It Stings So Sweet by Stephanie Draven

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Genre: 1920’s Historical

They vibrated with incendiary Jazz. They teemed with sexual abandon.

The Twenties were roaring and the women—young, open, rebellious, and willing—set the pace and pushed the limits with every man they met… In the aftermath of a wild, liquor-soaked party, three women from very different social classes are about to live out their forbidden desires.

Society girl, Nora Richardson’s passionate nature has always been a challenge to her ever-patient husband. Now he wants out of the marriage and she has just this one night to win him back. The catch? He wants to punish her for her bad behavior. Nora is offended by her husband’s increasingly depraved demands, but as the night unfolds, she discovers her own true nature and that the line between pain and pleasure is very thin indeed.

Meanwhile, Clara Cartwright, sultry siren of the silent screen, is introduced to a mysterious WWI Flying Ace. If Clara, darling of the scandal sheets, knows anything, it’s men. And she’s known plenty. But none of them push her boundaries like the aviator, who lures her into a ménage with a stranger in a darkened cinema then steals her jaded heart.

Working class girl Sophie O’Brien has more important things on her mind than pleasures of the flesh. But when her playboy boss, the wealthy heir to the Aster family fortune, confronts her with her diary of secret sex fantasies, she could die of shame. To her surprise, he doesn’t fire her; instead, he dares her to re-enact her boldest fantasies and Sophie is utterly seduced.

One party serves as a catalyst of sexual awakening. And in an age when anything goes, three women discover that anything is possible…

I have always been fascinated by the Roaring 20’s so when I go this book I was super excited to start it. From the first page I knew it was going to be a hard read for me as I don’t typically like first person stories.

It took me a while to get into the story because things just kept throwing me out of the story. The major one being all of the 20’s vocabulary. Some of it we know because of movies and pop culture but there was a lot that I didn’t know. I am also not a fan of wish washy heroes and heroines. And two of the stories had this problem.

Nora’s story just about drove me insane. I can honestly say there wasn’t much I liked about this story. It wasn’t until almost of the end of the story that I liked the husband. He comes across as a jerk for a good 3/4 of the book. Nora wasn’t much better, with letting Daddy control everything. When Nora finally confronts her husband about what is wrong in their marriage I began to like this story. And while I didn’t exactly love the ending it was a good ending.

Clara’s story is by far my favorite story in this book. Clara makes no apologies for who she is. You can either like her or hate her. When she meets Flying Ace Leo she meets the one person she can’t control, and while that scares her it also excites her. As Clara and Leo discover each other and the passion they have for each other. I loved how Leo knew exactly how and when to push Clara. And when Clara realized her feelings for Leo and how she reacted was perfect for them.

Sophie’s story started out great I was loving her and Robert, partially because we got to meet Robert in Clara’s story and he plays a part in their relationship. I had really high hopes for his story BECAUSE Clara and Leo’s story was so good. It was going really good and then Sophie became really wish washy. She started out very strong and I was enjoying her, especially as she was so forward thinking and progressive and then she ruined it all when she became wish washy. And then when she turned down Robert’s proposal. I understand it was for conflict reasons but I think the same thing could have been accomplished in a much different way that paint Robert in such an ugly light. He was a true hero and she made him seem less of one because he wasn’t who SHE wanted him to be.

There was so much potential in this book and I was really hoping to love it and like I said I think the Roaring 20’s was fascinating and full of great potential in regards to romance stories, but this book fell off the mark for me. I think if it had just been Clara and Leo’s story and a side story of Robert I would have liked it so much better. I felt the first story wasn’t really needed at all, other than to introduce Robert and that could have been done in Clara and Leo’s story.

Grade B

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