Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-279-2
Historical Romance, 2015
She Whom I Love features characters from the working class, so it already has one cookie stacked in its favor. Sarah Armand is a lady’s maid with the imagination that allows her to write plays in what little free time she has. Maybe one day, she will be free to be “Sophie Armand”, the cooler, more sophisticated persona she’d like to become. Meanwhile, James Glover is the assistant of an aging dressmaker who, to James’s frustration, seems contented with his equally aging clientele instead of courting the younger set of the Ton. And then there’s Marguerite Ceniza, the rising star of the London theater, is a very good friend of Sophie.
Okay, here is where things get a little musical chair-like. Meg is infatuated with Sophie, but she keeps her feelings a secret (although her letters to Sophie are so… amorous in nature, I wonder how anyone is fooled) because she doesn’t want to ruin their close friendship. So, she sets her eyes on James, who is hot enough to be just the lover she needs in the meantime. James is courting Sophie, or at least, sort of – he sends her nice letters. Sophie likes James a lot, but she also harbors curiosity and not a little degree of affection for Meg. On his part, James can’t decide which lady he should seriously pay court to. Oh, what to do?
Since sharing is caring, it is only natural that they all get together for some mutual ooh-ah time.
She Whom I Love has some pretty scorching hot chemistry and sizzle, the kind that makes toes curl and the teeth to bite into the lip a little harder than expected. Unfortunately, the whole sexy-ooh-la-la time is between Meg and Sophie, and when James gets into the picture, the whole thing deflates like a guy who has erectile dysfunction and couldn’t remember where he kept his blue pills. I have nothing against penises, naturally, but in this one, the male-female chemistry is a bit off compared to the female-female chemistry. James can get fatally run down by a carriage and I probably won’t care.
Still, I suppose I can live with the intrusive presence of that dong if Meg and Sophie continue to frolic like happy nymphs, but the problem here is that the three of them get together early in the story, and what follow are pages after pages of everyone, mostly Meg and Sophie, fretting over whether three is company or a party. In other words, there is a potential Yoko Ono in paradise, in the form of James, and damn it, who cares about that boring loser? Why do they even want James anyway? They seem so happy on their own!
I feel that this one should have been much shorter or the happy boudoir should have been free of wee-wee. As I’ve said. I’m far more enamored of the erotic sizzle between Meg and Sophie, and James is not interesting enough to come in and join the party. Get rid of the extra length – the pages or James, any or both will do – and I’d be a far happier reader.