I have to be honest and state that the main reason that I chose this story was because I found that the main couple was a lesbian couple. There was something interesting about the setting and the couple that had me so intrigued that I had to read. I usually do not like historical novels- most especially historical novels set anywhere near slavery or the Civil War. But while I cringed a few times and felt that some of the story took too many liberties with facts, I enjoyed the story. This is the first story that I have read by KT Grant; hopefully it will not be the last.
There were several aspects of this story that were completely incredible. First is the blasé attitude of the women to their sexuality. The author treated the woman’s open sexuality like any erotica novel set in the present. It felt out of place and downright silly in some parts. While I like revisionist history I still and usually hate the melodrama behind some coming out stories I felt that there should have been some discreteness to the couple. The divorce and many other aspects of this book felt too modern in regards. In a few scenes it was as if it was an open secret that everyone just accepted the fact the Rose loved to be with women. The story completely forgets that it is not set in the 21st century or even that it is set in a southern town in the 19th century. There is no way that these people would be able to get away with what they do in this book. It took the easy way out when it would have added to the story if there was real drama going on. Everyone ending up being friends and the villain being carted off like a petulant child that needs a nap was a little over the top.
Having said all that: Lily and Rose is an amazing couple. I loved their build up from awkward acquaintances to solid couple was wonderful to read. Their sex scenes were scorching hot, but not gratuitous. Their personalities suited one another very well and I rooted for them right up until the end. I will be honest and say that in the beginning I thought that Lily was going to be a spoiled, maudlin, and vapid Sothern belle; she can occasionally be bratty, but there is an underlying strength behind her that overall made her an interesting character. Rose on the other hand was awesome from beginning to end. She was another strong female that took no crap from anyone and still was a lady. They balanced each other very well and were a very believable couple. I would have loved it more (and found it less distracting) if it was all set in the present.
I don’t know how to rate this book. As a historical novel it takes entirely too many liberties with time. As an erotica novel it works very well. The story has a lot of potential but I do not believe that it went far enough in terms of character development and structure. If you are looking for a quick fun read then please read this book. If you are looking for something that is a little more traditional in terms of its time period, still read it but with a HUGE grain of salt.
Lily was the belle of Charleston, South Carolina high society until her husband, Beau, walked out on her after believing she'd been unfaithful to him. Lily has always been devoted to Beau, but she does have a secret.
Charleston's most popular brothel madam, Mrs. Rose Ware, lives her life on her own terms and answers to no one. Rose takes Lily in until she can get back on her feet- Rose has always been attracted to the spirited and beautiful Lily, but kept her feelings to herself. Now that Beau's out of the picture, she might have a chance to seduce the heartbroken Lily.
Lily wants revenge against Beau, and Rose is more than willing to help her. Soon both women come up with a plan, one that will scandalize Charleston, and expose a forbidden passion between a brothel madam and a genteel Southern lady.