by Sharon Page
Lady Jane is in a bit of a bind. Having decided that she is going to investigate the disappearance of a good friend she has placed herself in the one place she didn't want to ever step foot: "The Club." Although her now dead husband forced sex onto her, he never forced her to attend his favorite sexual hangout; lucky for her, but unlucky for her friends who have had to attend with their husbands. When Del goes missing Jane suspects foul play, and as the plot thickens she realizes that Del's brother Christian may be the only person on her side. She doesn't like being ordered around by any man, especially one who is determined to show her that sex isn't all bad.
Although I like my Regency racy and don't even mind them heavy in eroticism, Sharon Page's The Club was less sexy and more disturbing of a read for me. I will start this review by stating that I am not a fan of S&M. A little forced play is all well and good, but forced sex with whips and chains just isn't my thing. All the women in this book have been, in some way, emotionally, physically, or sexually abused and while our hero and heroine learn the dark and sordid secrets of The Club, I had a real hard time even thinking about sex, let alone reading the graphic sex in the book.
Setting that aside, I didn't like much else about the novel either. Christian is a somewhat interesting character having left his sister to her husband thinking she was in "good hands" and never really checking up on her again until he gets a troubling letter from her. He has a past that haunts him, and a very bad reputation as a womanizer and sexual deviant. Since most of this is all true I had trouble liking him. Page tries to explain all the gossip away by showing it from Christian's point of view, but I still couldn't get passed how much of a jerk he was. Maybe if we didn't have so much perversion and evil going on I would have been in a better frame of mind, but with Del missing, a sex stage with BDSM, little virgin girls being raped and murdered and a weird secret society, I needed a more recalcitrant hero or a whiter knight.
As for our heroine...I just didn't like her. This has nothing to do with the author's writing either. Page wrote a solid heroine whom I believed could act just as she did - annoyingly.
The plot was too dark AND too far fetched as well. Overall I alternated between, disturbed, disgusted, and just plain bored.
Bottom Line: Not my cup of tea at all, but for people who like a darker, more twisted, Regency there might be hope for you.
“Secret S&M sex clubs and a missing Regency woman are what await you in The Club...”
February 2009, 416 pages
It is London's most secretive gentlemen's club - a place where no well-bred lady would dare to be seen. But Lady Jane Beaumont has no choice. Her friend Del has vanished, and Jane must enter into a dangerous charade to find her. Now, within the gilded walls of this erotic lair, Jane awaits the lover she has procured for the evening. But the man who enters her bedchamber is no stranger. He is Del's brother and London's most notorious rake - a man on a rescue mission of his own. Christian is intrigued by the innocent beauty who clearly does not belong in the notorious brothel. And as the two seek out the damning secrets of the club…as Christian initiates Jane into the ways of true sensual pleasure, she knows she has entered the most dangerous place of all - where the price of temptation could be her heart…