Her Husband’s Harlot by Grace Callway

Grade: B
passion rating: hot
Dear Ms. Callaway,

I was interested to read your debut novel for two reasons. First, I love the title. I’ve always thought being a husband’s harlot is one of the best parts of marriage. (Plus, it reminds me of a classic song, the number one single from 1973, Charlie Rich’s Behind Closed Doors. I’m humming it as I write.) Second, I think it’s impressive you’ve taken your 2010 winning manuscript, (Her Husband’s Harlot was a 2010 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist) and turned it into a successfully selling novel: It’s currently the 36th most popular Regency romance at Amazon.com and has a five star reader rating.

I enjoyed your book. You utilize a typical regency plot—virginal girl marries sensually experienced and sexually voracious man whose heart she longs to win—and give it an innovative rendering.  I loved the opening scene in which your heroine, the well-bred Lady Helena is wandering the halls of the Nunnery, a high-end London brothel, determined to track down her husband Nicholas and beg him not to consort with whores but to consort with her instead. The two have been married just a month and, after a truly awful experience for both on their wedding night—she practiced “ladylike forbearance” until the moment she screamed in startled pain; he jumped off her, ran out of the room, horrified he’d hurt her—the two barely speak. Helena, though, longs for another chance and so, upon learning Nicholas will be at the bordello this evening, she slips on the clothes of a tart, paints her face, dons a wig and a feathered mask, and goes husband hunting.

She finds him, hidden behind a curtain, watching an exceedingly bawdy threesome. Nicholas has been in sexual hell since his wedding night. He is consumed with lust for his wife, but sees her as too genteel and pure for him. He thinks, after their wedding night, she wants nothing to do with him. But he’s a guy with big needs and even beating off three times a day, while fantasizing about fucking the hell out of Helena, is neither slaking his lust nor assuaging his loneliness. He came to the Nunnery thinking he’d find relief in another woman’s quim, but found, much to his despair, he only wants his wife. 

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