Monday, December 30, 2013

Late Night Reading: Welcome to the Black Room by Laura Hault

I am a huge history buff. So when I have the opportunity to review a work that takes place in another time period, I get a little weak in the knees.

In Laura Hault's The Masquerade Affair: Welcome to the Black Room, we are immersed in a time of lords and ladies, tavern wenches, and as the title would suggest, masquerade balls. These aren't your typical formal affairs, however - these parties pack a kinky punch, as well as a dirty little secret.

This was a thrilling ride all the way through, and I was definitely not disappointed in how Laura was able to weave a fantastically sexy story throughout a realistic historical context. I was appreciative of her attention to detail, an effort which resulted in me being able to enjoy myself much more than if she hadn't been so thorough.

From the blurb:
Young women should always be wary of men who promise them money, but Henrietta has no choice. With a drunken lout of a husband and only a pittance to be earned as a barmaid, she cannot say no to the lord who promises her more gold than she’s ever seen. All she needs to do is attend a party, a single night of hedonistic debauchery.  
When lords and ladies gather in the Black Room there is no telling what temptations Henrietta will be subjected to. She’ll have no choice but to give in to their pleasure.
Are you intrigued? I know I sure was! Let's break it down after the jump.

Overall: ★★★★

This was a fun, sexy, and enjoyable read. Laura did a fantastic job of making us like - and fear for - the main character, Henrietta. I was easily drawn into the intrigue of the masquerade ball, which was not only erotic, but filled with deception and behind-the-scenes deals that gave a bit of an edge to Laura's concept.

Originality: ★★★★★

Though I've seen the "kinky masquerade ball" thing done before, Laura breathes new life into it by adding an edge to the narrative, one that plays out beautifully all the way up to the end, where it not only serves its purpose to satisfy us, but also sets up some interesting questions and plot points that I'm sure will be featured in future installments.

Cover Art: ★★★★★

I've got to say, this is one of the best covers I've seen for self-published erotic fiction. The composition was beautiful, and the minimalistic colors served it well, particularly given the nature of its title.

Character Development: ★★★★★

Henrietta is a very sympathetic protagonist, and her journey is meaningful. All other characters play secondary roles, but they're still fleshed out enough to matter and play roles that are larger than mere plot devices. There are three main relationships in Henrietta's life, and no shortage of drama to be had as a result, and all were well-represented throughout the narrative.

Editing: ★★★

The only drawback to this story was the editing. I noticed multiple grammatical errors, a bit of clunky sentence structure, frequent word repetition, and syntax problems that jarred me out of the story more than once. As you well know, however, I am very sensitive to these things, and you shouldn't let my Inner Editor deprive you of the experience that Laura provides regardless!

Story Satisfaction: ★★★★★

The ending brought up more questions than answers, but in a good way. I can't wait to learn more about how events will progress for Henrietta, or how a certain new relationship might play out.

The Sex: ★★★★★

Not only is the sex beautifully written, but it's nice and steamy, too. Laura deals with the kink she writes in a very realistic way, even if what she's writing is fiction. Everything flowed very smoothly, and I never felt that she lingered too long or not enough - there was a glorious balance at all times, and it's something that I recognize is very difficult to achieve, so I can't give her enough props for this!

You can purchase The Masquerade Affair: Welcome to the Black Room by Laura Hault from Amazon. You can click on the cover art image above to be taken to its product page.

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