The Summoning comprises two erotic novellas, one set in 19th century England and the other in present-day Ohio, that connect and overlap. Author Hemenway Stephens not only manages two large casts of characters but also does so with erotic verve and a great sense of humor.
“The Clearing” tells the story of Anna, daughter of a wealthy lord and secret business partner of his servant Guillame. Any formal ball or gathering finds Guillame calling Anna away to perform sexual favors for a variety of clients, all related in stories lush with period detail and farcical fear-of-discovery scenarios. When these two admit their feelings for one another, revelations come to light that threaten their happiness, but all’s well that ends well and they find their bliss at last.
Melissa Marley discovers her sexual potential in “The Awakening” when she finds a manuscript relating the exploits of the first novella. As she blossoms, the effects spread to everyone she encounters, and her life occasionally becomes unstuck in time, merging with the story she’s read. The notion relayed here that Melissa was a brittle, graying spinster at 40 is laughable, but it allows her transformation to be that much more dazzling. While she doesn’t follow a predictable path, she does find love by story’s end and has several steamy encounters along the way.
Stephens has combined erotica, humor, fantasy, historical fiction and contemporary romance into something fabulous and fun. A smattering of typos is unfortunate, but they don’t detract too terribly from the experience. The Summoning is explicit, hot, intelligent and funny. Don’t miss it.
BlueInk Heads-Up: The Star designation is offered with the understanding that the book’s copyediting issues remain in need of attention.