Fiction: “Beyond Innocence” by Emma Holly

Beyond InnocenceSo remember last year when I read Beyond Seduction by Emma Holly? Well, this is the first title in the “duo,” or whatever they call it in the historical romance field.

And after reading it, I don’t have too much to say about it. It is a silly little romance novel set in Victorian England. Actually wait, I do have things to say about it; it just won’t be a very long entry. (and Alaina’s readers rejoiced.)

There is a love triangle of sorts – Florence Fairleigh travels to London to try her hand at husband-hunting, because her pastor father died and now she has no money. She’s not aiming high; she just wants a nice man to take care of the finances, and if they get along that’s even better. She’s more realistic than romantic, and I do feel that I should make a point to let everyone know that she’s not mercenary in any way. Well, her lawyer is the same lawyer for Edward Burbrooke, an Earl who is trying to find a wife for his brother Freddie, because Freddie is gay and has a thing for footmen (oh god, not a euphamism!) and Edward is super-protective of Freddie, and he’s terrified what ~Society!~ would do if they found out Freddie liked other boys.

I can’t remember where I finally admitted that I read a lot of these historical romances, but I do know that gay romance doesn’t usually show up behind those hallowed covers. So even though it wasn’t the major romance, having a gay man try and find love in Victorian England was refreshing, even though the outcome was probably horribly unrealistic.

Also unrealistic? The fact that Edward fell into lust over Florence and that lust turned into love and they ended up getting married after Florence found out Freddie liked Frank instead. (Note: he wasn’t actually named Frank; I just couldn’t resist the alliteration.) It was extremely convenient that the love triangle between brothers resolved itself so perfectly, and it almost makes me hopeful for this season of The Vampire Diaries, but I know the CW wouldn’t turn Stefan gay just to satisfy my need to make Damon/Elena go on forever.

Uh, anyway. (Drink!) The whole “Beyond Innocence” thing? Florence is innocent, both in that she’s a virgin, but also that she doesn’t know how London society and high society really works. She is not, however, innocent as to the ways of ~~loooove. Because she’s a country girl, and she knows how procreation works. Whatever.

Overall, the book was fraught with convenience, but again, I don’t read these to think too much. I’m just happy when the main female character has her own agency and not only can make her own decisions, but is allowed to make those decisions; and when her love interest is kind to her and respects her.

And how horrible is it that I see that evidenced more often in historical romance than I do in the real world?

Grade for Beyond Innocence: 2 stars

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