Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: Everything Forbidden (Albright Sisters #1) by Jess Michaels

Everything Forbidden (Albright Sisters #1)
by Jess Michaels
Published October 30th 2007 by Avon Red
HarperCollins Publishers

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


For summers Miranda Albright has watched—aghast, yet shamefully titillated—as her wicked neighbor Ethan Hamon, the notorious Earl of Rothschild, "entertained" a succession of lovers on the grounds of his estate. Now that her father has passed on, leaving behind a mountain of debt, Miranda must do the unthinkable. For Ethan has promised to sponsor her younger sisters, financially and socially, at a scandalously dear price: Miranda must offer herself to him completely for three full months, with no remorse and no restraints.

Ninety days and nights of unbridled sensuality await her in the arms of a rogue who views her submission as no more than a grand erotic game. But neither Miranda nor Ethan realize that fire blazes behind her innocent blush. And once her passion is unleashed by his lips and his touch, it is the student who will school the teacher in the ways of forbidden pleasure ... and love.

This particular novel read like the usual Barbara Cartland plot: worldly older rake meets young chit out of schoolroom and unexpectedly falls hopelessly in love. The difference is the addition of the super steamy erotic scenes that lead to the said helpless-in-love hero.

I don't say that as a bad thing since I have an almost complete paperback library of Barbara Cartland and still go back to it from time to time if there's nothing I find good out there to read. She's the staff of life for my historical romance love affair.

Jess Michaels however has managed to take the usual plot and make a beautiful story out of it simply with her characters. Miranda is unusual all by herself. Ms Cartland would have the young heroine in the same straits but with a nanny or butler managing everything while she suffers through it. Miranda took the reins herself, tackling insurmountable problems (and an insufferable mother) in a manner most modern heroines would find hard to emulate. She must go it alone, with even the sisters who should be supporting her all deserting her in the end.

Ethan is also the quintessential handsome rake who causes women's underwear to drop when he strolls by. There is no doubt he takes advantage of that BUT he shows a distinct emptiness in his actions. He's not just a one-dimensional character who only thinks with his smaller head but actually has a heart - even if he does act like a cad toward Miranda throughout most of the book.

While I do think that the story ends rather abruptly, I understand that it's a hook that makes you go for the next installment. I just wish that Ethan didn't have to be so dramatic about it. That's the only part that I found hard to accept since he was bred with that stiff upper lip. Maybe a kidnapping to Gretna Green would have been more in character? Just saying.

All in all, I loved this book. It's hot enough in places to warrant a cold shower but none of the erotica were just dropped in to increase the word count. They were part and parcel of the whole story and helped with the character development and flow. Nicely done!

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