My Lady’s Pleasure
by Olivia Quincy
(Signet, $14.00, R)  ISBN 978-0451230072
Lady Georgina Vernon and Lord Jeremy Staunton are childhood friends by day, lovers by night in this erotic romance set in 1895 England.  Georgina chafes against the restrictions imposed on her by Society, and meeting Jeremy at night for bouts of wild sex allows her to indulge her curiosity with a willing partner.  Then Georgina is invited to the annual masquerade ball held at Penfield, the estate of Lord and Lady Loughlin.  Jeremy won’t be attending.  It’s at Penfield that Georgina decides to truly sow some wild oats.

Her target is Barnes, a landscape architect hired by the Loughlins. If Georgina wishes to indulge in a harmless, discreet affair, who could object? Who indeed.  When they are discovered, someone begins threatening Georgina, and Barnes isn’t too happy with Georgina’s careless attitude, either. He accuses her of trifling with his emotions simply to satisfy her sexual lusts, a valid point.

Meanwhile, Lord and Lady Loughlin are having troubles of their own, and Lord Loughlin is satisfying his desire for domination with one of the maids.  Miss Niven, a proper sort of lady, and Lady Loughlin become Georgina’s confidantes as she tries to figure out what to do with her life.  Freddy Loughlin, the son, is carrying on with another maid, and the guests play Musical Beds.  Sex scenes abound, culminating at the masquerade ball where Georgina’s pursuer is revealed.

Georgina is drawn with a bit more depth than one might expect to find.  She starts out as a fairly thoughtless young woman, indulging in more-or-less casual sex with a safe friend.  As the story progresses, she matures a bit, starting to understand that her actions do impact others in ways she hasn’t considered before.  This increasing awareness eventually brings her thoughts back to Jeremy, as she ponders his role in her future.

Frankly, this book would have been stronger if the other sexual subplots had been left out and the focus had stayed on Georgina and her growth as a person.  All the additional sex fills the pages, but it doesn’t add much to the story. I couldn’t have cared less about Freddy boinking the milkmaid, for example.  And nobody, nobody, gives a single thought to possible pregnancy or disease.  Guess that’s the “fiction” in “erotic fiction.”

That said, My Lady’s Pleasure is a more thoughtful story than most of the erotic romances I’ve read.  Georgina’s journey will entertain readers; she’s a likable young woman who gets the happy ending she deserves, with a lot of hot experimentation along the way. 

--Cathy Sova

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