Romance Books

#BookReview – “The Journeyman’s Trial” by Lisabet Sarai

Book Review graphic


If she builds it, will they come?

Technically brilliant and thoroughly wanton, Gillian Smith has found her vocation: designing innovative erotic devices for the Toymakers Guild. Lust is a lubricant to creativity at Randerley Hall. But what happens when two Toymakers fall in love?

The Guild’s tribe of talented, uninhibited engineers has embraced Gillian as one of their own. Edward Thorne, the perverse genius who founded the Guild, undertakes to train her in the skills she’ll need as a journeyman, from practical mind-reading to transcendental orgasms.

As Gillian labours to impress the charismatic Master, her enigmatic fellow journeyman Rafe both entices and frustrates her. Their passion seems to go beyond mere appetite, but in Randerley’s promiscuous and permissive environment, does love make any sense?

When the Toymakers receive a commission to equip London’s most exclusive brothel with the latest sexual technology, Gillian has the chance to demonstrate her formidable abilities as well as to help Rafe exorcise the demons of his past. She doesn’t realize she’ll be forced to choose between Rafe and her future in the Guild.


In book 2 of the Toymakers Guild trilogy, engineer Gillian Smith belongs to a secretive, selective guild that only admits highly intelligent, open-minded, and sexually free people into the fold. Gillian has been with the guild for a few months, but she’s already been promoted to an esteem position and is tasked with contracting a potential new client who wants some sexual toys and the like created for a prominent London brothel. Gillian is more than up to the task, but her personal life soon clashes with what’s good for the guild and lands her in trouble.

I haven’t read the first book in the series, but I had no trouble following along with this one. Gillian is a great character. Her sexual adventure and lifestyle are entertaining and full of intrigue, pitfalls, heartache, and even love. This erotic romance veers more toward erotica than romance, however, so there isn’t a HEA or even a hero or second heroine to complement Gillian’s character. It’s truly Gillian’s story about desire, self-discovery, and finding family and acceptance. There are MF, MFM, MM, FF, and more couplings, so there’s no end to the variety of situations Gillian and her various partners find themselves in. Even though Rafe, a fellow journeyman, is set up to be her romantic love interest, I kept rooting for her to fall for Master Edward or the duke, Roderick, who happened to be the villain in the previous book. I always love stories that feature villains who turn over a new leaf, so I was a big fan of Roderick.

I enjoyed the story a lot, but the sheer number of sex scenes, while super hot and compelling, slowed the pacing a little. The description, detail, and language firmly set the story in late Victorian England, which was wonderful, and Ms. Sarai definitely knows her fair share about engineering to have given life to all the ingenious contraptions and inventions in her story.

If you like to read books that feature a strong female lead who’s not afraid to be herself and have lots of fun, sweaty romps, then I recommend you check out The Journeyman’s Trial. I’m more than interested to know what will happen next for Gillian and the rest of the guild.

5 Stars

— If you’ve read this book, I’d love to know what you think of it. Please comment below.