Hot Under The Collar by Jackie Barbosa

March 28, 2014 Erotica, Historical, Reviews 4

a caucasian man leans in to kill a blonde woman in the foreground of an ancient manor homeHot Under The Collar was purchased in 2012 and then promptly placed in the TBR pile where it languished until recently. When Courtney Milan suggested we all review Jackie Barbosa’s work as a show of support, I had already begun reading it. (The problem I have with Jackie Barbosa is that I love her voice but I’ve lost interest in erotic fiction. When we’re out of bed, she’s one of my favorite authors. When we hit the sheets she’s just as skilled but I’m wandering off.) With all of those caveats and disclaimers in place, I really enjoyed Hot Under The Collar.

Barbosa avoids a number of pitfalls in her fairly conventional setup of reluctant Vicar and former Courtesan. The first, of course, is that the pairing is completely expected. Vicars never seem to fall for young women of deep faith and enduring piety. The second is that Artemisia, the courtesan in question, is not unknown to Walter, our vicar. Before his injury in the military Walter was an underfunded pleasure seeker who admired Artemisia from afar. There was a danger that she would be something he earned, the nice guy rewarded with the dream girl. Barbosa does a good job of having them earn each other. Artemisia is lonely, yes, but she’s not desperate. Walter is not obsessed with her because of her former status but because he enjoys her as she is then and now.

Hot Under The Collar presents two facts about Artemisia and Walter early then leaves them alone. Walter’s injury is manageable. He’s not impeded in his life nor obsessed with it. There’s no detailed scar kissing scene or wallowing in man pain. He got shot, it sucked, he moved on. For Artemisia’s part she was ruined and subsequently is infertile. These are facts in her life, not tragic flaws. Walter explains he cares about neither and he means it. She doesn’t run and hide from who she is or from his acceptance of it. The objections and obstacles to their relationship are appropriate and appropriately dealt with. I understood the reason for one late arrival’s introduction but he wasn’t needed. Walter’s discovery that true faith adds to lives instead of diminishing them worked without it.

If Barbosa ever decides to write a full length standard Regency I’m completely in.

Final Assessment: Avoids some obvious pitfalls while remembering to keep the romance in erotic rom. A-

Source: Purchased copy

Series: Lords of Lancashire: Book Two

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Meoskop

Meoskop's first non-compulsory book review was in 1973. Although a hit with the 3rd grade, concerns raised by the administration necessitated an extended hiatus. Reviews resumed in 1985 but the concerns are ongoing.

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4 Responses to “Hot Under The Collar by Jackie Barbosa”

  1. Ridley

    I’ve also read this one and totally enjoyed it. I liked how the heroine was basically forced into her profession but she wasn’t too good for it. It wasn’t her first choice, but she retained as much agency as she could and took whatever pleasure in it she could find. Her father’s unconditional love for her was also a bonus.

    While people can argue that slut shaming would be period appropriate, all the hermetically-sealed virgin courtesan heroines and judgmental families can feel like a stand-in for a reader’s disgust for a sexually experienced woman. I liked that Barbosa left that element out.

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  2. Meoskop

    I’d argue it’s not even that period appropriate. Then, like now, the levels of shunning depend on the company and the offense. Of course the middle class small town would have issues, and certainly potentially concerning their vicar, but history abounds with counters to our assumption of piety.

    Wow, that sounded stuffy. I’m in a McDonald’s, it makes me feel classy.

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  3. pamela1740

    This title is new to me, and I love it, as I have sort of been keeping a list of vicar heroes, starting when I read and reviewed Julie Anne Long’s A Notorious Countess Confesses. That also uses the clergy/courtesan matchup, but in that case I didn’t find it as much fun as the other Pennyroyal books, largely because the heroine spends most of the book making sacrifices and “atoning” for her lurid past (it was one of those ones where she’s been widowed and forced into becoming a notorious kept woman, because she’s responsible for the welfare of other family members, not for herself). Anyway, I’m looking forward to checking this out and I wonder if the courtesan and cleric is more of a “thing” than I realized…

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  4. Tina

    Weirdly I am in an historical romance mood lately. I say weirdly because I have been over hist-roms for a long while now. I liked this review and I have a lot of $$ in Amazon credits thanks to the lawsuit. So I decided to grab this. Lo and behold, I already own it. Got it in 2012 also. LOL. I think I’ll give it a go tonight. Thanks for the review.

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