Kensington, Jul 2002, 14.00, 384 pp.
In 1898 Valley, South Africa, while visitor Charles Elliot teaches polo, the leader Moreton Estabrook assigns Georgiana Maitland, daughter of his lover Olivia, to have sex with the guest. Georgiana sees this as an opportunity to escape the promiscuous valley that she hates and join her father in England even if she has not seen or heard from him in almost two decades. However, though she is quite good at sex, Charles rejects Georgiana's advances.
Olivia receives a letter from her husband telling her he filed for divorce after an almost two decade separation. Moreton decides to steal the man's estate to establish a brothel there. However, Moreton's wife Lydia recognizes Charles as her son who was supposed to have died when Moreton led a deadly raid that freed her from her first husband. Lydia informs Moreton that Charles is her son. Moreton and Olivia kill Lydia and blame Charles.
Georgiana knows that her mother and Moreton killed Lydia. She asks Charles to take her to her father in England if she helps free him, but insists on traveling sex rules. They escape the compound while Moreton follows.
BLISS RIVER has an engaging concept of a remote African town settled by promiscuous English expatriates in which the pleasures of the flesh rule. However that community was never explored below the epidermis. Instead a lot of unnecessary profanity and sex seemingly for shock value abounds even when the lead characters flee across the desert with Moreton in pursuit. The African geography also feels inaccurate. Simply Thea Devine's book is erotic romance aimed for the hard core fan.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner