Secrets of a Wedding Night
by Valerie Bowman

St Martin’s Press
MM Paperback or ebook

My IRL friend/RWA chaptermate  has a her debut novel out through St. Martin’s Press! It’s called Secrets of a Wedding Night. Here’s the cover. It’s about a young widow who publishes a scandalous pamphlet of the same name as the title of this novel. The pamphlet attempts to educate young maidens on just what happens on a wedding night–because they are almost always completely ignorant.

Well, the widow had an ulterior motive. A certain engagement is broken, and the jilted groom-to-be comes to the author of the pamphlet for revenge … and for a seduction. For the author of the book has it all wrong about wedding nights, and he has anointed himself as her educator.

It’s really not as spicy as it sounds, with only 3 sex scenes. If the sex scenes went on longer than I liked, well no one here will be surprised. I like sex scenes to be about as long as I write them–maybe half a page, which I think is fairly typical in the sort of fantasy romances I write. For a Regency, the long sex scenes should also not be a surprise.

It is also as fun as you might suspect, with saucy conversation and eyebrow-raising oneupmanship. It also introduces two other intriguing men who appear in future installments of the Secret Bride Trilogy. And if there are a few anachronisms–mostly in the form of modernisms in the dialog–they were counterbalanced by the great atmosphere and the grim historical settings.

The hero and the heroine both are a mix of virtue and vice, which adds interesting shades of gray to their character. Lili is ruthless and likes to have her way, but she also keeps her disabled servants employed despite the personal cost, and wants most of all to see her younger sister happy. Devon is ruthless and likes to have his way, but he is a devoted father and a secret philanthropist.

I finished Secrets of a Wedding Night in just two days. It’s fun with a dash of grit, very sensual, and fast-paced. If you like Regency, there is much to enjoy here.