Back in May, you might remember me sharing the personal story of debut author Joy Wood – you can read it again here. She protested that she wasn’t really an author, but a nurse – and I replied that someone who had jumped every hurdle to produce a really professionally produced book that I liked the look of enough to buy had most certainly earned their title of “author”.
It’s taken me a little longer than planned, but I’ve now read her novel, For the Love of Emily, and I’m very happy to share my thoughts. Here’s the story:
Rebecca Price Jones is a young woman with a deadly secret.
Emily, her precious twin sister is hidden away where nobody can find her. To pay for Emily’s keep, Rebecca creates beautiful dresses by day and works as ‘Kate’, a high-class prostitute for female clients at night.
Darlene Milner, a rich gay middle-aged socialite becomes besotted and plans to keep Rebecca all to herself, until Ezzio Marin, a wealthy businessman with a ruthless attitude in the boardroom and the bedroom decides that he wants the same.
When the two cross paths, Rebecca’s past unravels and her secret comes out with dire consequences.
From the lavish lifestyle of the rich and powerful, to the drama of a British courtroom, For the Love of Emily is a story of murder, blackmail and passion.
If you delve into the small print of my review policy, you will find that I choose not to read erotica. It’s not that I object to adult content – I’ve enjoyed many Black Lace books in my time, and it’s a tad unrealistic to read hot romance where the action stops outside the bedroom door. But when the sex scenes are this graphic – I’m just not really comfortable reviewing it, because I’m not entirely sure what makes it good or bad. That said, I must say that the sex scenes in this book were very well done indeed: female-female is unfamiliar territory to me, but it was all very well written, and the male-female encounters were very hot indeed. Maybe there was rather more sexual content than I’m used to (Joy, if the people you met while walking along Cleethorpes seafront had known what was going through your head, they’d have been horrified!) but what really made this book for me was the story, an excellent thriller and story of betrayal and secrets that had me on the edge of my seat.
Rebecca/Kate was a really well drawn character – ok, I don’t think I know any prostitutes who service female clients, but her love for her sister Emily is very well portrayed, and the depths to which she is willing to sink to ensure she can have her properly cared for touch your heart. Darlene is a bit of a horror, distinctly obsessive and unhinged (and as for her son…!), but Ezzio is a perfect hot hero, with unexpected depth and gentleness. The background story – and how Rebecca/Kate came to be – is very well handled, and the courtroom scenes as the story plays out and all of the detail surrounding them are gripping stuff, and really well done. And there’s a strong love story too – and a moving one.
But what most separates this book from others of a similar genre – in addition to all that – is the quality of the writing. Contrary to my initial expectations, it was an excellent read – with an easy narrative flow, and natural and realistic dialogue. The whole book was well-constructed too – a good slow reveal of the key facts, a few real surprises, and breath-catching moments worthy of the best of thrillers. And all that wrapped around a story about families and their secrets, and a tender love story. I’m not going to become an immediate convert to erotica, but Joy Wood is most definitely an author I’ll be very happy to read again… and I do understand there won’t be too long to wait!