Tag Archives: sexuality

Fairy Tale Romance: My Passionate Love Affair With Eloisa James’s Books

Those of you who have been around a while might know that I’m on a quest of sorts to get to know the romance genre better. I was pretty sure that Eloisa James would be an author whose style I’d like, so with that in mind, I picked up some of her fairy tale-inspired romances.

Oh. My. God. I can’t get enough of them. I never used to really understand the addictive nature of the romance genre, but I get it now. So I thought I’d give some quick reviews for the three I’ve read so far. I will undoubtedly be reading more from James in the near future, and I recommend her books for anyone who is interested in the genre but isn’t exactly sure where to start. Just so you know, these are all very loose fairy tale retellings—they have a fairly whimsical tone and are not at all fantasy.

The Duke Is Mine is inspired by “The Princess and the Pea.” Just like in the original tale, the heroine arrives at a manor one stormy night soaked through to the bone. In James’s version, her destined duke greets her at the door and is immediately wildly attracted to her—a sodden gown clinging to every curve will do that. 😉 Too bad she’s engaged to a simpleton and is really only visiting the duke’s estate as her sister’s chaperone; it’s the sister who is being tested as the possible duchess-to-be.

I really liked this book; the female MC is sassy yet honorable. I’m a sucker for sister relationships in stories, and this one is really cute. It also handles neurological disorders in a sensitive, sensible matter. The duke love interest has an Asperger’s-like disorder, and the MC’s betrothed, who is mentally handicapped due to a temporary loss of oxygen at birth, is depicted respectfully. Out of the three here, I’d say this book is great for a first impression of James’s work.


Once Upon a Tower is of course inspired by the tale of Rapunzel. Of the three books of James that I’ve read, this one is the most “realistic.” The female and male MC are both quite young and sexually inexperienced. The chemistry between them is very strong, but when they get married, their inexperience in the bedroom introduces major tension into the relationship; I don’t know that I’ve ever read a more realistic and raw depiction of a young couple’s sexual struggles. I even read their first unfortunate sexcapade out loud to my husband. His response? “Oh, damn.

So this is a more serious read than the other two here, and it will really pull at your heart strings. I’d also recommend it to any classical music fans out there; the female MC is an expert cellist, and James has really done her homework in this department.


I’m not sure exactly how to put this in a blog-appropriate manner. Umm… When Beauty Tamed the Beast threw me into a strong romantic tizzy. I knew, in a clinical sort of way, that romance books had the ability to do that—but didn’t ever really expect it to happen to me.

Well, we all get proven wrong sometimes. This is a book that will please female readers and indirectly please their romantic partners. You catch my drift? ;D I’d give this ten out of five stars if I could.


Have you read any great romance books lately? Do you tend more towards contemporary, historical, or paranormal? Leave your recommendations down below!

Short Tuesday #13: “Ghost of a Horse Under a Chandelier” by Georgina Bruce

This week for Short Tuesday I was on the hunt for short fiction by Georgina Bruce, who has a new short story collection that was just published this month. “Ghost of a Horse Under a Chandelier” is an older story, but I wanted to get a sense of her voice before making a decision about checking out her new collection. You can read the short story for free here…

The story focuses on a young lesbian coming to terms with her sexuality; she has a strong imagination, and interspersed throughout the story are vignettes from a seemingly magical book. It’s all very fuzzy and magical realism-ish, and I wasn’t in love with the vignettes if I’m being honest, since they felt pretty unconnected from the rest of the piece.

The ballroom of the Grand Hotel by candlelight is amber and sepia, drifting into darkness at the edges like an old postcard. It smells of stale water, tallow, and dust. The ruby carpet is threadbare and shiny, and the plaster has been knocked off the walls, leaving bare brick in places, water-stained and sick. But in the candlelight the room still has a certain romance.

The bits in the real world also have a floaty, unmoored feeling. I had a difficult time in the beginning of the piece getting a sense of how old the MC was; she read wayyyy younger to me at first than she actually is. The additional feminist focus had me speeding towards the end to be done with the story. I can appreciate a magical realism story with a coming-of-age focus, but once you start throwing in Patriarch Fish and horses named Andrea Dworkin, we’ve entered territory too silly and ideological for my preference. If there’s anything I can say about my taste in fiction, it’s that I never want to feel like I’m reading short stories penned by r/TwoXChromosomes power users.

“You’re an artist,” says Zillah. She shows Joy what she’s reading, pushing the book over the table.

It is Ursula Bluethunder, Zillah and Joy’s favourite comic book. Ursula Bluethunder is a radical black, woman-loving superheroine, whose mission is to establish a lesbian separatist nation with money that she steals from banks using her superior intelligence, strength, and martial arts skills. She likes hanging out in libraries, too.

See what I mean? It’s just too much for my tastes, though some might love it. So despite some pretty descriptions, this piece was unfortunately not for me.