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Sex Is All Metaphors
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Holiday Ghosts
Love and Romance
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Trying to Make It Go Away
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A Flash of Northern Light

Marianne! A Journey Round A Golden Sun

by Simon Lowrie

Book Review by Lisabet Sarai


Marianne! A Journey Round A Golden Sun

Anyone who has read my reviews will be familiar with my oft-repeated opinion that eroticism has little to do with the physical aspects of sex. Graphic descriptions of foreplay or intercourse may be arousing but they become erotic only when filtered through the lens of the characters' emotions. In my view, erotica deals primarily with desire and only secondarily with its fulfillment.

Based on these criteria, Simon Lowrie's intriguing novel Marianne! A Journey Round A Golden Sun is one of the most erotic things I've read in quite a while. Fundamentally, it chronicles an intense but impossible relationship, mutual desire and love that can never be truly consummated due to the essential natures of the characters.

Simon (the novel's protaganist) and the exquisite, mercurial Marianne of the title share a special bond. They have been something more than friends ever since Simon rescued Marianne from a girlish scrape in a shopping mall. As Marianne cuts a broad swathe through the armies of men she attracts, she always returns to Simon. She confides in him, seeks his advice, revels in his comfort. And she teases him, cruelly displaying tantalizing bits of her perfect anatomy, raising his lust to fever pitch but never allowing him to touch her. 

Simon adores her enough to live within the constraints she imposes, as long as he still has her trust and her occasional companionship. He is not deluded—he knows that she is taking advantage of him—but he's willing to accept her terms in order to bask in her presence.

As the novel opens, Marianne appears at Simon's door, battered from a fight with her latest swain. As usual Simon succors her and she tortures him, until something snaps. She attacks him, then begs forgiveness; he administers a punishing spanking in order to restore the balance of their relationship and purge her guilt.

Simon's assumption of a dominant role sets a chain of events in motion that bring the two temporarily closer but then tears them apart. Marianne gives herself to an alpha male named Mark who forbids her to see Simon. Simon adopts Sophie, a lovely young co-worker who adores him, as his household slave, but without Marianne, his life is empty. Paradoxically, it is the delicate but determined submissive Sophie who ultimately holds the key to unlocking Simon's and Marianne's dilemma and allowing their peculiar but potent relationship to flourish.

Simon's attraction to Marianne is deliciously perverse. Although he proves himself (rather surprisingly) to be an effective Dom, he takes a kind of kinky pleasure in the suffering provoked by Marianne's teasing.  His fascination with her knickers and her glorious bum evoke echoes of many a British corporal punishment fantasy. It's vividly clear, however, that their connection is far more profound than mere sex. Even the flighty, bitchy Marianne recognizes that her ties to Simon are something sacred. In fact she cannot live without him in her life (though not as her primary lover or master) any more than he can live without her.

Marianne! reeks of sexual desire, but in fact offers little in the way of explicit sexual description. The spankings and other D/s activities in the novel are depicted in some detail, but penetrations and orgasms are dismissed in a sentence or two. This does not in any way reduce the erotic impact of the tale. It simply focuses the reader's attention on the emotions of the individuals involved.

The tale is competently written, especially the witty dialog. As the novel progresses, Mr. Lowrie narrates some of the chapters from Marianne's and Sophie's perspectives. I found this a bit disconcerting. Though I recognize the plot constraints that influenced this authorial decision, Simon's disappearance from the pages diluted the emotional tension. One problem was that I found it a bit difficult to understand why Simon (and everyone else, for that matter) views Marianne as such an extraordinary woman when she acts like a selfish spoiled brat with little if any maturity, insight or compassion. Being in Marianne's head did not dispel this impression of her.

On the other hand, I never doubted the purity and force of Simon's desire. Mr. Lowrie conveys   this awful state of obsession with perfect conviction. This force propelled me through the novel, leaving me awed, breathless, and aching.

If you are looking for a literate, provocative exploration of perverse love, I recommend this book.

Lisabet Sarai
May-June 2010

Marianne! A Journey Round A Golden Sun
(eXcessica, 2009; ISBN 1449521479)
Available at:  Amazon (Paperback) | eXcessica (eBook)

© 2010 Lisabet Sarai. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

About the Reviewer: More than a decade ago LISABET SARAI experienced a seredipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published six erotic novels including the BDSM classic RAW SILK, two short story collections, several novellas, and many individual stories in both print and ebook anthologies. She has also edited two multi-author print collections and is now the editor for the single-author charitable erotica series Coming Together Presents.  Lisabet also reviews erotica and romance books for the Erotica Readers and Writers Association and Erotica Revealed.  Lisabet lives in Southeast Asia with her husband and felines. She believes that imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
- Visit her website, Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory for more information and samples of her writing.
- Drop by her blog Beyond Romance to learn about her latest antics.
- Join Lisabet's List on Yahoo for exciting chat, contests, and up-to-date information on publications and events:

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