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Monday, June 27, 2011

Love’s Fortress by Samantha Kane

Love’s Fortress by Samantha Kane
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (181 pages)
Other: M/M/F, M/M, Menage, Anal Sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Amaryllis

Gideon North wants a wife. She must be practical and hardworking. But above all, she must have a hearty constitution. Horribly injured and scarred from his Peninsular War service, Gideon does not want to deal with a wife who flinches every time she looks at him.

Gideon’s estate manager Charles Borden was his sergeant in the war. Inseparable but almost always at odds, the two men agree that Sarah Whitley is the perfect wife for Gideon. Strong, beautiful and intelligent with a dry sense of humor, Sarah bears her own marks from a life spent in the shadows.

When Sarah learns to let go of her past fears, she frees both men to acknowledge the love and attraction that has always existed between them. The three become intimate but the eroticism of their encounters in the bedroom does not guarantee happiness. Gideon’s defenses mire them in the past. Only together can Sarah and Charles break through to build a future with Gideon.

Even the most strongly defended heart is no match for the conquest of love.

I enjoyed this novel. The heroine, Sarah, is delightfully well rounded. Quiet and practical with a soft heart, Sarah suffers with a troubling birthmark that has set her apart in society. Gideon North suffers with the lingering effects of his service in the Peninsular War and the disfiguring injuries he acquired there. His injuries give him an interesting depth that is easy to sympathize with even while his stubbornness invites frustration. Charles Borden is Gideon’s estate manager and closest friend. Charles was my favorite character of the threesome. He’s down to earth, emotionally sensitive and an all around good person.

Reading a Regency romance about a three-way relationship requires definite suspension of disbelief. Doubly so that there was a whole group of them who knew each other. But it’s no different than believing there were scads of handsome, unmarried dukes running around working as spies for the Home Office. Ms. Kane does a great job of presenting the relationship and how it develops in a credible way that somehow works very well.

The conflict is mostly centered around Gideon’s coming to grips with his experiences and injuries in the war, and the insecurity and hesitance between the two men to fully accept their erotic feelings. The conflict is believable and tightly interwoven with the developing sexual and romantic relationship. Charles and Sarah are both so very open hearted and unselfish in their coming together to reach out to Gideon.

The sex scenes are hot and filled with emotional depth from the beginning, even though the two men do not know the heroine well. Ms. Kane handles the wedding night perfectly. On that night, it’s easy to believe Sarah is a woman of her times; shy, unknowing, yet her natural sensuality makes her curious and willing to experiment.

Later it’s a little harder to mesh Sarah's blasé acceptance of the heroes’ homosexual relationship with her being a Regency bride. I would have expected a young woman of that time to have been a little more surprised by men behaving in erotic ways with each other—especially if they were able to perform and enjoy sex with a woman. But this is a small point in an otherwise delightful book.

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