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Review on

Orchid Pink

By Toni Sands

Orchid Pink
Paperback, 312 pages paperback Online Price:
ISBN: 9781908766465
Format: 203mm x 127mm
Imprint: Xcite Books
Published: 28th February 2013

EPUB, 314 pages ebook Online Price:
ISBN: 9781908766038
Imprint: Xcite Books
Published: 12th January 2012

Category: Historical, Lesbian

Rating: 4.8 / 5 stars - 4 vote(s).

Demure Adelaide hides a passionate nature beneath her elegant gowns. After hiring new maid Daisy, she’s eager to introduce her to the delights of the orchid house. Enjoying Sapphic romps and determined to resist paternal pressure to marry businessman Thomas, Adelaide is surprised to find excitement in his touch and his whispered promises. Yet, when he reveals his sinister side, she seeks familiar solace.

Christmas brings snowflakes, also a vivid reminder of a heart-wrenching past. Intrigue and obsession rock this Victorian household as Adelaide’s poignant search for love leads her into storms. Will she ever bask in the sunshine? 

That night I undressed, fantasising Daisy’s fingers loosening my buttons and stays. My nipples hardened under this imaginary touch. I refused to acknowledge the danger of employing someone so capable of melting my willpower. I’d conducted my personal life with discretion, avoiding tittle-tattle, but now my longing for tenderness and laughter swamped my common sense like a deluge from a watering can. She was inexperienced for the post of lady’s maid but I could coach her, talk to her of books and society scandals. Show her pretty things. Even if I didn’t frequent front rooms and foyers, I read plenty of newspapers and periodicals.

I turned back sheet and coverlet and climbed into bed. Daisy Pook had invaded my senses and I was too alert for sleep. In my bedside drawer was something to help, something to which I tried not to resort too often. My very first lover had attempted to teach me to applaud my body’s needs. But my upbringing was a tight corset and though Ruth Carroll had loosened the stays, I still felt I was beguiled by the devil’s violin.

I dipped the dildo between my thighs, working it gradually inside me and closing my eyes to the ruffled ruby-redness of my bedroom. I needed to shoo away that shadow of prudishness. Like a scene from a magic lantern show, I saw a slice of azure sea, a half-moon of sandy cove flaxen as my first lover’s locks. Ruth had captured my heart and my soul three years before. “You need unbuttoning, Addie,” she used to say.

But now it was Daisy, her hair no less bright, dancing through my thoughts. No man had ever courted me. The thought of masculine hands fondling me where once Ruth’s fingers had lingered was … what? Abhorrent? Certainly untried.

I felt safer, fantasising about Daisy. But I shouldn’t allow myself to wonder whether or not she enjoyed the attentions of fellows or females. I mustn’t risk frightening her away. I knew this conflict between conscience and craving heralded storms. Had I made too reckless a decision?

Orchid Pink is a fascinating and complex romance with many surprising revelations. The sex scenes are deliciously steamy as Adelaide explores her sensual side first with Daisy and then with Thomas following their marriage. With well developed characters, a unique storyline and a few unexpected twists and turns Toni Sands fully engages the reader in this compelling novel of romance and life in the Victorian Era.

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This book surprised me with the depth and complexity of its characterisation and, to be quite honest, with the quality of its writing. Xcite is a blatantly erotic publisher and as such could be seen as off limits for many readers of fiction. When I saw that this novel is about a well-to-do Victorian young lady who enjoys Sapphic romps with her maid, I was wary, to say the least. What drew me in were the orchids, which are my favourite flower.

And I’m so grateful to those orchids for if I had passed this book by I would have missed something quite exceptional.

This is a very well-researched book and you can feel the depth of that research in the way it is written. I have read many historical novels that have clunky dialogue and use contemporary idioms and cadences that would have been quite unavailable to their characters. This novel, in contrast, feels like it was written by a Victorian young lady and the dialogue is simple, effective and authentic.

At first I thought it clever. Then, as I was drawn into the story, I thought it profound. The author has become so immersed in her subject that everything about it rings true. She shows great empathy for the plight of her heroine, which is a very real plight that must have affected a good many young women in Victorian England. She explores Adelaide’s dilemma in detail and we can’t help but become caught up in the drama. We feel for Adelaide as she struggles to overcome the obstacles that fate, her father, her husband and history lay across her path.

Yet, let us not forget, Xcite is an erotic publisher. So, yes, the novel deals explicitly with Adelaide’s sexual feelings. It includes masturbation, seduction, penetration and a deluge of orgasms. For the kinkier reader there’s a leather dildo and dark secrets. The sexual content is explicit, erotic and tasteful. Much of it aroused me. There are many circumlocutions but they enhanced the authenticity of the experiences and I’m glad they were there. In fact I would say that the sexual content deepened the way I experienced this story. I felt I really got inside Adelaide and understood her from the inside out.

But what I enjoyed above all about this novel was the deep, literary flavour of it and the sensitivity with which it described subtle nuances of feeling. It is a thoroughly enjoyable novel, packed with surprising observations from an author steeped in the pleasures of reading and the evocative power of words.


- Vanessa Wu

Toni Sands is a 63-year-old author of romantic and erotic fiction who lives in Carmarthenshire, Wales. A member of the Romantic Novelists Association, she has won numerous writing prizes including The Lady magazine’s short fiction competition.  A former Black Lace short story writer, her stories have been featured in many Xcite collections. Her first novella Traded Innocence was published by Xcite Books in its Secret Library range in 2012. Her new novel Orchid Pink will be published by Xcite Books in May 2013. She is currently working on a new series of erotic eBooks Knight Shades, set in medieval times, The first of those Woman of Power is out on Kindle.  She has also written fiction for My Weekly and People’s Friend. Her former jobs include Butlin’s Redcoat, minute taker for a local council, secretary, flight attendant and guest house landlady.

Customer Reviews:

Reviewed by: One World on 17th May 2012 12:02PM

Like one of her beloved orchids, dutiful and demure Adelaide Beauchamp requires the right conditions in order to come into full flower. New maid Daisy enables her to bloom again but always with the risk that Adelaide could be brought down by scandal. When Adelaide finds herself firmly in the hands of businessman and suitor Thomas Mercer, she knows there is danger but the intriguing sense of excitement is unexpected. Adelaide, however, like one of her exotic blooms, finds it hard to adapt to a change of conditions. On a journey of self-discovery through deprivation and loss, she finds fulfilment and is able to flourish.

This historical erotic novel set in Victoria London is beautifully-written by Toni Sands. Adelaide's dilemma is powerfully depicted, revealing the conflicting demands created by balancing duty and a sensuous nature. What I particularly liked about this novel (the first Xcite book I've read) was that it was very much character-driven, with a lightness of touch and flashes of wicked humour.

Reviewed by: PDS on 14th August 2012 2:39PM

Had to keep turning the pages. Steamy scenes but well written and integral part of the story. Going to look for more of this writer's work.

Reviewed by: Aquarius14 on 14th August 2012 2:38PM

If you thought of Victorian ladies as demure and under the thumb of their menfolk, Adelaide Beauchamp will surprise you and not just because of her green fingers. As for Daisy, I could hear her voice as soon as she said 'Yes, Miss.' The steamy hothouse atmosphere merges well with the decorous way in which our heroine runs her household. The bathroom scene allows Adelaide's sensual, passionate side to bombard us and once that's unlocked, just watch out! There's a good mix of young and older characters - Jimmy is particularly lovely and Adelaide has a soft spot for him. It's an interesting era and Ms Sands makes the most of it. This book should appeal to lots of readers, not just lovers of historical romance. You'll really feel for Adelaide towards the end when she discovers the extent of the duplicity existing in her own household but this review isn't intended as a spoiler. Let's just say, Orchid Pink's a keeper.

Reviewed by: K Branfield on 10th April 2012 2:49PM

Orchid Pink by Toni Sands is a delightfully sensuous romance that whisks the reader back to Victorian England. Adelaide Beauchamp\'s quiet life is complicated by her passion for her new maid Daisy. When she succumbs to pressure to marry her father\'s close confidant Thomas Mercer, Adelaide discovers an unsavory side to her new husband.

Adelaide Beauchamp is an avid horticulturist who lives an unassuming and uneventful life with her father. Never married, Adelaide\'s previous relationship with Ruth Carroll awakens her sexual desire for other women and introduces her to the progressive thinking of women involved in the suffrage movement. To protect her father from scandal after she is found in a compromising situation, Adelaide agrees to marry Thomas Mercer. Adelaide quickly discovers a web of secrets and deception hovering below the surface of Thomas\'s charming fa├žade. Will the return of her former lover Ruth provide a means for Adelaide to escape her unhappy marriage?

With Orchid Pink, Ms. Sands brings the plight of women in the Victorian Era vividly to life. With few opportunities available to them, women of good breeding were expected to marry well and provide their husband with an heir. With Adelaide, we see the dilemma facing women of that time period who find themselves caught between living up to society\'s expectations and the desire to live what would be considered by most to be an unconventional lifestyle.

Embarrassed and ashamed of her sexual attraction to women, Adelaide is easily convinced to marry a man she does not love to protect her family name. As her marriage slowly disintegrates, she finds few options available to escape an increasingly untenable situation. It is very easy to identify with Adelaide as she questions the decisions she has made. As the story progresses, Adelaide does not know who to trust as she learns unexpected information about her husband Thomas and other key characters in the novel.

Orchid Pink is a fascinating and complex romance with many surprising revelations. The sex scenes are deliciously steamy as Adelaide explores her sensual side first with Daisy and then with Thomas following their marriage. With well developed characters, a unique storyline and a few unexpected twists and turns Toni Sands fully engages the reader in this compelling novel of romance and life in the Victorian Era.

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