This erotic romance set in the Regency period caught my attention as one of the suggestions in the sex-positive romances post comments. While to the uninitiated, “sex-positive” may seem like a given in romance and particularly in erotica, these books were suggested by the more feminist, “rigorous” standards that these books not only contain sex between the leads, but that they don’t slut-shame other women who also have the audacity to have sex. Again, for the uninitiated, this doesn’t seem like a high bar to clear, but as many of us who read a lot of romance can tell you, the practice is sadly common.
An Introduction to Pleasure is set in a Regency subculture which I imagine is completely fictional, but would be delighted to learn if it isn’t: a courtesan turned brothel madam also has a talent for matching aspiring mistresses to interested male peers. A later book in this series is about this madam, but for now, it’s the position in which heroine Lysandra Keates finds herself: trying to find a benefactor with the madam’s help. That benefactor turns out to be Viscount Andrew Callis, who is kind of a recovering rogue-slash-not dealing well with the death of his first wife.
The two have immediate sexual chemistry that fashions itself into someone’s impression of love. This is not a very sophisticated romance in terms of distinguishing love vs lust — they both are just very nice people with boundless physical attraction — but the focus on erotica makes for some of the more adventurous love scenes I have encountered in a historical romance. For that, and for the aforementioned sex-positivity, An Introduction to Pleasure is worth a read, though I wouldn’t prioritize it.