Fanning the Flames With Victoria Dahl…and Her Books

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

I was going to write a right proper review of Victoria Dahl’s new novella Fanning the Flames, the prequel to her upcoming Girl’s Night Out (GNO) trilogy, something more than OH MAH GAWD, IT’S SO GOOD. GO FORTH AND READ IT RIGHT NOW.

But that just wouldn’t be my style.

Then, after re-reading it (again) because it’s fantastic, and musing over the conversations I’ve had and/or seen in the last week since it dropped to a promotional price point of “free”, I realized words alone just won’t do it (or its author) justice.

When I first heard there was a new Victoria Dahl series coming soon, I was all

john stewart glee

Then, having bought and downloaded the book before the “free” promo price (I’m just that dedicated a fan), when I read the sexy librarian heroine was 43 and the hero a 46-year-old firefighter captain, I was all:

minions cheer

Yay for middle-aged romance characters! This was quickly followed by the bracing realization that, being less than a month away from turning 42, I am of age with this sexy, 43-year-old, horny, ballsy heroine.  I don’t feel 40-something–I swear my 30s went by on warped speed–which is a good thing as I believe age really is more a mind-set than a year. But as a reader, I usually associate myself with a novel’s heroine/female protagonist regardless of age because (and this is particularly the case with romance novels) it’s mostly through her perspective that I relate to the rest of the narrative.

Courtesy of

In fact, a character’s age has virtually no impression on me beyond giving a demographic in which to place her. But with Fanning the Flames, I am the bloody demographic and, apparently, being a 40-something-year-old woman aggressively looking to shamelessly kick-start a deliciously dirty affair is as rare and shocking as finding a unicorn at play.

i am a fucking unicornAnd then came the tweets from Ms. Dahl that told me many other women readers were having a similar response to her fantastic novella.

I have to agree with Jill Sorenson here, I usually prefer full-length novels to novellas–more bang for the buck. In Ms. Dahl’s case, this is literal. But then, I’d pretty much buy a leaflet if she wrote it, which is arguably the definition of a tumblr post. More a sexy leaflet in the case of Ms. Dahl’s tumblr.

I’ve been a fan of Victoria Dahl’s sexy contemporary books for many years. I don’t like every one but I always love her unique voice. And don’t get me started on her tendency for bearded heroes. Strewth. Ms. Dahl is no shirking violet and neither are any of her heroines. But above all, Ms. Dahl’s heroines own their own agency especially when it comes to their sexuality and Lauren in Fanning the Flames is no exception.

Courtesy of

Victoria Dahl’s heroines know who they are and take pride in that. They don’t have it all together and they often have significant screw ups in their pasts, which spur the conflict with the men and within the relationships that form the core conflicts of the novels. But they have zero conflict over their sexual desires and they make no bones about that. And in a society that seems bound and determined to return to the 50s (if not the 1850s!) and where a woman’s sexuality is contained and restrained by a culture that slut shames any woman who dares to step out of the conservatively contrived concept of “morality”, having bestselling novels that celebrate a woman not only shamelessly but proudly taking command of her sexuality (and at middle age too!) like Victoria Dahl’s heroines do isn’t just fulfilling entertainment– it’s borderline social revolution. Which drove this conversation:

Fanning the Flames tells the story of Lauren and Jake, both in their 40s, both Empty Nesters, and both out of their first marriages, though by different means, and trying to figure out the shape and direction of their individual romantic futures…which then become linked. It’s bawdy, sweet, charming, poignant, and hilarious.

Courtesy of

Come July 29th, the first full-length novel in the Girl’s Night Out series, Looking for Trouble, about sexy librarian Sophie Heyer and biker Alex Bishop, hits the metaphoric shelves. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and pour a glass of wine, settle back, and have a quickie with Fanning the Flames. You won’t regret it.

Click on picture to purchase!
Click on picture to purchase!
Click on picture to purchase!
Click on picture to purchase!

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  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    I am such a HUGE Victoria Dahl fan, that I couldn’t read your blog post–I just had to skim down and down and down until there was a link to the book. Whew. Now Fanning the Flames is safely on my kindle I can calm down and go back to read the rest.

    Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorLiz Everly

    Have your seen her tumblr? OMG. It is so good!

    Reply to Liz Everly
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  • Post authorbastdazbog

    That minion gif was exactly my reaction to reading Fanning the Flames and learning the age of the main characters. I actually giggled and gave a little cheer, it’s was so nice to read about a heroine my own age. And then to have the book be so well written and the characterizations were so alive and felt real was a gift.

    Reply to bastdazbog

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