THE PLEASURE GARDEN
This anthology, based on the sexy legend of the May Queen, is a pleasant way to while away a spring day. The writers’ abilities and styles vary greatly, and for some readers, the expected sexiness may be lacking.
Cara knows she is defying the law that decreed the separation of the Gaels from the nobles of English Dublin. But from the moment her eyes meet Edmund’s, she knows she’s destined to love this Englishman in McIntyre’s “Sacred Vows.” When her former lover returns scarred from the Crimean War, the future countess of Fairfax House can only see his soul and their remembered passion. Family intrigue and the violence of her betrothed can’t stop the two from seeking “Perfumed Pleasures” by Featherstone. Widow Emmaline is intrigued by the man she sees across the flames of a Beltane bonfire. When he later shows up at her house and falls ill of a deadly strain of influenza, she nurses him to health. Both have been hurt in different ways by WWI, but together they can finally heal in Astor’s “Rites of Passion.” (SPICE, Apr., 352 pp., $14.95)