Monday, January 19, 2009

Enslaved by Virginia Henley

Book Description:
Where are all the real men? she wondered...
For Lady Diana Davenport, they existed only in her books and dreams. There she could lose herself, becoming the licentious Diana, goddess of the hunt--far from the rigid restraints of eighteenth-century London, where she was courted by fops and fools. That is, until she tried on an authentic Roman helmet in an antiques store and was catapulted back in time, landing in Marcus Magnus's arms. This was no dream! She was lost in Aquae Sulis, the city she knew as Bath, prisoner of a Roman general who accused the violet-eyed beauty of being a Druid spy--and then made her his slave!


His words were soft, imperious, charged with danger and desire. Marcus Magnus was powerful, arrogant, and infuriating. A real man. And now Lady Diana was his slave, hostage to his will, vowing to fight him to the end--with every seductive weapon she possessed....

Upon reading the first opening pages of this romance, I instantly rolled my eyes. I was set on disliking it. Our heroine, Diana Davenport, is a young wealthy heiress in Georgian England (or was it Regency, it seemed to flip flop back and forth) who reads romances in bed and masturbates to them. She speaks her mind (a 20th century mind it sounds like) and she has the opinions of someone that just does not belong in her century. I cannot abide it when I'm reading an historical novel, and the characters talk as if it's a modern. Unfortunately, this sort of writing was rampant in this book, which was a shame, since the author must have gone to a lot of research in other aspects of it. But the language! Manroot?! Acck! Well, it knocked it down a notch for me. Diana wants some excitement in her life and meets the dark and sexually thrilling Mark Hardwicke while dressed at a masquerade skimpily clad as the Roman goddess, Diana. And this is in Georgian times, mind you! A virgin debutante no less!

Still, I continued on and once Diana travels back in time, it got even more ... interesting. Diana time travels back to the times of Ancient Rome, circa 61 A.D. when Nero was the Roman Emporer. There she immediately meets this dark and swarthy Roman nobleman who instantly makes her his house slave (it must have been those violet eyes of hers). Hmm, why does he seem so familiar? His name is Marcus Magnus, could that be a clue? She turns out to be his love slave, only she turns the tables on him, and they fall in love, but not before having loads and loads of hot monkey lovin' sex! Because of the setting, there is lots of room for kinky sex, bathing sex, eating sex, fireside sex and of course, bedroom sex, not too mention lots of skimpy revealing outfits and innuendos as well. Those Romans really knew how to live! Did I mention this book had a lot of hot sex in it?

But, on top of all of that, it actually had an interesting plotline, though we never do quite figure out how Diana's lover, Marcus Magnus/Mark Hardwicke (a deliberate euphemism for a certain piece of the male anatomy?) winds up being in both places without time traveling himself. Has he been reincarnated? We never find out. It is just taken for granted that the reader will accept it, since so much of this novel is fantasy and over the top anyway.

After lots of hot lovin' in see-through outfits and topless "loin dresses", plus the excitement of being thrown to the lions at the Circus Maximus in Rome, Diana returns to Georgian times, leaving her Roman lover and realizes that that Regency hunk, Mark Hardwicke is her Roman Marcus! (no, really?) Will they connect again? Will he remember their time together in Aqua Sulis? Is their love eternal?

As outlandish as it all sounds, it wasn't bad. I read this book in one day (and it was over 400 pages). It was quick paced and pretty exciting and definitely original. Aside from the misspellings (don't the editors know that "just desserts" has two s and not one?) and the constant reminder that Diana has violet colored eyes, I have to recommend this book, even if it's just for the novelty of it. How many romances are out there that have a time traveling Regency miss go back to ancient Rome? At least Diana's modern way of talking in ancient times, wasn't as glaringly out of place as it was during the Regency sequences.

All in all, not a bad trashy romance for a snowy winter's day.



Mitzi said...

I picked up this old book on a whim at my local used book store last month. It's the first book I've ever read by Virginia Henley. After reading your review, I'm almost embarrassed to say this...but I liked it. Yes, it was pretty raunchy (heavy on the sex) but it was also different and interesting....and very entertaining. I will be looking for more of Viginia's books next time I visit my not so perfect book store.


Julie said...

Mitzi, don't be embarrassed! I kind of liked it too, I didn't totally trash it, didn't I say I read it in one day? I thought it was original and anything with time traveling is going to interest me! It was the first thing I read by this author too!

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