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The Price of Desire    by Leda Swann order for
Price of Desire
by Leda Swann
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Caroline Clemens has just lost her father. Unlike other daughters suffering from such a loss, her grief is amplified by the fact that her father left Caroline and her four younger siblings penniless before taking his life. If not for her arrangement of marriage with the handsome Captain Bellamy, she and her siblings would be facing the workhouse.

But things get even tougher for Caroline when her fiancÚ announces that he has no interest in her now that she's no longer wealthy. He wants to marry into a rich family, and Caroline no longer fits that requirement. He is willing to make her his mistress for a paltry sum, an arrangement that Caroline quickly refuses. Distraught, she contemplates following in her father's footsteps and killing her siblings and herself to spare them the hardship of a life in the workhouse.

And then she meets Domenic Savage. Anguished by the blows that had been dealt her, she offers her innocence to Domenic thinking this is to be her last night on Earth. When she realizes she can't go through with her plan of killing her family and herself, she accepts Domenic's indecent proposal and becomes his mistress, even knowing he'll cast her out just as Captain Bellamy did when he tires of her.

In The Price of Desire, Swann does an admirable job of illustrating the hardships faced by a woman in the nineteenth century. The choices available for Caroline are heartbreaking, and it's easy to see why she would choose to be Domenic's mistress when faced with the alternatives. The period details are wonderfully done, sprinkled throughout the pages with enough care so that they don't overwhelm the story but rather enhance the plot.

Readers should be warned that this is an extremely explicit novel. Domenic spares no effort in indoctrinating Caroline into the pleasures of the flesh. Over time, he introduces her to certain scenarios that may be objectionable to readers who prefer their romance novels on the tamer side. However, those who enjoy a heavy dose of spice, alongside genuine relationships set against a historical backdrop are sure to enjoy The Price of Desire.

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