4 stars out of 5
I enjoy Rose Lerner’s writing; she has a unique voice that draws you into another world and strong female leads. Her Sweet Disorder title is also recommended by myself. I haven’t read it (yet!) but her debut In For A Penny gets good reviews.
Buy at Amazon (Universal) [ebook currently on sale for 49p! GET IT!]
Teen+ because of sexual content
Our hero Solomon – a tailor, nay a veritable clothing engineer – must recover lost family earrings on behalf of his sister. He enlists Serena in his aid; she was formerly a well known sex worker and is currently a partner and manager of a respectable inn but thoroughly acquainted with the underworld. Meanwhile unexpectedly Serena’s current livelihood is in danger.
Lerner’s story draws you in and is such a page turner; there is a background of intrigue and suspense which is retired at the right time for emotional closure. I enjoyed the coverage of the epsionage in the book; romance novels set from this period don’t really feature this.
I did feel at the end that issues with Serena’s father weren’t really resolved to any satisfaction. He was a total duke of douchenozzlery.
Our hero and heroine are very richly drawn characters. They have great emotional depths to them and a believable chemistry. The emotional drama between them is sincere and honest. The way their relationship develops feels natural.
I found Solomon particularly fun and fascinating; a real departure from the typical alpha romance hero.
I enjoyed the secondary characters; Lerner plays with prejudices and first impressions giving you more and more layers to them. She has a skillful way of sketching out unique characters rapidly.
The themes and messages:
I feel the story is an excellent expression of the struggles within kyriarchy. Kyriarchy is a term that expresses the intersectionality between various factors that oppress and restrict the individual e.g. gender, race, class.
For me, the subjects that had the most weighty treatment within this was the issues of gender. The characters struggled with sex, gender, gender expression and sexual orientation. [definitions of these terms]
[Solomon]”Dueling is an outmoded and barbaric custom, fit only for killing off the stupider members of a thoroughly useless class.”