Author: Charlotte Featherstone
Addicted is a sensual, poetic and moving story which offered so much more than I was expecting from an historical erotic fiction.
Featherstone has such a beautiful way with words and that is made abundantly clear from the very first page with her description of Lindsay’s seductress. I have never been enslaved to something the way Lindsay has but I have loved someone who was. This made Featherstone’s descriptions that much more powerful, and that much more heartbreaking.
Like many addicts Lindsay begins the book telling us how he is not addicted, he can give up any time, he is still in control but his descriptions of his seductress tell us otherwise. Lindsay’s description of opium is beautiful and poetic, it speaks of the drug as a mistress and the habit as an affair – and that’s how it may have started…
Addicted is set in 1850 England amongst the titled and less than exemplary examples of moral noblemen. Excess is the flavour of the men and many of the women desire nothing more than to make an advantageous match, regardless of the lengths they need go to. These are the foundations this story is built upon. If it wasn’t for a penniless, title-diggers scheming the entire story would have played out differently.
East and West collide in the opium dens that have sprung up through London, as well as in some of the nobles homes. The dens are about more than just the opium, they generally incorporate many Eastern features. The silk curtains and cushions, oriental beauties for the carnal pleasures that go along with the opium high and the whole atmosphere of the dim smoke-filled rooms.
There are some very predictable elements of the story. The premise begins with childhood friends who have loved one another forever but neither was brave enough to let their feelings be known to the other for one reason or another, not terribly original. Finally the friends let their feelings be known, there’s a betrayal and misunderstanding and the two are torn apart before she falls into the arms of his best friend, been done before. The big twist, I picked that from the beginning so no great surprises there – though I must say that there were elements of that which kept me wondering. The story of uncontrolled vice ruining your life and the lives of all that love you, been done.
Having said all of that Featherstone makes this worth reading every word, she makes it unique and she gives it a haunting, beautiful quality that I was not expecting. The pain, the love and the longing are so raw, so real that you can’t help but be drawn into the pain of the characters. You want to rail at their choices but even though you can’t agree with them you can understand why they were made and through it all you want to see love conquer all.
Life was very different in the mid 19th Century which is something I need to remind myself at times when reading of the period. There are decisions made and things done that I simply can’t fathom, so I need to remember that what is acceptable now was unheard of in those times.
Anais is a lovely young lady, buxom and blonde, but never quite enough for her mother so never allowed to truly shine. Always dressed down at her mothers command and made to feel that she was too big, and not pretty enough. But she shares a close friendship with Lindsay, and a secret love for him that she doesn’t think could possibly be returned because she’s so ungainly.
Lindsay is a handsome young man with a drunken philanderer for a father. He has grown up too quick and is always afraid of becoming his father. This fear stays his tongue from confessing his love to Anais because they know each other so well she will know he’s not worthy of her. His fears and his passion see him start to dabble in opium as a way to resist the temptations of Anais and stop him from turning to drink like his father. I can understand his reasonings but it was an extremely epic fail that saw him risk much more than he ever imagined.
Featherstone has handled the dance of lovers, and addicts, well. There are times where it seems the drug is not the only addiction and this was handled beautifully. Lindsay’s feelings for Anais and opium at times seems interchangeable and even Anais’ feelings for Lindsay fit that same pattern. All of Featherstone’s characters are flawed and that just makes them more believable and more relatable.
I was invested in these characters from early on and though at times I wanted to slap some sense into them I always felt for them, and at times my heart broke for them. This was so much more than I expected, and on that note I don’t think I have addressed the erotic of this erotic fiction and I fully intended to, having thought on it much this morning.
Many erotic fictions seem to use that word that makes the skin of most women crawl, they use it lots and they totally turn me off. Featherstone uses it, not as many times as she could have but she does use it. Quite often she uses a word I had never heard of and am sure have never seen used before, I must say I very much preferred it to the other though it still stopped me a moment while I registered it as an unknown word.
Addicted is more about the relationships than the erotic scenes and there are not as many in the book as I expected, those in the beginning were memories and dream scenes rather than actual happenings. The scenes are hot but even still the graphic ones are much more about the emotion and the passion than the carnality of the act.
I really enjoyed reading Addicted and would recommend it, I discovered today that there is a second book focusing on another of the characters from this book and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for it.