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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful. A page turner.
At first I was a little discouraged to buy this book, after reading so many bad reviews, pointing to errors and historical inaccuracy. At the end I decided to buy it based on one reviewer that explained that those errors were only on the hard cover edition, not in the soft cover. Besides, I had already read "Enchanting Pleasures", the third novel in this series,...
Published on Oct. 3 2003 by Thea

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars A trifle rough... needs a bit more polish.
The cover of this book is lovely-- I hope publishers take note of how tasteful and appealing such covers can be.
The book itself has some power, some emotion, but reads pretty much like a first draft. I'm not a big Regency reader, but even I noticed mistakes everywhere, like the major who is about to become an admiral (presumably he's going to have to switch from...
Published on Sept. 14 1999


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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful. A page turner., Oct. 3 2003
By 
This review is from: Potent Pleasures (Mass Market Paperback)
At first I was a little discouraged to buy this book, after reading so many bad reviews, pointing to errors and historical inaccuracy. At the end I decided to buy it based on one reviewer that explained that those errors were only on the hard cover edition, not in the soft cover. Besides, I had already read "Enchanting Pleasures", the third novel in this series, and found it pretty decent. So I decided to take a risk with this one. I'm so glad I did!
This is one of the best novels I have read in a while!
It reminded me somewhat of Judith McNaught's "Something Wonderful", a novel and a writer that I love.
The story is full of passion, love, misunderstanding, jealousy, regrets, and forgiveness. What more can you ask for in a romance novel?
The only error I found is that in one part of the book I read that Charlotte's brother is 25 years old, and in another part, it says that, 3 years later, her mother (who apparently, since there is no mention of a previous marriage, is also his mother)is 41. By that math, she must have had him when she was 13! Not physically impossible maybe, but very improbable.
But that is a very minor mistake, I only noticed it because by coincidence, I had been wondering how old Charlotte's mother would be, since she appeared to be still young, and fun loving and understanding. I had calculated that she must be around 46 at least, based on Charlotte's brother's age. So I was surprised when I read that she was 41.
But this doesn't take away from a story that is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.
If you like a good romance, in the Judith McNaught style, I really recommend this book.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Visions of Hannibal Lector danced in my head..., Sept. 6 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Potent Pleasures (Hardcover)
I originally liked this book...maybe I was in a desperate mood or something, because when I tried to read it a second time...well, I didn't like it at all.
Here's where Hannibal Lector comes in...She is knocked over by the man with the greying hair and he's gone and kissed her. Badly by my measure. She writes: "...he bent his head and a warm, strong mouth descended on hers. She didn't say another word, not even when his lips opened and his tongue lunged (YES LUNGED) into her mouth..." (Lunging tongues!!!!)
"A tongue swept around her ear, and a husky voice murmured, "Very nice, a lovely ear," and swept without a pause to reclaim her mouth again, his tongue stabbing into her mouth. Finally, he stole her tongue altogether and sucked it into his mouth."
I don't know about you...but disembodied lunging, stabbing tongues, flicking and sweeping, tongue stealing...I half expected her end that last paragraph with "He ate it with some fava beans and a nice chianti!".
Save your money.
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4.0 out of 5 stars As With OUTLANDER People Will Either Love It Or Hate It, Aug. 18 2000
This review is from: Potent Pleasures (Mass Market Paperback)
I must say I am astonished at the venom being unleashed upon this book for historical inaccuracies and political incorrectness. Heavens! If I want a lesson in history, I will buy a history book, and if I want to be entrenched in 21st century political correctness I will watch Geraldo! If I want fantasy and escape, I am not interested in whether or not the waltz was invented during a particular period, I just want the romance and sexual tension and thus I am overjoyed to find a book such as this. For a first novel, I thought it had all, humor, a LIKEABLE heroine (so many of them are tiresome one-note concertos, all indignation, page after page) and a likeable, if somewhat dumb hero. I WILL agree with the reviewer who took issue with the "question mark" eyebrows...I think the writer's editor should have reeled her in on that one...but there was an awful lot to like in the story. And I, too, initially bought the book because I was drawn to its beautiful cover, as I was with OUTLANDER, too. I am looking forward to the day publishers retire Fabio and all of those over long-haired, big-pec'd bronze men and do away with the embarrassing "bodice ripper" covers. Our own imaginations serve us quite nicely, thanks.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The Mind Boggles!!!, Aug. 3 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Potent Pleasures (Hardcover)
This is the most howlingly bad novel of the genre I have encountered. I had to keep reading to see what cliche or historical inaccuracy would occur next. Wow! The great Careme whipping up ball gowns, with what a balloon whisk? Hookers???? That term didn't come about until the Civil War in the US, but she also has dialog between Charlotte and Alexander that sounds just like something between Scarlett and Rhett. I could go on but there is no point in belaboring the reader of the review with errors others have pointed out in previous reviews.
The author has not done her homework, she seems to have no idea of the way people of the time period spoke or lived. She simply seems to know nothing about the regency period at all. She has created a pretty fantasy which she should have set in a time period she knows more about or be better at research.
I'd recomend that if Ms. James wants to continue to write about the regency period she do some more reading. Start with a really good writer such as Marion Chesney and then do her homework.
I'm forced by the star scale to assign this book a rating. I'd prefer to rate it at minus one star. Her editor deserves a decrease in salary and maybe to be sent looking for a new job...maybe a scullery maid?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hardcover vs. paperback- there is a difference!, May 21 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Potent Pleasures (Mass Market Paperback)
I read the "Potent Pleasure" and I enjoyed the story very much. After reading it, I came online here to read the reviews of other people. I was amazed to see both wonderful and very terrible reviews. I began reading the 1-2 stars reviews and I discovered that the historical errors the "unhappy" readers talked about were not present it my "Potent Pleasures" book. I was confused and I truly thought that the 1-2 stars reviews must be talking about a different book than I read. I even went back to try to find the numerous historical errors which other people found, but I couldn't find them. Anyway, finally I figured the puzzle out. Apparently, I am the first one to be reviewing the paperback version of this story (which came out in May 2000) and I can tell you that the story errors, that the other readers pointed out, have been cleaned up and/or rewritten before the paperbacks went into print.
This is Eloisa James's first novel and on the whole I found the story to be very interesting and enjoyable. However, I am surprised that an unknown author would have had her first historical romance novel printed in a hardcover book. If I had purchased the $20.00 version of the book and found all the initial errors in the story, I too would have been upset. But for $6.00 the revised softcover version it well worth the money. It's a good story, and I am looking forward to Ms. James next "paperback" book. This new author has alot of potential!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, Oct. 12 1999
By 
Salty Girl (Salt Lake City) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Potent Pleasures (Hardcover)
I'll admit to being a bit confused about some of the vehemently negative opinions on this book. I found it intelligent, delightful and a refreshing change from the generic romance books that have flooded the market lately. Perhaps because this author is making her debut in hardback? We are entitled to expect higher quality in a hardback, and I think this author delivered.
The book was reminiscent of Judith McNaught and Amanda Quick.... intelligent characters, richly nuanced storyline and sparkling dialog. I did not rate it a "5" because I found the momentum of the plot to sag in places. This is a forgivable sin, so long as the author loads the story with humor, emotion and captures the sense of time and place. This book certainly did that, and I will look forward to more from this author.
Let's hope that the publishers of romance novels will deliver more beautiful covers like this book. I think the books would sell to a wider audience if they abandon the cartoon-like quality that mars many romance covers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get In On the Ground Floor, Oct. 2 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Potent Pleasures (Hardcover)
Years from now people will see Eloisa James at the top of the best seller's list. I read Potent Pleasures with excitement. I knew that I was reading an author with real talent--the kind of talent that will soon be much better known.
I bought my copy before reading any of the reviews here that criticize the book for historical errors, but I confess that I didn't know enough to catch them as I read the book. The bottom line is that the book is an enjoyable read and is confidently written. I did not doubt the authority of the author. I read to be entertained and to be able to go to another world--and in this the book is a great success. And that is why I think that James will become a well known and respected writer in the near future. She has the ability, now perhaps a bit raw, to produce valuable books, ones that we will remember and keep.
I think it is exciting to find a new talent before she has fully developed her craft and has become recognized by the rest of the world. If you feel the same way, I suggest you try Potent Pleasures (and keep it).
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1.0 out of 5 stars No Research, Bad Editing, A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY, Sept. 29 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Potent Pleasures (Hardcover)
I purchased this horror of a novel based upon the rather enticing review, before the book was released. I'll never do that again!
Many, many error of historical reseach populate this book - I'm glad I wasn't the only one that picked up on the major wanting to become an admiral - gaff isn't the word for that one!
But there was one error of historical fact so key to the story that made this book absolutely unreadable - the infamous "Hookers' Ball."
Anyone who bothered to do any sort of basic research would have learned that the term "Hooker" (meaning a camp follower, but later to exclusively refer to a low class prostitute) derives from the American General Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker, a Union general from Hadley, Massachusetts, whose name became synonymous with prostitutes because of his business-like handling of camp followers, known then as "Hooker's Second Army." And Ms James - FYI, the American Civil War was fought from 1862 to 1865 - a little after the Regency period.
