I don't get many reviews these days for "Lovers and Beloveds"; I've been too busy writing "Son in Sorrow" to pursue them. But now and again one falls in my lap. This time, Maria T. Violante of Write, Read, Review has written one of the longest, most thoughtful reviews of LaB yet:
Note: I do not read erotic fiction, but I still found LAB to be captivating – almost like an anthropological study of sex, identify, gender, relationships, power, fetish, etc. Unlike your normal smut novel or porn piece, the sex is heart-breakingly realistic, full of warts and rough edges. People are attracted to individuals that fall outside of their mold – without really knowing why – and are uncomfortable with it. People have sex, not just because they are “in love” or “horny”, but for many of the reasons they do in real life – loneliness, compensation for a bruised ego, the need to feel included or cared for. One motivation touched on is power – the need to possess it, to punish, or conversely, the need to yield to it, to be forgiven. We are shown a full spectrum of relationships that crosses lines of age, of gender, of occupation. At the same time, it isn’t romanticized – Tremontine sex has as many consequences as in real-life. One of my favorite moments was the reaction of a mother whose husband had engaged in a few too many dalliances, and as a result, sired a daughter. The author could have presented the situation in many ways, but I think that with anyone, there’s a definite wish to give your opinion on the matter – to either condemn or condone – but instead, Miranda was adept enough to instead offer us the observer’s window into both the wife’s anger and resentment, and the husbands confused mixture of pride, apathy, even reminiscence – without making us feel pushed into either judging or forgiving. Without a skilled hand or a perceptive eye, the scene wouldn’t have worked; Miranda pulls it off beautifully.
Whenever someone really "gets it," I weep.
ETA: Maria is interviewing me on her site soon.