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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2006
Beautiful Julia Freemont is a lady, and one who would never consider marriage to a man born on the wrong side of the blanket. Unwittingly Miss Freemont makes her feelings known to the man in question, who advises her that one day she may come to regret her words.

Brandon Barrister is rich and handsome, but being born a bastard has been a strike against him with Miss Freemont, the lady with whom he is infatuated. Her scorn at his station is evident, and he has too much pride to pine for a woman who has such a low opinion of himself. Instead, he plans on dedicating his time on finding an appropriate bride.

Now Julia has found herself in a vulnerable position after her father has gambled away his fortune and in shame, ended his own life. Rather than living with her pride in poverty, Julia decides the best alternative is to become a rich man's mistress. Knowing of Brandon's high regard for her, and the debt her father owed him, she approaches him with a proposition: she will become his mistress if he will consider the debt paid in full for her services. He finally agrees, but only if she will follow his wishes to the letter: she must be willing to allow him to fully train her in the art of seduction. Only neither of them anticipates the intense passion and emotion to consume them both.....

This is Edwina (Eddie) Columbia's first published story and I was completely engrossed by it right from the start. "Mistress in Training" has both an innocent and a sensual quality to it, and I felt drawn into the private world of Julia and Brandon as he slowly yet thoroughly introduces her to the delights of the desire between them. I especially enjoyed how Eddie does not give us immediate gratification, but rather draws out the tension between the lovers so we can savor each experience between them. Their relationship is earthy was well as romantic, which is evident in the way Brandon wishes to protect Julia from the scandal of becoming his mistress and by her desire to please him in and out of the bedroom, yet still maintaining her independent spirit. The secondary characters are extremely engaging, and I especially enjoyed how Eddie has delved into the "sisterhood" of the female characters and how they support each other when desperate times call for desperate measures. I will be eagerly awaiting Ms. Columbia's next story, and hope it won't be a long wait.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2006
Personally, I think the title is probably the worst in recent memory. There are so many other more romantic/sensual possibilities! However, it does convey exactly the sexual relationship between the hero and heroine.

Julia Freemont is a society beauty who has (unfortunately in her mind) caught the eye of the wealthy but scandalous Brandon Barringer. Mr Barringer is widely known in the ton to be the illegitimate son of a duke. Julia does not welcome his interest (though she does find him attractive) as she plans to marry better than a bastard. Unfortunately, she is overheard telling her friend Isabella just that - and by the man himself. Brandon admonishes her, telling her that someday she just might regret her words.

Well "someday" comes quite soon when Julia's father kills himself leaving a shocked Julia to discover that he was deeply in debt. Being quite pragmatic, Julia realizes that a life of poverty simply will not suit her. She comes to the conclusion that there is one way for her to continue living in the style to which she's been accustomed. She will approach the wealthy and handsome Mr Barringer and offer herself as his mistress if he will pay off her father's debts. Brandon is stunned to say the least, but if she is set on this course, she'll be no man's mistress but his! He agrees with the stipulation that she will allow him to educate her in the sensual arts - his way.

Brandon spirits her away to his country estate where her education will begin. However, strange accidents have been plaguing him and Brandon has to face the fact that someone wants him dead. But who and why? Fortunately, he has a most delectable distraction in Miss Julia Freemont and he immediately begins her sensual education based upon the senses; sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. As her "lessons" progress is it only their bodies being touched or hearts as well?

I must say, this is a quite erotic read though I'd sort of consider it soft-core if that makes sense. The prose is not purple (IMO), but neither is it the more explicit (some might say crude) language of most erotic romances - no instances of the F, C or P words to be found. Definitely by a woman for women. The author builds the anticipation with various sexual encounters that fall short of intercourse (you name it, it's included!). However, for me, there were almost too many sexual situations so that by the time they actually had sex it was a bit anti-climactic for me (pun intended!). I would much rather have had more time spent in the beginning showing rather than telling us that Brandon was infatuated with her prior to her downfall. I'd also have liked to have had a bit more detail about his parents' relationship and his illegitimate status. The mystery of who wanted him dead was not particularly deep and could also have used a bit more fleshing out.

All in all a good read with a nice relationship, interesting plot, very sexy romance and some delightful secondary characters, most particularly the duke and duchess of Malvern and Brandon's man Henry. Yes there were the occasional anachronisms and Americanisms but they were few enough not to annoy. I discovered Ms Columbia when visiting contemporary author Erin McCarthy's website where she links to Ms Columbia's (apparently they are quite good friends). I'm glad I gave this book a try and will look forward to reading more in future.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2006
"Mistress-In-Training" is a super-sexy historical romance set in England's Regency period. Heroine Julia Freemont finds herself without money or status when her father commits suicide after gambling away all of his money. Rather than live in poverty, she offers to become the mistress of the hero, wealthy Brandon Barringer. Brandon eagerly accepts her offer but on his terms. He takes her to his country estate, where he tutors her in the art of making love - one sense at a time, from the eroticism of sight and sound to the sensuality of taste and touch. Soon Julia learns there is power in knowledge and uses her new talents to break Brandon's renowned self control. "Mistress-In-Training" is author Edwina Columbia's debut novel. I look forward to reading many more romances by this author!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2006
If her following books are anything like this one, her first release, I say Edwina Columbia is destined to stardom! Julia Freemont has been admired by Brandon Barrister from afar, and although she is attracted to him, she has never given him the time of day, on a twist of fate she ends up seeking his help and offers to be his "Mistress in Training". This is one hot historical romance that will have you sighing in pleasure one minute and laughing the next one. The characters possess sass and sense of humor. This great read highlights the sensuality of an era and breaks from what other historical romances presents. Don't miss it!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 25, 2006
............OOOOOOOOOOOOOH MY GOODNESS...........

Ladies this is a keeper such talent on each page i was entertain never bored and i think she did everything just right...

The hero and heroine the sexual tension buiding up with those two was good to read, their friends Amile and James were also fun to read and Isabella i hope she writes abook about her...I can not say one bad thing about this book you have to have to have to get this book and read it i promise it will not disappoint you..

And to the author such good work on you first novel PLEASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS make the second as good from a new fan...
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on July 11, 2006
The plot of this story is an intriguing one. Julia thought Brandon was beneath her because of his illegitimate birth and Brandon admired her from afar. When her father dies with debts exceeding what she can pay and continue to live comfortably, she goes to Brandon and proposes that she become his mistress. Brandon, of course, signs on because he thinks he can get what he's always wanted with relatively no strings attached. Julia thinks that although her decision will ruin her repuation it will bring her a level of independence unique during the time. Needless to say, there are deep emotions running as an undercurrent that prevent the two from getting exactly what they'd bargained for.

The plot is well written and entertaining in and of itself. That being said, the "romance" part of the novel is sensual and even amusing at times. Overall an excellent debut and I am looking forward to reading more from Ms. Columbia.
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on September 24, 2011
( spoiler alert) Sure the heroine was rude too the extreme at the beginning when she was society queen but I don't think she deserves to be treated this way when she lost everything. There was not a real connection between the protagonists in this book. Only heavy sexual tension which never really replaced romance.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 26, 2007
This book was very middle of the road. Nothing too objectionable, but not particularly memorable, either. There was detailed discriptions of sexual acts, but not much focus on the emotional journey. Sexy, but not at all romantic.
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