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This story is more a sensual novel than an erotic novel IMO. No sexual encounter occurs until half-way into the 2nd half of the story, though sex is talked about as lessons. But the talk is not explicit and uses more euphemisms and implied statements to maintain some respectability for the h. I tired of the H’s (Ramiel) Arabic nickname for the h (Elizabeth). And I tired of everything the H said being spoken in a slow, sensual, languid rate. Even though seduction was most of this story, and thus, the languid vibe was appropriate, it seemed overdone after a while. No one talks to their lover like that all of the time; do they? It could just be me. The surprise conclusions were good and not completely foreseen, at least not in the way or to the degree that the author reveals it. Overall, it’s a good story; it’s plausible and written well. But I didn’t rush to the story each day, nor did it stay with me afterwards. So….
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This is a riveting, well written, well researched, beautiful, emotionally deep, heartbreaking love story that is thought provoking, has vivid detailed imagery with it's intense atmosphere and tells of two likeable character's desperate need to love and be loved during the prejudices of the Victorian era.
Elizabeth's (a naive trapped wife and mother) desire to rekindle the sex and passion in her loveless marriage by enlisting a known sensual sexual womaniser Ramiel (aka the Bastard Sheik) who has a damaged tragic past who agrees to teach her erotic skills but promises never to touch her. His technique is to make her study the sexually explicit erotica descriptions and dialogue held within the pages of The Perfumed Garden (Arabian type Karma Sutra) chapter by chapter and return after studying each chapter to discuss, in very 'clinical' terms, the erotic meanings and merits of each one.
Their relationship eventually morphs from a mere teacher/pupil relationship by two lonely, isolated, deep characters into an intense, gripping, sexually charged mutual attraction that's dripping with passion and sizzle. Then, as these two complex characters, who are both chasing redemption and love, finally move to the obvious next stage you feel that every kiss and caress is a reverent emotional affirmation of their feelings rather than just erotica.
But intertwined throughout the emotional, tender, sweet romance there are secrets, mysteries, attempted murder, twists, unpleasant surprises and shocking revelations (which I can't even hint at as it will spoil the unfolding of this tragic compelling story) that will push their relationship beyond it's limits. A mixture of interesting secondary characters that'll have you disgusted by, smiling with, frowning or screaming at and a couple you'll just wanting to hug.
Worth a credit? I couldn't stop listening to this deep, dark, compelling book that left me emotionally drained - so YES very creditworthy.
8 of 12 people found this review helpful
On the whole it is a rather well-written story and the narrator is good. I thought the unraveling of the relationship of the minor characters a little too much to be gullible, but the book is otherwise well-researched on Sir Burton's translation.