This review is of Shameless Ecstasy, a standalone from May 1989 by Thea Devine.
The book takes place on Swany Island, Georgia. One of the residents there is Sarianna Broydon, the heroine of the book. Sarianna lives with her father, Rex, her stepmother Vesta, and Vesta’s daughter, Jeralee. The relationship between Rex and Sarianna is not a good one for many reasons. Stepping into this family drama is Cade Rensell, the hero of the book. Cade was born in Georgia, left, and has now returned, with some scores to settle.
As part of Cade’s revenge plan, he and Sarianna become lovers, who are caught by Vesta and Rex in a compromising position. Despite Rex’s objections, he agrees to let Sarianna and Cade marry.
Sarianna and Cade marry, despite Jeralee’s attempts to impede the process. Sarianna and Cade relocate to Savannah and begin their married life together. They are happy on one level, but there are many difficulties beneath the surface, and two above it: Vesta and Jeralee,
Soon, after Sarianna suffers a miscarriage and other issues, she and Cade separate. She goes to Charleston, South Carolina, to live with her late mother’s cousin. Cade follows her and tries to win her back. He’s not the only one following Sarianna to South Carolina; Vesta and Jeralee do as well, who come to visit and try to create problems for Sarianna. This time, they don’t succeed.
In the end, Vesta tries to kill Sarianna but is stopped by Cade. He and Sarianna reconcile and have their Happily Ever After.
The best part of this Southern Antebellum re-telling of Cinderella is Sarianna, who is subjected to various forms of emotional and mental cruelty throughout her life. The fact that she is still capable of being a loving person is a testament to her. The sex scenes are also very good for a late 1980’s mainstream romance novel.
To be more specific, the majority of the characters in Shameless Ecstasy are thoroughly unlikeable. The cruelty that Rex, Vesta, and Jeralee exert toward Sarianna also contains sleazy elements. Although Ms. Devine tries to sell the book as a love story, there is no real love between Cade and Sarianna. He wants her for revenge against Rex, he lusts after her, and even though he verbalizes the words “I love you” to Sarianna, Cade’s actions tell a completely different story.
As mentioned, the love scenes are pretty good. They’re mildly descriptive and fairly erotic.
Vesta tries to kill Sarianna by stabbing her. She wounds Sarianna, but the injuries are not life-threatening.
The only ecstasy I felt after reading Shameless Ecstasy was the fact that it was finally over. 1.27 stars
Reviewed by Blue Falcon