I don’t normally review erotica. Not because I don’t read it, I certainly do, but there’s rarely a story that motivates me to share my opinion. I’m very much a “to each her (or his) own” kind of gal, which can make rating a reviewing a book more difficult than the time it takes. I’m explaining all of this so you’ll know that I don’t give out a 4 ½ star Top Pick lightly. And if I’ve ever read an erotica that deserved this rating, it is Ellen Trubody’s historical erotic romance Until Paris.
Wills and Emma have been married for seven years and until recently they’ve shared an extremely passionate relationship. But when a miscarriage threatens Emma’s life, her doctor husband decides to relocate to a new town — alone. Wills knows that if Emma gets pregnant again, the resulting complications will be tantamount to signing a death warrant. She will never survive it, so he exiles himself to Bath. Emma sends Wills letters begging him to return, but as each goes unanswered, she decides the only course of action is to move to Paris and start over as a single woman. When the story opens she’s come to Bath to say goodbye to her husband for a final time — but can Wills prove he’s found a solution that will give them both satisfaction?
Here are my five reasons this e-book has won a spot on my keeper shelf:
5) Emma. There is no better description for this heroine than absolutely captivating. It’s no wonder that Wills will do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Readers will feel for Emma as rages against Wills’ self-imposed isolation (and celibacy) — particularly when she pours her heart into a series of letters that range from pleading to scathing and back again. This is a vibrant woman after my own heart, one who knows what she wants and isn’t willing to give it up without a fight.
4) Wills. Would that every woman won herself a hero like this kind, caring man. He’s intelligent, funny and thoroughly devoted to Emma. Wills has decided that he would rather live a life of celibacy than ever put Emma in danger, and he has been unerringly faithful to his wife throughout their entire separation. The whole thing just makes me sigh with longing, would that every Prince Charming could be this fantastically perfect.
3) The historical accuracy. Trubody skillfully weaves historical detail Until Paris. This is not just a sizzling tale laid over the Victorian era; it is truly a story set in the time, where the sentiments and details of the era play an important role. Gynecologist Wills relies on the era’s medical advances to diagnose his beloved wife, and then relocates his practice to Bath in order to safeguard her from the potential danger inherent in the couple engaging in marital relations that may result in pregnancy. Additionally, the scandal rags link his name with his female patients’, a fact which drives heroine Emma up the wall with jealousy. Beyond this, another key part of the story is that Emma can’t simply pick up a phone and say, “Sorry honey, I’m Paris-bound because I’ve been neglected long enough.” Instead she must vent her feelings via the post and in person. Ultimately, the Victorian setting makes this story work in ways that would seem trite were it a contemporary tale.
2) The romance. Wills and Emma have been married for almost a decade, and yet they are still determined to put the other person first. They know each other inside and out, and watching them try to bridge the gap that biology (and Wills’ emotional response) has created is heart wrenching. Readers should expect to be more moved by this story than by many romance novels currently on shelves. This short story in no way sacrifices emotional drama for sizzling scenes, if anything it packs a punch that will reverberate long after you’ve finished the book.
The sex-free moment that made me swoon? When Emma walks into Wills bedroom in Bath and discovers that he has plastered her letters (even the hateful, angry ones) all over the walls, so that he has never truly been without the company of the woman he loves.
1) The sex. This is an erotic novella, which means that readers will be treated to plenty of “action” on the page. However, Trubody grounds their relationship in history and love, which makes the sex scenes that much more powerful to read. When Emma visits Wills in Bath he’s just come to a solution that will allow the couple to enjoy intercourse without the threat of unwanted pregnancy — anal sex. And I can honestly say that I’ve never read erotica that has featured this act with such care. It is at once romantic and sexy, but the way that Wills and Emma undertake this exploration, and their motivations turn this taboo sex act into something almost vanilla, a ministration of such love and shared pleasure that even those readers who are normally uncomfortable with anal intercourse will be cheering for this couple and the fact that they figure out how to make sex work for them!
So whether or not you like historical tales, or the type of sex that Wills and Emma engage in, do yourself a favor and pick up Until Paris. I promise you won’t be sorry.