Holy smokes, this book had some hot parts. Yes, that pun was completely intended. ;D
My GR friend Tammy sent this book to me (thanks, Tam!) because she thought smutty old me would like it. And boy oh boy, does she have my number.
Where to begin? For anyone who hasn't read the back of the book, it's written by two women -- one a contemporary romance author and one a historical romance author. I'd never read either before. I could tell there were 2 different people writing, and although I definitely preferred the historical writing to the contemporary the switch didn't seem to be jarring. (Except for the love scenes -- the differences there jumped right out at me.)
It's the story of a mousy, repressed museum curator (and one of the biggest romance stereotypes I've come across) named Piper, and her discovery of the secret diaries of Ophelia Harrington while preparing an exhibit. The book flips between the past and the present -- we get to read a book about Ophelia inside of a book about Piper.
After Piper reads the diaries, she enlists her best friend to help her reinvent herself. She gets a makeover then re-enacts the diaries -- having a virtual fuckfest with a seriously hot Irishman on loan to the museum for six months. (They have a history, of course, he was her prof or something and she got drunk, peeled off her clothes for him and he bailed, which then completely retarded her social/sexual progress.)
You might be able to tell, the contemporary part of the story was almost a complete fail for me. While the story itself was novel, the execution was like a dirty Harlequin romance. It had a promising start but it didn't hold me. I didn't buy the love story, the sex scenes were tawdry compared to the historical and I thought the "makeover" was predictable.HOWEVER....
The historical section of the book was AMAZING. Oh, how I liked it. I liked the tone, the writing, the story, the depth of the characters and I especially liked the steamy parts (which was most of the first half of the book). WOW. The story was fascinating, and I found myself skimming through the modern day part of the story to get back to the story of Ophelia and "Sir". I tend to like courtesan stories anyway, so this one was right up my alley. I would have loved to read an entire book about Ophelia.
I don't know that I'll read any of Susan Donovan's work, as the contemporary part of the story didn't thrill me, but I'm thinking I should be picking up a Celeste Bradley. And soon.