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The Pursuit of Pleasure
Essex, Elizabeth


Title: The Pursuit of Pleasure

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Essex's Georgian-­era romance debut fails to marry drama with plausibility. British naval captain Jameson Marlowe pursues the traitors sending weapons to revolutionary France by purchasing a lovely Dartmouth home with land that includes a likely smugglers' cove. He intends to fake his death and infiltrate the gang. To keep the house from passing to his cousin, he proposes to his childhood friend Lizzie Paxton, but forbids her to actually live in the house. Contrary-­minded Lizzie naturally moves in, dangerously interfering with both Marlowe's and the smugglers' plans. While the sex scenes are sizzling, Marlowe treats Lizzie quite callously, and his patronizing attitude toward her is infuriating, even if it's period-­accurate. Their surprise at falling in love is implausible given their lifelong mutual obsession; both author and characters seem to have confused lust and love.

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