Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Miss Foster’s Folly by Alice Gaines

Dear Ms. Gaines:

I bemoaned on Twitter the other day that I was suffering a real slump in the erotic romance category and a reader suggested I give you a try.  I bought Miss Foster’s Folly because the premise sounded fun and it was a full length novel versus the other offerings which appeared to be shorter novellas.

Miss Foster's Folly by alice gainesThis is a role reversal story.  The heroine, Juliet Foster, becomes one of the richest women in the world when her father dies and leaves her all his liquidated assets.  Juliet is thirty-two, unwed, and 1886, that is old enough to be termed a spinster.  With her new found independence, Juliet decides that she will begin to travel the Continent and sample all the delicious men that she can on her way around the world.  Unfortunately she is a virgin which means she’ll need to dispense of her virginity before she can embark and her licentious endeavors.

Enter David Winslow, seventh Marquis of Derrington.  Derrington has come to America in search of a woman who can break the Winslow curse.  I’m not entirely sure, even after having read the book, exactly what this curse is.  In order to break this mysterious curse, Derrington must find a bold and, well, again, I’m not sure exactly what the Winslows need to break the mysterious curse, but I think it is someone who is adventurous in bed.

The sad thing is that the book is best when it gets away from the gimmicks.  Why not just say that Derrington comes to America to find someone who is as entertaining in bed as she is out of bed?  Why include this substanceless curse that every Derrington inevitably overcomes by merely finding the “right” woman?  Another problem with the story was the constant use of frig instead of fuck.  Was it an effort to appear historically accurate? Because fuck has been around for a long time. And accuracy seemed to take a backseat when Juliet goes off into the country to live with Derrington for weeks at a time with no companion. Nothing that Juliet does is scandalous from talking about orchids in polite company with sexually charged terms to nearly have sex in a host’s afternoon garden party.

The use of the word frig, while maybe more historically accurate, actually appeared to be anachronistic instead of accurate, prim instead of naughty:

“I’m not. I’ll make the demands here, and I demand you frig me.”

“I don’t obey you,” he answered. “Instead, I demand you frig me.”

She sucked in a breath.

Of course, the matters are worsened by Derrington referring to his penis as Priapus frequently:

He could only gape at her in astonishment. Priapus didn’t find her little speech odd. He stiffened further, as if he’d bust out of his own skin.

“I want to be frigged,” she said. “Would a gentleman do that?”

“Possibly not.”

“Then, curse all gentlemen. I want a scoundrel’s cock inside me, stretching the walls of my cunny.”

Despite these problems, there is a lot of fun to be had in this book.  Juliet wants to just have affairs and David wants to get married.  Juliet tells David that his reactions are melodramatic. (I kind of wish she had referred to him as spunky or feisty but I guess that would have been too much).

“On our wedding night.”

“Oh for the love of heaven, haven’t you given that up yet?”

He stepped back. Without the heat of his body, the chill of the night washed over her. She tucked her exposed breast back into her dress.

“I’m not your plaything,” he said. “If you want me, you’ll have to marry me.”

“You sound like a melodrama.”

And Juliet displays some real wit (instead of being called witty by other people).

“So he really is a rake, then,” Millie said.

“Yes, and a rather talented one,” Lady Mitford said.

“That requires talent?” Juliet asked.

When the story focused on the character role flip and the emotional conflict, I loved it.  When it veered off into the curses, the comically bad attempts at bawdy language, and gimmicks, my mind began to wander.  I wished that Juliet’s emotional arc would have been better integrated into the story, particularly the courtship time that the two spent together.  Juliet felt abandoned by her father who loved her mother to the exclusion of anyone else and didn’t want to get involved on a deep emotional level with David but then why stay weeks at a time in an isolated country house with David?  Then Juliet feels imprisoned by David’s love.  I wasn’t sure how the “fear of abandonment” and “being stifled by someone’s love” fit together.  I also wondered at the time period. Why Victorian?  I didn’t get the sense that there was anything particularly Victorian about the book.  The wandering plot, the gimmicks, and the sex terms keep me from giving this a full throated recommendation. C+

Best regards,

Jane

P.S. She tastes like caramel? Really?

Book Link | Kindle | nook
| Sony| KoboBooks

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

14 Comments

  1. Lynn S.
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 15:42:19

    A curse? Did she confuse gothic or paranormal with erotica? The role reversal is interesting though and it’s always good when an author gives you actual wit. Personally, I would like to meet a resolute rake sometime in my fictional wanderings.

    If I think of a good erotic romance, I’ll let you know; and be grateful it wasn’t 1896 because then she could have tasted like Cracker Jacks.

    ReplyReply

  2. Mary Anne Graham
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 17:26:58

    This one sounds like fun. I don’t write erotica but I’ve played with role reversal in my stuff.

    I prefer stories where the writer doesn’t get bogged down in details about the time period. I know history, I can imagine Victorian or Regency details, or marvel when characters in a book act contrary to the rules of those eras. I consider it a kind of rebellion – but I am a Rebel by birth and inclination.

    Great review – I like the way you “lay it out there” so a reader can decide whether a book is her cuppa.

    ReplyReply

  3. Moriah Jovan
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 18:11:46

    I really liked this book.

    But…erotic? I don’t remember that part.

    ReplyReply

  4. Jane
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 18:55:09

    @Moriah Jovan – I don’t disagree. I don’t think this was terrible erotic. Sexy, but not erotic.

    ReplyReply

  5. Kaetrin
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 19:18:10

    When I first saw the mention of “frig” instead of “fuck” I thought you were referring to swearing, like “get in the frigging carriage” or some such. But after reading the quoted section where “frig” was used in lieu of the “have sex with” kind of fuck, I decided this book is not for me. It just sounds silly.

    And, Priapus? Really? (dare I ask why?)

    ReplyReply

  6. Jane
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 19:28:08

    @Kaetrin – Priapus was the name for his cock.

    ReplyReply

  7. Kaetrin
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 19:38:31

    @Jane – yes, but why? I’ve heard of character’s naming their penis’s occasionally (but really, ew) but why Priapus? Was it just some kind of fertility god joke thing or did he have an actual reason? It would be difficult for me to take a hero seriously who refers to his penis in the third person.

    ReplyReply

  8. Jane
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 19:51:37

    @Kaetrin – Oh, I have no idea. I can’t recall, actually.

    ReplyReply

  9. Rachel
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 19:52:34

    Is it bad that when you said “Winslow curse” I thought of this?

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Bpv9gqFrmLc/TQISaK3o9iI/AAAAAAAAD3g/smdLkBW_RCQ/s1600/winslow.jpg

    ReplyReply

  10. Kaetrin
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 20:10:12

    @Rachel *snort* :)

    ReplyReply

  11. Andrea
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 20:18:53

    ‘Frig’ is a word which means ‘masturbation’, so those sentences read really weird to me. It apparently also means ‘have sex with’, but even then it sounds remarkably out of place.

    ReplyReply

  12. Joy
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 20:54:06

    Another problem with the story was the constant use of frig instead of fuck. Was it an effort to appear historically accurate? Because fuck has been around for a long time.

    In that time and place, “frig” would have primarily meant masturbation (and still does in Britain, as I understand it). It was also used as a euphemism for “fuck” (the etymology I looked up dates that to 1690!) but being a crudity on its own, I don’t know how really euphemistic that would be.

    I’ve been reading some Victorian pornography–for the vocabulary!– and (at least in the one I’ve read so far) “frig” is used exclusively for masturbation. So now when I read this in a modern historical I get the wrong idea…

    ReplyReply

  13. Lynn S.
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 21:49:50

    @Rachel: Sharp cookie. With this image in my head and all the frigging nonsense, there’s no way possible I could take this poor book seriously.

    ReplyReply

  14. LisaCharlotte
    Jun 02, 2011 @ 07:33:21

    I believe Alice Gaines used to write for the Secrets anthologies. She had a hero with a self named Priapus in the story I read also many years ago. Which is why it sticks in memory.

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply


+ 2 = 8

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

%d bloggers like this: