The Diligence de Lyon
by Anna Austen Leigh, historical (2009)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-540-4


Clarissa Lovell was a young woman of just the age when peaches begin to bloom in the complexion, and just the degree of beauty that causes mischief without tragedy. Worse, she was a young woman unguided by any parent or guardian; an orphan from an early age, and now come up to London with a country friend newly married and eager for the delights of Ranelagh and Vauxhall. Her schooling neglected, Clarissa had educated herself by reading her way through her uncle’s library, and as a result her head was stuffed full of poetry, yet she knew nothing about the world she was about to enter.

Upon reading the purple first paragraph of Anna Austen Leigh's The Diligence de Lyon, I sigh heavily and steel myself for a most trying time ahead.

This is a naughty read, if the sex-packed first nine pages of the book haven't already alerted you to the fact. Upon discovering a naughty book in the library of her uncle's place, Clarissa - no, I don't know if she knows it all, shut up - is soon stuffing fingers up both orifices down there when she's not spying on people having sex left and right. She's then graduating to full-blown lesbian sex by page 12 and there is no stopping her. There is some kind of plot here, about her needing to discover what "the Diligence de Lyon" means, but all I remember from this turgid purple mess of a book is shuddering as I come across one sex scene after another, these sex scenes dripping purple and exhibiting all the erotic elegance of two dogs humping away on the street.

The characters are flat, the prose is too flowery and overwrought for my liking, and the sex scenes don't work at all for me because it's all hump-hump-hump with so little foreplay or emotional component involved. The Diligence de Lyon is... well, how do you say "as erotic as a barnacle growing on one's rear end" in French?

Rating: 45


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