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REVIEW: The Erotic Secrets of a French Maid by Lisa...

Dear Ms Cach,

You had promised us a funny book and “The Erotic Secrets of a French Maid” delivers. At least for me it did. Fun yet intelligent characters, a plot that sticks to the point and true love — what’s not to like?

Emma Mayson has decided to clean houses to pay the bills while she searches for a job doing what she really wants. With a master’s degree in architecture you’d think she’d be able to find a job with a firm but so far, no joy. So to keep herself focused on the prize, she’s avoided venturing off into other fields which could distract her, make her forget current building codes and eventually turn her into an architectural “wanted to have been” rather than a wannabe. Plus going into other people’s houses lets her scope their design and layout.

Russell Carrick, wealthy start-up businessman, doesn’t really need anyone to clean his enormous Seattle home since he’s rarely there but he views his sister’s insistence on hiring someone to do it as her way of protecting him. Yeah, after the sudden death of their brother, her ideas of protection are a little strange but this is such a minor request he goes along with it. Emma isn’t at all the older, gray haired, chunky woman he was expecting. She’s young, hot, bubbling with personality and probably not someone who’d be interested in his slightly older and definitely geeky self. After all, this *is* Seattle.

A few days later, Russ finds Emma in tears when a series of minor economic blows line up to wipe her out. He ponders how to help her then it hits him. He’ll offer her a downtown apartment he’s been meaning to sell and take her up on her earlier offer to cook 3 meals a week for him. But Russ doesn’t actually spell out what he’s asking for and Emma mistakenly believes he’s actually taking her up on her fanciful musing about how it would be nice to be someone’s mistress and get paid for the sex she secretly wants with Russ. It’s not until almost the end of their negotiations (he for meals, she for sex) that Russ catches on to what Emma thinks he wants.

Flabbergasted, he debates with himself over it then, since she seems to really want to do this and he really doesn’t mind having sex with her, their 3-nights-a-week encounters begin. But Emma puts so much into devising scripted erotic situations to please him, that she never opens up to Russ in the way that he’s beginning to wish she would. And Emma wonders if having been paid to have sex will kill any chance they might have had to really fall in love.

I’ll be real honest and say that after reading the excerpt during which Emma plays slave girl to Russ’s sultan, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy these sexual evenings. But when read in context, the humor and hotness of these situations were apparent. Russ thinks they’re silly too yet finds himself getting turned on, well except for the time Emma played nurse to his patient and got too enthusiastic with the rubber gloves. I thought it was realistic that both of them started out a little nervous about the whole thing yet managed to settle down into enjoying their nights. I did think it a little odd that Emma never managed to reach fulfillment, especially after Russ began really trying to pleasure her as much as she did him, until the night when she relaxes and lets down her emotional barriers.

Emma is kind of person I’d like to be friends with. She’s a great all around person and it’s nice to see her gain confidence throughout book. I thought it a nice touch that she doesn’t suddenly rocket to the top of her profession and become the next Maya Lin. I enjoyed Russ’s “guy” moments with his senior hockey playing buds. Yeah they’re basically decent guys but not above egging Russ on to enjoy the hot babe they think he’s dating.

I also like that the book focuses on Russ and Emma. There are enough other characters to ground them in reality yet none take away from the main romance and there’s not padding the page count with unrelated stuff. I approve of the way you ended the story on an open-ended note with Russ and Emma in love yet not headed down the aisle into too fast married bliss. B+ and thanks for a delightful story. Now I just have to wait another whole year for the next one! Uggghhhh

~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.

12 Comments

  1. Charity
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 07:00:00

    I just finished A BABE IN GHOSTLAND, and it was the first Cach I had ever read, and probably the last. But I’ll admit some of the blurbs on her site had me wondering, I read the excerpt of this one at the end, and was relieved to see that the sultan scene was not the opening one, so I may just have to pick it up and read it, after reading your letter. Thanks!

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  2. Jayne
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 08:15:49

    Charity, I’ve found that from my own experience and that of friends that most Cach books either work for you or they don’t. There’s very little in between. This one did for me but I can see others hating it. Gee, that really helps you, doesn’t it? :)

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  3. Tara Marie
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 10:24:26

    I read this one last week, gave it a D+, the story seemed some how forced to me, which may have been part of the point, but I didn’t like it. And I didn’t like the role playing sex scenes. Different strokes…

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  4. Sarah
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:38:41

    You hit all the right notes with me in this review. I read this book last week and loved it for most of the same reasons you mentioned.

    I think it could have been a very awkward story but it actually turned out well.

    I also agree with your comment, you’re either a Cach fan or you’re not. I know a few people who won’t read her at all but then like me and a few of my other romance buddies, we love her.

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  5. Jayne
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 18:28:11

    Tara Marie, have you read other Cach books? Did you like/dislike them? Most of hers have worked for me but there’s been one or two that I could leave.

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  6. Charity
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 18:56:36

    Actually Jayne, that helps a ton. I couldn’t quite figure out why I had such a strong dislike for her writing and her H&H’s. But if few can find a middle ground, it makes sense. This is probably the first book I had to really watch what I said when discussing, I hate to be cruel, but I really wanted to just rip this book apart.

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  7. Tara Marie
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 08:27:52

    Jayne, I’ve only read one other Lisa Cach–George and the Virgin, but I actually liked that one, it was a fun, suspend all belief story, but it still worked.

    Charity said:

    I hate to be cruel, but I really wanted to just rip this book apart.

    My thoughts exactly–sorry.

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  8. Jenny
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 08:57:10

    This sounds like a fun story and I’ve liked Lisa Cach’s voice in the past so I may just get this.

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  9. Jayne
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 13:40:18

    Cach is an author I’m always willing to try. “Come to Me,” and “Have Glass Slippers, Will Travel” are two that I’ve never read again. I think all of my Cach fan friends have at least one book that just didn’t work for them.

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  10. Jayne
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 13:43:42

    I think it could have been a very awkward story but it actually turned out well.

    Sarah, I agree. If the sex scenes had been played as totally serious, it wouldn’t have worked for me. As it was, they initially felt awkward about what they were doing a) because they were doing it and b) because they had just met but then they worked through that as they got to know each other and fell in love.

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  11. Rhianne
    Dec 20, 2007 @ 19:48:15

    I totally loved it. My friend brought it for me as part of a sex themed “secet santa” christmas gift, and i’m so glad she did. What a lovely ending! I can’t wait to read some more of Cach’s stuff :)

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  12. Jayne
    Dec 21, 2007 @ 07:23:46

    Looks like she has a new book in this vein coming out in Feb. “How to Be a Sex Vixen.”

    ReplyReply

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