Aphroditeís Club is the backdrop for another novel from Sara Bennett. In this one, Lady Portia Ellerslie, the realmís most notable widow, asks the famed courtesan for an unusual request. She wants to experience passion again, with complete anonymity and discretion.
A vicarís dutiful daughter, Portia went from her fatherís household straight into marriage to Lord Ellerslie, one of Englandís most beloved military heroes. He was much older but she came to care for him and took his untimely death very hard. Her virtuous demeanor has made her a favorite with Queen Victoria, and she does not want to lose her social standing, but she longs to feel like a woman again. Victoria would be very displeased if she were to remarry, so this may be her only chance.
Marcus Worthorne is at loose ends since he left the Hussars. He hasnít quite settled on what he will do next, but is enjoying a few carefree moments of leisure. Strolling into Aphroditeís Club that night will set him on a life-changing course.
Ms. Bennettís story is well-written, and the characters are engaging, but I felt little connection to Portia. She seemed too easily cowed by what others expected of her. She had no backbone to speak of and allowed herself to be martyred as her late husbandís widow. Marcus was a much more interesting character, but I wondered why he would be attracted to someone who cared so much about societyís opinion when he cared so little. It was a bit of a mismatch.