to the mystical site of the Celtic queen's tragic demise. Their fiery obsession ignited by Beltane Magic is barely perceived, but erotically felt. With each kiss, their passion would break an ancient curse— and reunite a love most profound….

Driven by an unseen force, a Celtic maiden seduces the one man forsaken by law and principle—an Englishman soon for the priesthood….
The future lady of Fairfax House yearns for illicit nights and perfect love in the arms of her betrothed's cousin….
She inherits a decrepit house and garden that awakens in her a raw sexual awareness, the likes of which she can abide alone no longer….

My Review

I hadn't made an erotica review yet or read any works from the authors of this collaboration -- even though they're quite popular. I thought I should give it a go and requested this read from netgalley; kind of killing two birds with one stone. This read is super hot and have twisted plots of forbidden romance. Very naughty.

Sacred Vows by Amanda McIntyre

This is the story of Cara and her instant attraction to the Englishman Edmund, who is soon to join the priesthood by prearranged plans of his family. Other circumstances come into play besides the law forbidding their union that makes this story so exciting and their romance even more dangerous. I do not want to spoil any of these stories, so you will have to read for yourself! This has some very steamy scenes and I had to fan myself a few times due to the overwhelming seduction. The romance was a bit believable, too. This one would have to be my second favorite of the three, though.

Perfumed Pleasures by Charlotte Featherstone

Catherine's story is of her desire not for her wealthy betrothed but for his cousin Joscelyn who has no entitlements, or secure fortune, of his own. So this leaves her in a real bind with having to decide over her own family's future or choose over what her heart really yearns for. Though this one did do it's part for erotica -- it was bubbling, boiling, fiery HOT! in sex scenes -- it did nothing for me romantically. I just felt that the man she was yearning for wasn't so different than her fiance that she despised. But if you're just looking for the erotic scenes, this one is the best of all three in that category to turn you on.

Rites of Passion by Kristi Astor

Emmaline finds herself alone and trying to settle in her newly inherited house, with a supposedly haunted garden, and then suddenly forced to help an unexpected visitor -- and he begins to ignite a stirring in her heart as well as her yearning body. This story was the most realistic and romantic for me. I enjoyed the author's detail in description and I just felt that the characters were really in sync and meant for each other despite the obstacles and internal conflicts they had hindering them.
 I favor this story the most of the three and I'm glad it was chosen to tie the three tales to a beautiful ending. It's the most romantic and has just enough spice to it to keep it flavorable.

So all of the shorts are good if you have a heavy craving for sheer lusty passions or love at first sight stories. Either way, I'm not turned off from giving Charlotte Featherstone's Lust (The Sins and Virtues) a go because I still enjoyed her style of storytelling.

For an erotic read I definitely give this one 5 stars. The heartwarming romance was an added bonus. 

 Book Details:
ISBN: 9780373605545
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: SPICE
Publish Date: March 28th, 2011
Pages: 352
Genre: Erotica, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Point of View: Third Person
Stand Alone / Series: Stand Alone

Purchase Information: Amazon (includes free excerpt)
SPICE books website: SPICE
Author's Websites: Charlotte Featherstone, Kristi Astor, Amanda McIntyre