Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Pearl On Cherry by Chanse Lowell

 Clarissa Stone never thought she had a chance to make it on stage, but a strike in 1907 at the music hall in New York City opens up a door, and she races to it. The path isn't easy, and especially not after catching the eye of William Berling Ferrismore III. Money and power have gone to his head, and he uses that to his advantage, sating his sexual appetite with the women on stage. Clarissa won't be caught so easy, but William doesn't play by the rules. How can she prove her worth as an actress with his defaming ways?

R.E. Hargrave's Review:
* * * *
I’m in an odd place as to where to begin with this review. Up front, I want it clear that this piece is well-written, the errors few and far between. Because of the author’s attention to this, and the unfortunate lack of proper-editing in the recent world of publishing, I want to firewall my rating; but I can’t. There was something about the story that just didn’t pull me in and keep me there; it took me about a month to read. You can tell Lowell did her homework, which is another huge point in her favor. However, this may be where my hesitancy comes from. There is almost too much going on the story, as weird as that sounds.

Pearl On Cherry takes place during 1907, and more specifically, is built around the Knickerbocker Crisis. For the most part, Lowell does an excellent job in keeping the reader’s mind in the time period, but there were areas where the text became more modern, and I, for one, was yanked out of the story. 

The hero is a wealthy rake, a railway heir, with his hands in the theatre and a side-project of designing naughty lingerie. William Ferrismore has dark desires that he doesn’t understand. Until he meets his ‘cherry girl,’ Will is always left feeling remorseful when he tries to act upon them. He also holds some dark secret from his past which is revealed later in the book.

Clarissa Stone is a fiercely independent woman with aspirations of performing, her special talent being a singing voice unequaled to the actresses of the day. The catch is that she belongs to the wrong social class. When she first catches William’s eye, she is the stage hand of his current mistress. What follows is a tumultuous union of two people from separate social classes, brought together by their singular need and understanding of what lies in the deep recesses of a person’s psyche, theirs in particular. 

Above all, the reader needs to remember this a BDSM erotica story so that you aren’t caught off guard at the . . . nature, of the sex. As a fellow BDSM writer, I tip my hat to Lowell for writing beautifully detailed scenes that are sexy in addition to being educational.

Clary did get on my nerves after awhile with how manipulative she can be; the girl does not like it when she doesn’t get her way. However, in balance, William who is typically strong and demanding, has plenty of ‘whiny’ moments that just don’t seem to fit his overall character. As a couple, these two were strongest during the intimate “scenes.” 

Returning to my worries that there is too much happening in the book, I felt there were numerous characters and subplots to keep track of. If you don’t, you might reach the ending not understanding everything that transpired. (My head is busy enough tracking my own storylines! I will be the first to admit that this makes the ‘too much plot’ issue mine, and possibly mine alone.) 

What I can conclude with, is that Pearl On Cherry deserves to be read and judged on an individual basis. Especially if you like historical romances. It is quite clear that the author put time, care, and pride into creating it. 

*I was provided with an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

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