Saturday, November 25, 2006
X-Libris Erotica, Omnibus One. Erotica.
- **** Dark Secret by Marina Anderson.
This was the best of the bunch, I thought. Harriet thinks she's been hired as a personal assistant to American actress Rowena, but she was actually hired as a catalyst to upset the sex/romance triangle between Rowena, her director husband Lewis, and her brother Chris.
Lewis proposed the experiment with a two-fold purpose: to use the presence of another woman to break up the incestual relationship between Rowena and Chris; and to plot out the course of what he expects to be his finest film.
Harriet is the only one not in on the scheme, and it's soon apparent that she's the wild card, and she affects them all in ways they hadn't predicted.
There's plenty of sex, of course, but there's also a lot of emotional and plot content to it. The incest was icky, but as it was consensual and not coerced at all, it could have been worse. I wasn't sure about the need for the bit about making a movie at first, but it provided a good framework and reason for both Lewis and Rowena to stick with the charade even when things started to get sticky.
- ** Sisters Under the Skin by Vanessa Davies.
This one, I didn't like. Half-sisters Louise and Gina are reunited after a 10-year estrangement when Louise leaves her husband and, having nowhere to go, asks Gina if she can stay for a while.
Turns out that Gina's lucrative job is as an exotic dancer and sometime prostitute, and she lives with her lover Ahmed, who owns the club where she's the headliner.
You can see where this is going, right? Louise decides to dance to earn the money she needs. It takes her a whole weekend to become great at it. There's a lot of what seems like juvenile snickering going on--oooh, she showed her boobs!
Near the end, there's an attempt at a role reversal, which could have been good, if I'd cared about either of the sisters. I didn't. They were both unpleasant and self-righteous (if that term can be applied to a person who looks down on someone who's reluctant to join in a sex-and-drug orgy), and the only interesting character was ex-porn star Rick who was trying to make a new life for himself, and who had far too small a role in this story.
- *** Educating Eleanor by Nina Sheridan.
This one also starts with a woman, Eleanor, leaving her husband, and needing money. Eleanor is a non-fiction writer, and her agent's latest project is for her to work with sex researcher Marcus Grant on a book about awakening a woman's sexuality.
She is, of course, resistant--in large part because she feels her low libido caused her husband to "turn gay." She's persuaded to collaborate, but only if she can test out his theories on herself, because she's planning to prove him wrong, though subconsciously hoping he's right.
Marcus's theory is that by exploring various facets of sexuality, a woman will learn what turns her on, and she'll become more sexual. His list of facets is pretty simplistic: massage, pornography, exhibitionism/voyeurism, lesbian experiences, and S&M; and Eleanor's response to the tasks was almost unbelievably naive.
Still, the story was saved because of the non-sex aspects. The collaboration and experiment have consequences neither of them anticipated, both emotional and sexual.
Categories: Books, 4stars, 3stars, 2stars, Erotica
I only seem to like erotica written by one author -- Anonymous. She gets around :)
The second two were dull. The first one--it was the contrast between expectations and outcomes that got to me. And the incest was squicky, but it was supposed to be. It wasn't a great story, but it wasn't bad, especially in comparison with the other two. :)
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