Not only is this a "schoolchild's fact", a brief check in a decent dictionary would have provided the origin of the word.
Furthermore, there would never have been a "Hooker's" Ball. "Hookers" in the correct historical perspective were camp followers, unattached women who followed armies to tend to enlisted men in both a sexual and menial capacity, doing laundry, cooking, sewing, as well as serving as sexual conveniences. They were considered the lowest form of prostitutes. In the "civilian" context they were equivalent to "streetwalkers" in Regency England.
A fancy dress ball to introduce professional streetwalkers to wealthly gentlemen ? I DON'T THINK SO. That's why they walk the streets.
Only the more exclusive of prostitutes would attend such a function - the "demimonde" - higher class women who had the looks and training to obtain long term "contracts" with such wealthly men.
Ms. James is aspiring to a Mary Balogh-like sensibility - but unlike the excellent Ms Balogh, her characters ring false with every action and word - her "wounded" heroine, after wallowing in her pain and grief, seems to miraculously recover after having to have dinner all by herself, to the extent that her entire personality changes from a shy loner filled with self-doubts to an exhuberant social butterfly, strong and confident. As for the "floppy poppy" - he is beneath contempt, or rather, his depiction is - inconsistent doesn't even begin to describe this moron. He tries to be the classic "romance misogynist" waiting to be reformed- but all we get is a whiny, foolish twerp who can't make up his own mind.
Ms James - I would, as well as the many, many other disappointed purchasers of your premier novel would like an apology. If you are planning to write another novel - I suggest you hire somebody to check facts. Otherwise, stick to teaching.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The publisher should be ashamed!, Sept. 20 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Potent Pleasures (Hardcover)
I wish I had read ALL the reviews here before I bothered with this book. I happened to look on a day when the batch of reviews at the top were all 5 stars. I figure the author and/or publisher must have called in a bunch of favors! There is no other possible way this book could have rated 5 stars.
This book is a mess. I won't bother to repeat all the historical errors already noted here. (Although my favorite howlers are the pajamas, the police, the army officer aspiring to be an admiral, and the reference to Rosetti, who wasn't born until 1828.) The point is, Ms. James cannot have done a single moment of research and, worse yet, neither did her publisher. No author of paperback Regency Romances could have gotten away with such sloppy work. Obviously the hardback editors are not so meticulous.
Even this abundance of factual/historical errors could have been forgiven if the story had been compelling and the writing engaging. Unfortunately, that was not the case -- very surprising for an author with a doctorate in English Literature. Frankly, Ms. James' background was one of the reasons I was drawn to the book. Though the dust jacket described a typical Regency Romance plot, I hoped that her academic immersion in English literature would have provided a firm grounding in language, narrative and structure that would have added a new dimension to a tried-and-true genre. Instead, I found horribly awkward sentence structures and no understanding of point of view. Add to all that a premise which wasn't remotely believable and you have one big disappointment.
The real puzzler here is what prompted the publisher to 1) buy this book, and 2) to release it in such a sloppy form?
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, Sept. 19 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Potent Pleasures (Hardcover)
The gorgeous cover and Eloisa James's background as a professor of English literature led me to expect something quite extraordinary from Potent Pleasures. Unfortunately it was a big disappointment.
I'm an avid reader of traditional Regencies and historical romances, and I was appalled by the total disregard for historical accuracy by both author and editor. How stupid do they think we readers are? However, I persevered, hoping the story would eventually draw me in despite the weird, anachronistic setting.
The author's quirky writing style was kind of cute, but I found the characters shallow and motivated almost entirely by lust. Even allowing for the circumstances of his previous marriage, the hero is untrusting almost to the point of being psychotic. He treats the heroine very badly (I wouldn't have been surprised at physical violence, but perhaps here the author or editor's sense of political correctness restrained them). And the heroine is ready to forgive him anything, as long as he has sex with her. I'm not a psychologist, but this doesn't sound like a healthy relationship to me. While there always have been and still are such marriages, that's not what I enjoy reading about!
All in all, Potent Pleasures has all the elements that sometimes give romances a bad name: sloppy writing, irresponsible sex, and an abusive relationship. In the future, I'll stick to books by my favorite Regency and historical authors. The covers are often tacky, but inside there are vivid historical settings, intriguing characters and love stories in the true spirit of Jane Austen and the Brontes. All for a third to a fourth the price!
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Potent Pleasures
Potent Pleasures by Eloisa James (Mass Market Paperback - May 9 2000)
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