While I read indie romance novels and review them each week here, I also read across traditional publisher's lists, both old and new (The Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase is in my "currently reading" e-pile).
I just finished reading Portia Da Costa's A Gentlewoman's Ravishment, a Harlequin "Spice Briefs" title, and I cannot get the novella out of my head. Set in Victorian England, the book is part of Da Costa's Ladies' Sewing Circle series. The Ladies' Sewing Circle involves a group of refined Victorian-era women who have some revealing chats about sex, intimacy, and the steamier side of life. We didn't invent sex in the 1950s, after all.
Reasonably priced at $2.39 on Kindle, this book, somewhere between a short story and a novella, describes Mrs. Prudence Enderby's sexual fantasy of being abducted and ravished -- and her shock when it comes true!
I can't give away more without spoiling, but suffice to say that Da Costa has mastered the art of writing well, incorporating good historical cadence and tone in the dialogue without overwriting (or overwroughting), and she gets the pacing, periodization and details right. I had to look up numerous words for, uh, devices...well, I won't spoil the plot.
This is a story I will read again and again. Readers might find it, well, multiply engaging (as did Mrs. Enderby). It's a perfect short that makes me want to go out and buy all of Da Costa's backlist, and made me search out her website. Fortunately, she has quite a list of forthcoming titles with Harlequin as well, making Da Costa an author to follow.
Buy A Gentlewoman's Ravishment on Kindle now.