“Whoever thought one could be so popular and yet so equally despised? It made no sense. But then that was the ton for you. They set rules even they had trouble following.” Quote from Mistress of Pleasure
Title: Mistress of Pleasure School of Gallantry, book 1
Author: Delilah Marvelle
Genre: Historical Romance, Victorian
Story Setting: London, England, 1830
Published by: Delilah Marvelle Productions, LLC; 2 edition
Published Date: July 1, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc. ASIN: B010TM411C
About the Story: Granddaughter of a renowned courtesan, Maybelle Maitenon has no interest in her grandmother’s school in London where gentlemen receive instruction–in the art of seduction. Her only desire in life is to remain independent and free from men and their overbearing expectations.
But when Maybelle lays eyes on the Duke of Rutherford, who is well-known for his gentlemanly ways, she can’t resist. Neither she nor the duke are prepared for what their attraction is about to do not only to their sanity but their hearts.
WARNING: This book contains strong language and sexual content that may cause respectable people to swoon.
My Thoughts: What better way for a man to know he’s pleasuring a woman in the ways that count except by taking lessons from a demimondaine at The School of Gallantry? Maybelle’s grand-mére was going to ruin them totally. When the great and well-known demimondaine starts the school, she has many applicants. Duke Rutherford, rounding the number to five class members, had his own agenda in getting admitted.
With the knowledge her grandmother was to start a school, Maybelle was astounded. Why would she do that? Their names around town were already teetering into the gutter. Maybelle was painted with the same brush as her grand-mére.
“Our reputation is already limp. Why on earth do you feel the need to flog it to death?”
Her grandmother thought the school an excellent idea and quite profitable since she was in need of funds (Maybelle had no idea of this). She’d be making women very happy. Maybelle saw it otherwise. She saw men used women to pleasure only themselves.
“Her grandmother tsked, puckering her lips. “Ma chѐre. If a man knows nothing about seduction, the courtship becomes merely poom-poom. Animal copulation. It is the woman who suffers, for a man can always find pleasure. But a woman? Not so. We cannot keep men from the conquests they seek, but we can educate the lust-ridden fools and in turn benefit, oui?”
Maybelle wants to travel, dreams of visiting Egypt, but every time she brings up the issue, her grandmother comes ready with another reason not to.
Maybelle was afraid to make any attachments. That is, of the male sort. She’d seen what happened to her father when her mother died. He lived on the verge of insanity, his love so strong. That kind of loved scared Maybelle. After her father left this world, when she was but 12, she was thrust into her grand-mére’s world.
“Her grandmother sighed. “I do not understand. You have no intentions on ever marrying, and yet you hold onto your virginity as if it were worth a dowry. A woman’s innocence is only valued by men. The moment you dispose of it, you take your first step toward freedom. Your first step toward ensuring you do not belong to anyone but yourself.”
Maybelle is a mix of innocence, brashness and passionate nature. When armed with her grandmother’s words, she acts impulsively in finding her freedom through losing her virginity.
“Where there is a will to conquer a man, there is most certainly a way to conquer a man.”
I love the tone and the humorous style author Marvelle sets in this nice and naughty story. There is plenty to laugh at as Maybelle, armed with all her grand-mére has taught her about men, yet hasn’t experienced any of it—not even a kiss, preceded to seduce Lord Palmer. the duke of Rutherford. When Maybelle sees him for the first time across a ballroom, she wants to meet him, so uses some of the tactics learnt from her grand-mѐre.
Her words when seeing him — “is a chariot worth riding into hell on”. She goes about mastering the ride creating funny and embarrassing scenes keeping the reader highly entertained.
Viscount Edmund Palmer was known as the duke who did everything right. Never a misstep. When he meets Maybelle, he is bowled over. Literally! A woman hardly suitable for any titled gentlemen let alone a duke, interests him on every level. Maybelle is hard to win. She’s hot and then cold, frustrating the duke beyond frustrated. She doesn’t believe she’s duchess material and knows well enough that his relationship with her will bring his family ruin as well. So how much will someone give up for love, the all-encompassing kind where nothing else matters?
Secondary characters, his classmates in the art of seduction, were great additions to this love story. Each had strong personalities and lively imaginations only creating more havoc in Viscount Palmer’s life. I was also impressed by Edmund’s mother’s attitude and her determination to see Edmund married to someone he’s excited about.
In the Author’s Words: Bio data at GoodReads “I spent my youth studying various languages, reading voraciously, and playing the pianoforte. I confess that here ends the extent of my gentle breeding. I was a naughty child who was forever torturing her parents with countless adventures that they did not deem respectable. Confined to my room on many occasions due to these misadventures, I soon discovered the quill and its amazing power.
I scribed endless stories that almost invariably surrounded the topic of love, for I felt an inane need to be rescued from a family that did not understand my lust for life. In my mind, King Arthur became my true love and I waited for the day when he would come riding upon his steed and invite me to sit at his round table, not as his queen, but as his knight. To my distress, King Arthur was never to be found anywhere except for in the tip of my quill. And so I led an imaginary life for many, many years.
When I finally came of age, my family was further horrified to discover that I had fallen in love with an American. An American King Arthur who became my knight, my husband, my all. I have been blessed beyond reason and am grateful for each day I have with him.
What is equally amazing is that I now have the opportunity to share my passion for stories with the public. The reason why I write romance is because it allows me to touch upon the subject of love on a much deeper, more intimate level. Many of the stories I write, many of the stories I will continue to write, will always evolve around love. And yes, gentle readers, it will also evolve around sex as I have no intention of becoming my parents and restraining my characters from what it is they truly desire to do. I challenge you, my readers, to let loose of those corsets that have been strung too tightly due to convention and enjoy 1830 to its fullest.”
For some fun facts about Delilah, check out this link to her website. http://www.delilahmarvelle.com/#!meet-delilah/cte7