This Is My Jam – The Girl Behind The Mask by Stella Knightley

I must admit I’m a latecomer to the erotica party (you know, the kind where you leave your inhibitions at the door and possibly your car keys in a bowl) but I couldn’t fail to be intrigued by the premise of The Girl Behind The Mask by Stella Knightley. Set across two eras, the blurb promises ‘two passionate stories of love, lust and seduction that will leave you wanting more…’ and the book certainly lived up to that.

Historian Sarah Thomson travels to Venice to research the three hundred year old erotic tale of virginal aristocrat, Luciana Giordano, and the man who awakens her sexual appetite. Sarah’s work brings her into contact with millionaire Marco Donato and that’s where the sparks really begin to fly. As the plot weaves between the 18th century and present day, the sex gets ever more sizzling but you won’t find yourself skipping the pages in between to get your next fix – the story is every bit as fascinating. I found the connection between Sarah and Marco to be the most satisfying but there’s not much in it – both story-lines smoulder on the page and made me blush more than once. But there’s a lot more to this book than just sex; the characters are interesting and well-rounded, the dialogue sparkles and the setting is gorgeous. Venice is one of my favourite places, so it was a real treat to be able to immerse myself in its twisting alleyways and secret canals. Stella Knightley captured the essence of the city perfectly and its decadent past is the perfect backdrop for the steamier aspects of the plot.

So, in case you haven’t guessed, I loved this book and will be recommending it to all my friends, especially the ones who I know read Fifty Shades, in the hope that they’ll finally get how good erotica can actually be. Move over, E L James, there’s a new star in town and, boy, can she write!

As an added bonus, this is the first book in a trilogy and the follow-up novel, The Girl Behind The Fan, is out in e-book today. If you want me, I’ll be reading…

Hurt and confused by the sudden end of her strange love affair with Venetian millionaire Marco Donato, Sarah Thomson is persuaded to take her bruised heart to Paris by her ex-boyfriend Steven, who is hoping for a reconciliation.

While she and Steven rekindle their psychologically and sexually tortured relationship, Sarah tries to forget her yearning for Marco by throwing herself into a new project: a study of the life of notorious nineteenth-century courtesan, Augustine Levert, whose sensual charms parted many a man from his fortune. But when her life begins to parallel Augustine’s story, Sarah realises she will never erase Marco from her heart.

Faced with a choice between safety and overwhelming passion, will both women make the right decision?

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