by Delphyne DeRouge

April 2003
ISBN: 1-59279-102-6
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This book is the first in what promises to be a fascinating series. The concept of a Civil War brothel and the adventures of its denizens is tantalizing and unique, and Delphyne DeRouge is to be congratulated on a wonderful setting for her tales of sensuality and suspense.

The Madam of this brothel is a marvelous character herself, and although this book is titled Lacie it is Estelle, the owner, who steals scene after scene. Her strength, intelligence, overwhelming sexuality and her love for her soulmate, Colonel James Goodwin, tower over most of the other characters in this particular story. It is easy to see that Ms. DeRouge is seeing this tale through Estelleís eyes and hearing and feeling what Estelle hears and feels.

The plot is neat, tidy and cleverly crafted, with the loose ends tied up and the settings word perfect. Iíve heard it said that Civil War stories are not the most popular, but here is one book that will certainly go a long way to disprove that statement.

My only complaint? Too short. At twenty thousand words or so, itís a quick read with only a glancing nod to some other very interesting characters. Lacie herself could have used more expansion, but the nature of this format seems to permit just so much development and no more. I note that Selia will be featured in the next story, and I am looking forward to it. Perhaps someday we will see all Maison DíEstelleís girls bundled into one large volume. That would be worth waiting for.

Reviewed in April 2003 by Celia.

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