I know many of you may be skittish when it comes to an open discussion about sex, sexuality, and cultural mores pertaining to sensuality or pleasure. I am not. While I revile poorly written smut for the garbage it is, I will openly support those who craft well-written erotica–stories that have plots, substance, and additional value. I am not shy about that at all.
So, I’ve reviewed Emmanuelle’s first book on Goodreads, and I will be the first to say how heartily I enjoyed it. It was a pleasurable, piquant read in many ways, and I’m so glad I picked it up during her promotional week. You should consider getting a copy for yourself.
The Gentleman’s Club by Emmanuelle de Maupassant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
While erotica is not my typical fare, I enjoyed this book from start to finish. Yes, it’s got naughty scenes aplenty, and manages to push several cultural boundaries. Perhaps that’s something we all need a touch of in our lives, because, all too often, we become socially canalized, and ultimately try to impose rigid boundaries on human sexuality–an aspect of our species as fluid as culture itself.
This book, the first in a series, is set in Victorian England–a time and place where sexuality was rigidly suppressed, at least in polite society. That predilection for propriety can be seen in architecture, art, and dress, and it’s echoes are still clearly present in today’s Western Culture. But behind closed doors, sexuality was given license–at least for men. As we see in other such purportedly moralistic societies, graft and the sex trade thrived, at the expense of its women.
I found the liberal overtones to this lascivious text refreshing. Sexual agency for all is the mark of societal enlightenment, and deMaupadsant’s heroine embraces autonomy fervently. I would recommend this text–well-researched, sumptuously written, and decadently erotic–to anyone. It leaps the boundaries of genre with grace, incorporating both humor and historical perspective. The characters are vibrant, and the narrative both well balanced and perfectly paced.