In The Flesh is book five of The Ladies’ Sewing Circle series, but it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read any of the others (though I recommend that you do), as this book will still make perfect sense.
It tells the story of Beatrice Weatherly, who has been named a scarlet woman because she was tricked into posing for some nude photographs. Now polite society believes her unmarriageable.
Add that to the state of her and her brother’s finances, and things aren’t looking too good for the Weatherlys.
At a public occasion, though, it looks as though their luck is set to change. Edmund Ellsworth Ritchie has been quite taken with Beatrice ever since he saw those infamous cabinet cards, and when he meets her in the flesh, his interest becomes obsession.
He makes a proposal that would see the Weatherly finances fixed, but would further besmirch her name. Beatrice decides that since she is already seen as a fallen woman, she may as well behave like one.
So the fun begins. Beatrice is not as experienced with men as the sexy photos would have everyone believe, so she visits the House of Madame Chamfleur to learn how to appease Edmund’s appetite. Life becomes incredibly exciting for Beatrice, until a dark secret in her lover’s past threatens everything they have built together.
Portia Da Costa is one of my favourite erotic romance authors, and has been for a long time. In The Flesh isn’t my favourite of her books (that title goes to In Too Deep), but I enjoyed it very much. The historical part of it felt very real and was immersive, and I thought the storyline and the heat level were apt for that era.
The writing, as always, was superb and I watched the characters’ journeys with interest, and found the ending satisfying. Definitely one to add to your bookshelves if you enjoy historical erotic romance.