Proserpina “Poe” Markham has been longing to go back to Thornchapel. Thornchapel, the place she spent one childhood summer, that same summer her father won’t talk about, and that same place where her mother was last seen 12 years ago. Poe never forgot the spell the English estate caught her in, nor the spell Auden Guest, whose family owned Thornchapel, put her under as well. Poe has also never forgotten the play childhood wedding that featured her, Auden, and sultry St. “Saint” Sebastian. Poe has longed to go back to Thornchapel, but her father pleaded with her never to return.
Accepting a job in Thornchapel’s library is a dream job for librarian Poe and she imagines herself spending endless days with the estate’s books, but Thornchapel has plans for her, as do Auden and Saint. Poe’s wants to learn all of the secrets Thornchapel is keeping and she also wants to unravel both Auden and Saint. There is a pull to Thornchapel and a seductive force drawing her to Auden and Saint, as well as their small group of friends, and a carnal ritual will lead them all deeper into the sultry pleasure that only Thornchapel can provide. Their entwined fate awaits them as Thornchapel wraps its thorns around them all.
A Lesson in Thorns is the type of book that started weaving its spell on page one and I was completely caught up in the atmosphere and the characters well past the last page. It’s the type of book and series that has me intrigued and this book begins the four-part series. The series has an ensemble cast, but this book is primarily Poe’s and is told from her first person POV. There are also several passages from Auden, Saint, and their group of friends — Rebecca, the intelligent dominant; Delphine, the media influencer; and Becket, the priest — that are told in third person. It is always clear who is speaking, they all have their own stories and connection to Thornchapel, and the additional viewpoints greatly added to the story.
The basic premise of the book is Poe returning to Thornchapel. Thornchapel works as another character and sets the sensual and erotic atmosphere. A childhood ritual and a kiss bonded Poe, Auden, and Saint and they have been longing for each other, looking for each other for all these years, without quite realizing the intensity of it. Auden and Saint do have a dark past that has broken them in many ways and while they claim to be fully enemies now, the longing to be near each other is intense and Poe will bring them all back together.
There is a larger story with Poe wanting to find out what happened to her mother and the group beginning to unravel the mysteries of Thornchapel, which has a long history. It’s rewarding to discover this story as it unravels as the character development is rich and the atmosphere erotically sizzles. With rituals and submission, exhibitionism and voyeurism, intense group dynamics, and explosive emotions, this series can become your next addictive obsession as the group evokes the sensual, carnal pleasures of Thornchapel.
Note: This story features a variety of romantic pairings, including MM, MMF, FF, FFM, and various group scenes. The final relationships are still developing.