Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: The Pleasures of Autumn by Evie Hunter

Erotica is not my thing. You can be forgiven for not believing me since every now and again there is a review for an erotic romance on here. But seriously, it's really not my thing. And unfortunately Evie Hunter's latest, The Pleasures of Autumn, didn't convert me either.

Lottie LeBlanc is a wildly popular and successful burlesque dancer. But she's not a real person. Sinead Sullivan, the woman behind the teasing, sensual fantasy performer, Lottie, is ready to hang up her corset, drain her bubble bath, and titillate audiences of men for the last time. She's been working as Lottie in order to finance her degree but now she's finished with school and ready to start her new position as curator at the prestigious Rheinbeck Museum in Geneva. Almost as soon as the prim and staid Sinead, opposite in every way from her stage persona, takes her job though, she is accused of stealing the Fire of Autumn, an enormous ruby on loan to the museum. Worse yet, there's footage of Sinead on the security camera taking the priceless jewel. And yet, even in the face of almost incontrovertible evidence, she still maintains her innocence.

Niall Moore is a security expert and investigator. He's large, intimidating, and good looking. He's been hired both by the Rheinbeck Museum to retrieve the stolen jewel from Sinead and by Sinead's very wealthy uncle to keep an eye on her so he doesn't lose the money he paid for her bail. Although the jobs might seem to be incompatible, Niall rationalizes that they are actually complimentary and he moves into Sinead's apartment with her in order to try and suss out the location of the jewel and to make sure she doesn't do the expected runner, costing her uncle an awful lot of money. In addition to his job, Niall is also a frequent admirer of Lottie LeBlanc's show and, coincidentally, the starring act in Sinead's fantasies.

The two have only met briefly before and yet somehow they end up in bed together almost immediately in an explosively sexual morning awakening. Thanks to their intimacy, Niall is convinced that the stunning Sinead, who camouflages her beauty easily under a frumpy ensemble, is actually innocent, until he sees the damning security footage. When he tells Sinead what he's viewed, she pieces this information together with the fact that people keep asking her about when her next show is, despite the fact that no one has ever connected Sinead with Lottie aside from the very few people she's entrusted with her secret, and realizes with a shock that her identical twin sister, whose existence no one else in the family seems to believe, is the one who has committed the crime. She's determined to find Roisin and prove her own innocence. She manages to give Niall a slip and heads to Paris, where she discovers that Roisin is apparently very well know as a Dom in the hardcore BDSM world. It doesn't take Niall long to catch up to Sinead and together they plunge not only into Roisin's world but into their own sensual, charged, sexual relationship as they search for the mythical sister and the jewel before time runs out on Sinead.

The situations and sexual chemistry in this novel are completely over the top. The idea that identical twin sisters who have lost touch after the death of their mother, one sister disappearing with their father while the other is brought into and raised by her wealthy maternal family, both of them finding their way into the adult entertainment industry, both becoming very successful, and yet never coming across each other or having people mention that there are two redheaded spit-fires working in the industry is a bit far-fetched. Even more far-fetched is the idea that Sinead, who has previously found it hard, if not impossible, to have an orgasm can magically and immediately have multiple orgasms with Niall. Both main characters' back stories are vitally important to the tale but they are dealt with scantily in the novel. Niall is presented as a top notch investigator who has all sorts of resources at his fingertips and yet he doesn't connect Sinead and Lottie, nor can he or his connections find anything on the existence of Roisin, making it a little difficult to believe that he's as good at his job as the reader is supposed to accept. And when he does find out about the Sinead/Lottie connection, he is so horrified he can't even be around her and yet later, he is completely sanguine about Sinead bringing Lottie out of retirement for a brief time. It just doesn't add up.  It was hard to suspend belief over and over for the most unlikely situations and out of character actions. Add in that personally BDSM is not my schtick so those scenes didn't appeal to me and it's easy to see why this didn't work for me. For the right audience, this might be a great, if still outlandish romp but I'm just not that audience.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book for review.

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