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Customer Review

17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Research, Bad Editing, A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY, September 29, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Potent Pleasures (Enchanged Pleasures) (Hardcover)
I purchased this horror of a novel based upon the rather enticing review, before the book was released. I'll never do that again!
Many, many error of historical reseach populate this book - I'm glad I wasn't the only one that picked up on the major wanting to become an admiral - gaff isn't the word for that one!
But there was one error of historical fact so key to the story that made this book absolutely unreadable - the infamous "Hookers' Ball."
Anyone who bothered to do any sort of basic research would have learned that the term "Hooker" (meaning a camp follower, but later to exclusively refer to a low class prostitute) derives from the American General Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker, a Union general from Hadley, Massachusetts, whose name became synonymous with prostitutes because of his business-like handling of camp followers, known then as "Hooker's Second Army." And Ms James - FYI, the American Civil War was fought from 1862 to 1865 - a little after the Regency period.
Not only is this a "schoolchild's fact", a brief check in a decent dictionary would have provided the origin of the word.
Furthermore, there would never have been a "Hooker's" Ball. "Hookers" in the correct historical perspective were camp followers, unattached women who followed armies to tend to enlisted men in both a sexual and menial capacity, doing laundry, cooking, sewing, as well as serving as sexual conveniences. They were considered the lowest form of prostitutes. In the "civilian" context they were equivalent to "streetwalkers" in Regency England.
A fancy dress ball to introduce professional streetwalkers to wealthly gentlemen ? I DON'T THINK SO. That's why they walk the streets.
Only the more exclusive of prostitutes would attend such a function - the "demimonde" - higher class women who had the looks and training to obtain long term "contracts" with such wealthly men.
Ms. James is aspiring to a Mary Balogh-like sensibility - but unlike the excellent Ms Balogh, her characters ring false with every action and word - her "wounded" heroine, after wallowing in her pain and grief, seems to miraculously recover after having to have dinner all by herself, to the extent that her entire personality changes from a shy loner filled with self-doubts to an exhuberant social butterfly, strong and confident. As for the "floppy poppy" - he is beneath contempt, or rather, his depiction is - inconsistent doesn't even begin to describe this moron. He tries to be the classic "romance misogynist" waiting to be reformed- but all we get is a whiny, foolish twerp who can't make up his own mind.
Ms James - I would, as well as the many, many other disappointed purchasers of your premier novel would like an apology. If you are planning to write another novel - I suggest you hire somebody to check facts. Otherwise, stick to teaching.
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