Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
The Pearl is third installment in Tiffany Reisz’s “Godwicks” series, a legacy romance series following the Godwick family’s love lives beginning with The Red and continued in The Rose. The Pearl picks up six months after Lia’s wedding (Lia’s story is in The Rose), and focuses on the eldest Godwick son and heir, Arthur. But in a Tiffany Reisz novel, the traditional romance format is only the skeletal framework for a delicious combination of art and erotica, and the third installment lives up to the Godwick legacy.
Twenty-one year old Arthur is in every way the responsible oldest boy in the family, constantly rescuing his younger brother Charlie from whatever trouble he’s gotten into lately. And that, of course, is how Arthur ends up with an invitation to the penthouse suite of the The Pearl to discuss Charlie’s predicament with the hotel’s young, gorgeous, widowed owner, Lady Regan Ferry. It turns out The Pearl quietly leads a double life as a high-end brothel, and eighteen year old Charlie has partied beyond his means, and Lady Ferry is willing to let Arthur pay off the debt with ten nights in her bed. Or, she can keep the priceless family heirloom Charlie offered to keep her quiet.
As with the prior installments of the Godwicks series, art is a focal point of the debauchery that ensues between the main characters. The Pearl, following the feminine double entendre of the title, focuses exclusively on famous (or should-be-famous) women painters. Reisz expertly weaves the artistic detail of the various paintings into the interactions between Regan and Arthur as their relationship progresses, and the art itself is a constant reflection of Regan’s emotional journey. I loved every bit of this concept, from the surface connection to the sex scenes to the deeper symbolism through the thread of the story.
I will say the erotica itself is slightly tamer (although let’s be fair here: this is a Tiffany Reisz novel, so we start well past vanilla on a kink scale) than the prior books, but it worked perfectly for this couple. Not to worry: there are plenty of “oh my God, seriously?” inducing scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed the balance in this installment between emotional storyline and erotica. Arthur’s submission to Regan gives him some surprising areas to explore as he grows into the man he’s meant to be, and their relationship heals something in Regan broken by her terrible marriage to the dead and unlamented Lord Ferry.
The Pearl is a satisfying erotic romance in every way, and a wonderful progress of the Godwick legacy series. I’ve re-read it a couple times now, and every time I find some new detail or connection I didn’t catch before, which for me is the ultimate hallmark of a well told, multi-faceted story. Plus I discovered some works of art I hadn’t seen or loved before this book, as an unexpected and excellent bonus. I recommend the whole series, but you could absolutely read this as a stand alone (although you’ll just go back for The Red and The Rose when you’re finished).