Thursday, 21 July 2011

Awakened by a Kiss by Lila DiPasqua

GENRE: erotic novel/historical romance

Three classic fairytales—“Sleeping Beauty,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Little Red Riding Hood”—cleverly retold with enough sensual twists to prove wickedly ever after does exist….

Sleeping Beau: Five years ago, the notorious rake, Adrien d’Aspe, Marquis de Beaulain, was awakened by a sensuous kiss—and experienced a night of raw ecstasy that was branded into his memory. Years later, he spots his mysterious seductress—and this time, he has no intention of letting her go…

Little Red Writing: Nicolas de Savignac, Comte de Lambelle, has been assigned by the King to uncover the secret identity of the author writing scandalous stories about powerful courtiers. He never expected his investigation would lead to his grandmother's house, or to a ravishing woman who would stir his deepest hunger…

Bewitching in Boots: Elisabeth de Roussel, daughter of the King, is accustomed to getting what she wants—and she wants Tristan de Tiersonnier, Comte de Saint-Marcel, an ex-commander of the King’s private Guard. A recent injury has forced Tristan to leave his distinguished position, but Elisabeth is determined to make him see he's every bit the man he once was—and more than man enough for her.

Awakened by a Kiss is a collection of three novellas based on three famous fairy-tales: Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots. They all take place in 17th-century France in the time of the Sun King (Louis XIV).

I will begin with the aspect of the novel that I truly (and actually) enjoyed: the historical aspect. The author clearly researched the time period, which makes the stories enjoyable to read and the three fairy-tales are transformed into quite realistic romantic adventures. The allusions to the originial material are present, but they are not too obvious, which leaves it to the reader to detect them. That was a nice and fun venture for me.

However, although, in general, I enjoyed the three novellas and found the re-tellings quite original, I learned an important lesson: simply because you love fairy-tales, that does not mean you have to buy/read any book related to this genre. These three novellas are not merely historical romances; they are erotic historical romances, a genre that I do not read, not because I am a prude, but because I am not interested. I actually did not know what I was getting into when I started reading the book; I did not read the fine print on the front cover, so this is my fault.

While all three premises are very good and make for enjoyable stories, it has to be pointed out that 70-80% of each novella revolve around sexual intercourse. In all honesty, I wouldn't have minded this so much had there been some wooing, teasing and subtle seduction. No, these stories feature extremely detailed descriptions of copulation, which makes every sexual act sound like an anatomy lesson. Vulgar expressions are used, which, in my eyes, demeans the act of making love. I know one has to expect this from an erotic novel, but in all honesty, so much sex in one book makes it all rather boring, actually; things become repetitive, no matter how many different positions are practiced in a bed or on a table; sometimes, disgusting is the word I liked to use in my mind.

I don't think that I can fairly review/judge this collection of novellas because erotic romances are not my genre, so naturally I will find faults with it. I would like to say more, because I like to say meaningful and useful things in my reviews, but this must be an exception.

If you enjoy erotic romances, then by all means, read this book. I do like the general idea and the parts not involving sex, so I am not rating the collection as low as you might have expected. But really, you have to enjoy this genre to really enjoy the stories.



Jo K said...

The premise sounds good, but too bad it is spoiled by the erotic part. I don't mind sexual scenes if they mean something, but I don't like graphic descriptions and vulgarity either. I can see why you couldn't enjoy the stories, I would probably feel the same (I had similar experience with another collection of novellas).

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I avoided this collection because of the erotic nature of the stories. I prefer romantic novels because there is usually some buildup and wooing beforehand although the twist on the fairy tales does sound really interesting.

Blodeuedd said...

I am like you I guess. I just want a story and not 80 % sex

Jan von Harz said...

Erotica hmmm not my forte either, but I do love a good retelling.

Carole Rae said...

I don't mind books that are "erotic" but like Blodeuedd I don't want it to be like 80%. I want a good balance. Good review.