This is a really good story, and as I’ve come to expect from Joely Sue Burkhart, the character development was incredible. You get to watch as the characters develop and grow. In some ways it seems that the plot was just a bonus. Don’t get me wrong: the plot was fantastic as well. But it is a very character-driven plot. Many of the plot points only work because of the character growth (or lack of) at that point in the story. The plot and characters are very well woven together to create a unique alternate history.
In other situations, the world of Joely’s Jane Austen Space Operas would be my favorite part of the story. It’s an alternate history featuring space travel and a matriarchal society in place of Britain’s glory days. Great stuff. I really love the world, but Joely’s skill writing characters makes this fun world seem mostly a backdrop where the characters can play.
Now – this series is not for everyone. It does feature sex, and in some cases it’s on the graphic side. This particular installment was actually light on the sex, however. I think this is because the sexual focus of this story is on pony play – and not just playing dress-up before having sex, but actually behaving equine. And here we reach the only issue I had with this story. The pony play parts were well written, don’t get me wrong. But I am not into the lifestyle, and don’t know much about it beyond what I read in fiction. Everything in HER GRACE’S STABLE could be completely accurate to the lifestyle, I don’t know. But there were times that it all got a bit much for me to take seriously.
Even with my – unease? discomfort? disbelief? – in the bulk of this particular sexual content, it didn’t overpower my enjoyment of the story. I read the book in one day because I could not put it down. The characters and backstory were fabulous. The sex wasn’t all pony play, either, and the other erotic scenes were more to my liking. I really enjoyed the book, and would happily read more from these characters, should Joely write another story featuring them. The world is fabulous, and there are even a few nods to LADY DOCTOR WYRE (book 1 in the series) near the end of this book.
Disclaimer: I received this book as a review copy.