The author of Her Ladyship's Companion once again pushes the erotic boundaries of Regency romance.Publisher: Berkley Trade
Destitute after her father's death, Rose Marlowe has debts to settle and a younger brother to support. But she also possesses a matchless beauty-one that could command quite a price. Now, every month, Rose spends one week at a decadent London brothel, where she's become a sought-after prize.
Then one night she meets a wealthy merchant. Handsome, kind and compassionate, with a lonely soul that matches her own, James Archer is not her typical client. Falling in love with a client, never mind a married one, is unthinkable. Yet Rose can't help but lose herself as one night becomes seven-and seven nights leads to a chance at forever.
Genre: Sensual Historical Romance
Single Title/Series: SEVEN NIGHTS TO FOREVER is a stand alone novel.
Cover Thoughts: Absolutely stunning. Love it!
Why I Read It: I received an Advanced Review Copy from the author.
As a woman fully reconciled with her choices in life, Rose Marlowe has managed through sheer desperation to become the most beautiful and the most expensive courtesan at Rubicon's upscale brothel in London. Born a gentle country miss, obviously this direction she's taken with her life is not her fairytale dream coming true but rather a nasty turn of fate that's made selling her body for a man's pleasure an absolute necessity. Now, for one week each month Rose makes the trip from her wilting country estate to Rubicon's in dreaded anticipation of her body hosting a seemingly endless revolving door of flesh hungry men. But on the first eve of yet another week of torture, Rose meets James and her life is forever altered.
Like Rose, James Archer has made necessary choices in life. Willingly condemning himself to a marriage with a woman that despises him, all in the hopes of granting his younger sister's wish of making a splendid match with a titled gentlemen, James has subjected himself to a cold and endless isolation. When three years elapse without one single gentle touch from a woman, James is at his breaking point. Not a man who condones infidelity, James has even more reason not to trespass upon adultery. His despicable wife has threatened to rescind her sponsorship of James's sister if she's humiliated by an affair. This of course does not apply to her infidelities which rage across the ton like a burning inferno. But with the cloying loneliness overwhelming each and every thought, James gives in to his baser needs and knocks on Rubicon's door.
As a courtesan accustomed to men taking what they want with few incomplete pleasures tossed her way in the process, Rose is shocked and confused by her initial interactions with James. He talks with her, asks for her permission at every turn and gifts her with an endless and unrestrained pleasure that opens Rose to vulnerabilities that she'd rather keep under lock and key. Most of all, it's James's heartbreaking need for such simple pleasures as a kind word or touch, moments that lighten a heart that's obviously hurting. Burdened with her own pain and isolation, Rose goes against her better judgement and agrees to spend seven days on holiday with James at his country estate. Justifying her decision with the thick grip of pound notes James grants her, Rose steals her heart and musters her strength against the emotional onslaught that James's continuous presence is sure to bring.
For the first time in three long years, James is able to revel in seven days of utter selfishness - a mere moment's respite in the scheme of things but a break nonetheless. Yet as each night slips into morning, dawning a new day as well as edging both him and Rose closer to their final moments together, a tumultuous desperation unfurls within him unleashing jealousy and anger. Endless days of isolation awaits him with the termination of their holiday. Stuck in a position that leaves him with zero choices, James tries to resign himself to the remainder of his life with his hateful wife when an idea takes root that could potentially make the coming years bearable. James offers Rose the one position that he think she'll never refuse but it turns out to be the one position she's deeply determined to never fulfill. Both shattered and broken hearted, James and Rose resume their respective lives but when each find that they can no longer tolerate their previous lots in life, Happily Ever After comes sweeping in to the rescue.
Rose is a captivating heroine as she's a woman with renowned erotic experience and a distinct worldliness but she's also surrounded by an intriguing and fascinating innocence that makes her incredibly endearing. Instantly the reader sympathizes with Rose while building a strong desire to protect her not only from her own self-flagellation but from the cruelty of her forced existence.
James is both a dream come true and a nightmare for Rose. For one, he's the first man to treat her like a true gentleman. He proves time and again that a gentleman isn't just a convenient title for when the occasion warrants it but that he's a gentleman in every sense of the term both in act and in heart. But James also represents the opportunity she's always coveted yet resigned herself to never have, a life where love and family is attainable. But as the saying goes: better to love once than never love at all. And in Rose's case, to love once - even if only for seven days - is worth so much more than a lifetime of enduring without ever having tasted, felt or lived in its embrace.
Deeply complex, James exudes both alpha and beta hero qualities. A man who asks rather than takes, James is not one to be direct unless his emotions drive him completely to the very edge and he's left with no choice but to leap. Rose drives him to that edge time and again as she inflates his heart and soul with untold passion and a boundless love. Instead of an alpha's feeling of entitlement, James is more concerned with worthiness but when he discovers what it will take to make Rose happy, he embraces a very alpha like unstoppable drive as he sets off demolishing every obstacle in his pursuit.
In every essence of the description, James is simply a good man. He comes to Rose out of sheer desperation of a basic human need. Deprived of any type of kindness, he's a man with a wilted soul and who could possibly blame him for drinking from the fount of Rose's heart once he's had a taste.
My final Thoughts:
SEVEN NIGHTS TO FOREVER is pure romance from beginning to end. Focused entirely on the main hero and heroine, this is a character driven plot that revolves completely around two broken hearts.
What particularly struck a chord in this reader is the mirror like qualities of James and Rose. Both are selfless givers that willingly walk the paths they've found themselves on in an effort to protect another. Both are completely and utterly resigned to the choices they've made and the path in life they walk because for them, nothing can change that which has brought them to this moment and nothing will change in the future for the necessity that drives them is forever constant. However, the beauty is that no matter how dire the paths may be, these very same paths that James and Rose damn have subsequently led them to one another. And while they each would certainly love to eradicate the past that has led them to the present, they wouldn't change it. It makes them who they are at their core and perhaps without it, they wouldn't have found the deep love they feel now.
There is only one aspect of this beautiful novel that kept it from reaching an A rating and that's Rose. Her discomfort at the beginning of her and James's holiday, while it can be rationalized as to why, I felt frustration at her behavior which in turn led to frustration with James for not addressing it the way I would have liked him to. Rose's discomfort felt a bit contrived to provide momentum for the plot and slightly out of character and again while one can rationalize Rose's behavior, I would have preferred to do without the frustration.
For reader's looking for a sensual escape that's unencumbered by dastardly subplots, scene-stealing secondary characters, and action scene filler, feel free to submerge yourself into the romantically charged SEVEN NIGHTS TO FOREVER. Enjoy!
Realms On Our Bookshelves: 3.5/5
Fiction Vixen Book Reviews: 4/5