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REVIEW: CB-Learning Charity by Summer Devon

Dear. Mrs. Devon,

Learning CharityShort stories are an art form in themselves. Some authors can pull them off and some just flounder around leaving the reader to wish for what might have been . Also, I’m often left wondering just how much in love two characters can be after only 80-100 pages. Since your story is marketed as a historical romance short story and not just a quickie erotica encounter, I was curious to see how you’d do. The answer, very well for a 60 page story. You do have to paint in broad strokes yet all the information I needed about the characters, their backgrounds, hopes and plans is there.

Eliot Stevens is the brash, self made American millionaire who has traveled to England to find a bride. He wants the social cache a high born English woman can bring him since his own background could use a little – no, make that a lot – of polishing. But he’s basically a good guy. After a late night of cigars, cards and male conversation about sex, he’s left wondering if his future will involve a staid marriage to a repressed woman with him left to find sexual relief and risk the pox by going to brothels. But after learning that there’s a fallen high society woman working as a whore, he figures he can go to her and find out if it’s possible that a lady can enjoy sex.

Miss Charity Vincent now goes by the name of Cherry. After her parent’s death, she was left with the horrifying prospect of becoming her disgusting uncle’s mistress. His whispered rumors have destroyed her reputation and the only job she can get is at a brothel. After a month on the job, she’s developed the knack of disassociating herself while she services a customer but this strange American with his questions about her private feelings and his desire that she enjoy their encounters threatens to undo her.

I like the motivation you give Eliot to seduce Cherry. Part male satisfaction at getting his partner to enjoy sex and partly due to his background as the son of a whore. He knows their lifestyle and wants to give Cherry a little pleasure from the night. But the character who really draws me into the story is Charity. She’s trying so hard to shelter that core of herself and Eliot’s insistence on getting her to reveal her true self feels almost like a violation to her. Her anger at him for this felt real.

I like how you work the sex into acts of caring and closeness instead of just throwing them in for titillation and how you use them to break down the final restraints between these two. I could have wished for a little more show and less tell as they get to know each other through conversation but I realize you had a page constraint. Where your story really shines is in the resolution. As I said before, I generally have trouble believing a novella couple is really in love for the long haul and you nicely sidestepped that problem by setting us up with a marriage of convenience between two people who seem to like each other and find the other sexually attractive. Both will hope for the best. Each has something to gain, little to lose and it’s a type of marriage that would have been common then. Nicely done.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

8 Comments

  1. Jennifer
    May 01, 2006 @ 15:10:54

    I’ve been meaning to get this book, and your review tipped the scales! Off I go to pick it up!
    I’ve read one of her books before and really liked it too. (under her real name, though)

  2. Jayne
    May 01, 2006 @ 15:24:49

    Jennifer, you just saved my diet! I was getting so depressed that no one had posted any comments about my review that I was about to head off the the kitchen to console myself with a Royal Dansk Luxury Wafer (with delicious chocolate creme filling). ;)

  3. kate r
    May 01, 2006 @ 17:23:50

    yeah, where is everyone saying wowwweee yessirree that Summer Devon is teh best? Huh? I pay those droolyfangirl sycophants good money and I get nothing for it.

    thanks jayne.

  4. Jorrie Spencer » All about Samhain
    May 01, 2006 @ 22:09:01

    [...] Jayne of Dear Author reviewed Summer Devon’s Learning Charity. I like how you work the sex into acts of caring and closeness instead of just throwing them in for titillation and how you use them to break down the final restraints between these two. [...]

  5. raine
    May 02, 2006 @ 02:45:00

    It’s a yummy review, and the book sounds great!
    (but not as great as that chocolate creme filling).

  6. Cece
    May 02, 2006 @ 08:51:55

    I have to agree w/Raine..it’s been so long since I read a historical maybe it’s time to break the dry spell :)

  7. sybil
    May 02, 2006 @ 09:48:35

    I don’t have this yet so can’t comment more than to say it sounds great. It did make me dust off a copy of Perfection to read. Which oddly enough I thought I had the second one but can’t find it.

    I so think I read it after giggles reviewed it. I have added this to the list to get, at some point. Right now the current list to read is loooonnnnggggg.

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    Oct 23, 2006 @ 14:05:10

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