Home > erotica, Genre > Book Review: In the Flesh by Portia Da Costa (Series, #5)

Book Review: In the Flesh by Portia Da Costa (Series, #5)

Image of woman in corset.Summary:
Beatrice Weatherly is a virginal member of the Ladies Sewing Circle that so loves scandalous talk but now her reputation in Victorian English society has been soiled by scandalous nude photos that an ex-fiance sold on the black market.  Since she’s already considered a scarlet woman, Bea decides to enter into a courtesan-style relationship with the fierce businessman and mysteriously secretive Edward Ellsworth Richie.  Meanwhile their servants and Bea’s brothers get up to their own scandalous scenarios.

Yet again I requested an ARC that was surprisingly part of a series.  Thankfully, the style of this series makes it completely possible to read them out of order with no confusion.  Each book or novella is about one member of the circle, so I was not lost at all.

Let me be crystal clear here.  I would not, by any stretch of the imagination, call this a romance.  This is erotica.  In fact, one of my GoodReads updates states that I’ve never seen this much sex in a book before, and I do read erotica from time to time.  Generally one would find this a positive in an erotica, but personally the reason I like them is that they don’t fade out of scenes that happen in real life BUT THERE IS STILL PLOT MOVING AT A GOOD RATE.  The plot here is minimal and is frequently dropped, hurried, or pushed aside in favor of yet another sex scene.  And as for the sex scenes, they could have been more redundant, what with Bea being a virgin and all, but they still kinda are super redundant.  She’s a virgin, she’s worried, will it hurt? But oh she can see his hard-on through his pants and she wants him to fuck her but no he won’t because he’s bringing her virginal self into it slowly and missionary position and oh my goodness orgasms and he won’t sleep in bed with her.  Over and over again.  Oh except she rides him once.  I don’t know about you, but there’s only so much virgin I can take in my erotica, and this crosses the line.

Meanwhile, the main plot is incredibly bare bones and rushed.  Everything happens in the span of a month from meeting to engagement.  Plus there’s the super annoying mad first wife in the attic trope of Vicorian lit.  Maybe. Mayyyybe the author meant this to be a sort of parody of Jane Eyre?  I don’t know.  But it doesn’t work really.  It’s kind of insulting, actually, especially for a book that supposedly is pro women’s rights but then we have a first wife who went mad after being basically raped by her husband but it’s not his fault because he couldn’t stop himself.


Yeah, so, there is that.  What saves this book from two stars is actually the subplot involving Bea’s brother and the male and female servant.  They end up establishing a three-way relationship that is healthy for all of them and then move to the countryside to carry it on in peace.  Now this is a fascinating little situation and leaves the door wide-open for all sorts of fun sex scenes, but we only get one with all three of them.

Le sigh.

My advice to the author would be next time to focus on the unique storyline instead of the one that’s sort of a rip-off from old Victorian lit.

And also not to make the main dude a rapist.

Overall if you’re open to lots of types of sex scenes in your erotica and have a certain affinity for Victorian clothes and virgin sex, then you’ll enjoy this read and certainly get the bang for your buck. (haha)  All others should steer clear.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

Buy It

Previous Books in Series
A Gentlewoman’s Predicament
A Gentlewoman’s Ravishment
A Gentlewoman’s Pleasure
A Gentlewoman’s Dalliance

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