Review In the Flesh by Portia Da Costa
Posing nude to appease her now ex-fiancé perhaps wasn’t the most prudent idea Beatrice Weatherly has ever had. With the photographs scrutinized up and down the ton and her brother running them into debt, Beatrice’s hopes of making a respectable marriage are dashed.
After one glance at Beatrice’s infamous racy cabinet cards, wealthy, powerful Edmund Ellsworth Richie is soon obsessed with Beatrice’s voluptuous figure. His indecent proposal—one month of hedonistic servitude in exchange for enough money to pay her brother’s debts—is one she can hardly refuse.
Determined not to let the rogue best her, Beatrice sets out for the infamous House of Madame Chamfleur to learn how to appease Edmund’s well-known appetite. Soon the couple is playing out exquisite fantasies…and feeling emotion that goes deeper than flesh. But Edmund harbors a shocking secret, and Beatrice must decide if she’s prepared to give up everything for a man who can offer her nothing, but who means everything.
I wanted to like this, but it turned into so much of a mess it was difficult to. First she poses nude for an ex. I don’t really see that happening in the nineteenth century but okay. Whatever. Then the cards fall into peoples hands and she gets a bad reputation. Totally there. HOWEVER the whole there’s a bad guy out there who is stalking me because of these cards and is trying to kill me/possess me/blackmail me, while at the same time a rich guy is essentially paying for me to sleep with him but won’t offer real protection, but its okay, because I’m still not a real ho, yet then at the end the rich guy who has a crazy wife in the attic, ala Jane Eyre who manages to sort of die when my stalker gets there to try to kill me…
The craziness of the plot aside, as a character Beatrice was likeable enough. She’d gotten herself in difficult predicaments and was going to use her body to get out of them but I respect that on a couple levels. I get it. I really do. When the going gets tough, there’s not a whole helluva lot you can do if you don’t have any mad skills. Was she the heroine I needed her to be in order to pull off this story, no. SHe wasn’t brassy, ballsy, classy, contained, controlled, yet uninhibited enough for me to get behind her in this story, yet it wasn’t awful. I didn’t hate her, I didn’t think it epically failed, I think that she just wasn’t ENOUGH and that the plot was a bit whackadoo.
Overall Rating: C-