Sunday, June 2, 2013

Review: A Lady Never Tells by Marie-Elise Bassett

A Lady Never Tells (Songs of Sappho #7)

By Marie-Elise Bassett

December 13, 2012

Historical/ f/f / erotic romance

48 pgs, 13.6 K words

Musa Publishing

When Avis Lambert is robbed--then kissed!--by a notorious Scottish highwayman, she learns several important lessons.

First: her fiancé, Edmund, is a sniveling coward.

Second: the highwayman is neither Scottish nor a man.

Avis recognizes quickly that Edmund's lovely cousin, Olivia, is posing as the dashing outlaw...and for very good reason. Desperate to replenish the family coffers, now empty because of Edmund’s thievery, Olivia has turned to a life of crime herself. Can Avis convince Olivia to let her help? And above all--will Avis receive more of those devastating kisses?

This is the 7th book I’ve read by Marie-Elise Bassett. I love her style of writing and the fact that her books are quick, light, erotic reads. This one, although not my favorite, is still worth reading.

I enjoy stories in which women dress as men. How Avis and Olivia meet is a great setup so I was hoping for one of the author’s usual fun reads.

Avis is about to be married to Edmund, an agreement between her father and him. On the way to Edmund’s estate, they are robbed by a bandit they call the Laddie lay. In the process, the robber kisses Avis then dashes away into the night. Edmund seems to know all about this robber and thinks it’s his charge Harry, Olivia’s younger brother.

Even though Olivia keeps denying that she is the one who robbed Edmund and kissed Avis in the process, Avis doesn’t let up in letting Olivia know that she knows it was her and that she’s interested in connecting with her in a closer way. She has no attachment to Edmund and knows that Edmond is only marrying her to get legitimacy in order to take over Olivia’s and Harry’s inheritance

Of course, after getting to know each other better and Olivia seeing that Avis is an ally, both women sort of find themselves attracted to each other and a sexual relationship starts.

This is where the story, while sexually erotic in its own way, started to lose me. There’s really not that much history on why these two women would be attracted to women. Not that that usually needs an explanation, however, there is almost no background info on Avis other than she was coerced into Marrying Edmund by her father. Not really much of a hint on why she so easily gets sexual with Olivia without questioning it.

Olivia is shown to have an independent spirit but there’s nothing about why she would be open to a sexual relationship with Avis other than, again, they are allies. Well and she’s been reading some Sapphic books in the family library. This story is more like a snapshot of this moment in time for them without a past.

On the one hand, I kind of like that there is no drama about two women getting romantic or sexual with each other. It’s nice that it just is. On the other hand, neither women question it really, which seems a bit odd for the time period and how quickly they get together.

While this story is par for Marie-Elise Bassett’s style and form, I felt this, out of all her stories, was lacking in detail and development that would have made this book pop for me. This is not bad, but the story started out so interestingly that I was hoping for a bit more build-up in energy and emotion between the women.

Also, how the book ended was just a bit too pat and easy for me.

That said, I will still be all over Marie-Elise Bassett’s next book. They are like yummy candy to me.

Heat level: 2-3- sensual but not overly graphic sexual scenarios

Grade – Was Ok to Liked it .

 Reviewed on Goodreads Nov 2012-- but decided to include here as well

Sophie's Lament (Songs of Sappho #6)
by Marie-Elise Bassett
Nov 9, 2012
Historical/ f/f/ Erotic romance
12.2K words
Publisher: Musa Publishing

Can the daughters of a vicar and an earl find love despite their parents' meddling?

Everyone is unhappy with Sophie, but it really isn’t her fault. Her father can’t understand why she wants to reject the brilliant match he’s arranged with the squire’s son. Her sister thinks Sophie has stolen her beau. Her fiancé thinks Sophie has schemed behind his back. And Sophie’s true love, Juliet, thinks Sophie has been dishonest about her intentions. Can Sophie untangle this lovers’ knot before she loses Juliet? Perhaps—but only if her family stops meddling.

 I read the first 5 books of this author at the beginning of the year and really fell in love with the writer's style, the flow of the stories and simply how entertaining they were. I've been waiting for the next books for a long time and scooped this one up as soon as it came out.

Like the other stories, this one features a sweet romantic love story between two women who are caught up in a time when their choices are not their own.

Sophie is a rather strong willed girl and is not happy about being betrothed to the brother of her best friend whom she grew up with and insists that she will not marry him even though no one will listen to her.

Juliet was sent away for a while to Bath for schooling and then to London. When she comes back, she and Sophie click again even though their lives have taken different paths.

Sophie starts noticing that her feelings for her friend are becoming something more than just a friendship. Juliet secretly shares her feeling and how they go about expressing this new type of love is sweet and tentative-- a trademark of Marie-Elise Basset's style of romance development.

Of course things can't go that smoothly and Juliet becomes distrustful when Sophie's father announces Sophie is to marry Juliet's brother. 

Both girls and Juliet's aunt, who gets the type of relationship the girls have, do some conniving to convince Juliet's father that the marriage is all wrong so the Sophie's father will have to let it go as well.

Naturally, things all work out for everyone involved without too much ado.

Like the other books this one is fairly short and without too much depth in plot or characterization. However it's a good read like the others and a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Heat level: 3- sex scenes sensually but not too graphically written.

Grade: Really Liked it

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