Release Date: December 1, 2020
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: 8th Circle Press
Length: 286 pages
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Lord Arthur Godwick is the responsible member of his notorious family. When his younger brother gets himself into debt with Lady Regan Ferry, the newly widowed proprietress of The Pearl Hotel, Arthur makes a debauched deal. It’s for the good of his brother, for the good of his family name – or so he tells himself. It couldn’t possibly be that he enjoys the freedom he feels while being controlled by a powerful and cruel woman. Of course not.
Tiffany Reisz is undeniably a queen of erotica and has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I highly enjoyed The Red, the first book in The Godwick’s series and I was truly thrilled to have the opportunity to read The Pearl. This latest installment seemed to have all of the elements I loved about The Red with the bonus element of a dominant female. Sign me up!
Sadly, The Pearl missed the mark and is overshadowed by the previous two books in the series. All of the right ingredients are present, but the end product felt a bit flat. It could easily be read as a standalone novel, and might be more enjoyable to new readers who don’t have The Red and The Rose in mind to compare. But as someone who enjoys the series, it’s hard not to compare and see where The Pearl falls short.
The go-to reason to read The Pearl are the plentiful, and deliciously descriptive erotic scenes. Reisz’s signature style shines and she can craft a riveting erotic scene. I was particularly excited to see that the female protagonist was cast as the dominant in this book. Unfortunately, Regan does not hold her ground as a dominant and isn’t a terribly interesting character. She calls Arthur “Brat”, but it feels very much that the pot is calling the kettle black.
The Pearl is trying to do many things. It’s highlighting female artists in the erotic scenes which is the cornerstone of a Godwick story. But then there’s a thread of an Arthurian legend retelling that undercuts itself because there are so many wink wink moments extended to the reader. These feel like mismatched themes and it results in some muddy storytelling.
From a character perspective, we’re exploring Arthur’s acceptance of his submissive tendencies but also giving Regan the ability to explore her dominant side for the first time. Arthur’s story is far more compelling and I wish we would have had more time to focus on him and Regan would have been a powerful and steady, sensual force.
It feels a bit like Reisz was chasing her good ideas in circles. The ideas are still good and there are some fun scenes. Yes, pearls are used in expected and unexpected ways.
There’s plenty to enjoy from the read, but it’s not a book that will stick with me for the long run.
I received a complimentary digital ARC of this book from 8th Circle Press and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.