Publication Date: 09/02/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Books
Genre: Erotic Suspense
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Books)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Barbara Palmer on the WEB: website, twitter, goodreads
WARNING: This book is inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Excerpt from, Claudine, courtesy of the author's website.
Maria Lantos is a post grad Yale student researching illicit 18th-century literature. She’s become exceptionally well-versed in the narratives of classic erotic fantasy.
She’s also Claudine, an in-demand escort specializing in sexual role play for an elite clientele. Anonymous. Satisfying. And discreet.
Until the tenuous separation between her worlds starts to crack. It begins with the murder of a stranger. Where it leads is to two men who will test Maria's limits of control and awaken her own sexual desires.
As her private nights bleed into day, Maria will discover the dangerous places that extend beyond the imagination, and secrets no longer consigned to the dark.
Barbara Palmer brings readers a erotic tale of a young woman leading a double life. A Yale student by day and a courtesan by night. The name Barbara Palmer alone should give readers a clue as to the nature of this book, given it is inspired by a royal mistress from the 17th century. Palmer gives readers all of the passion and vibrancy of Claudine's role as an highbrow escort and balances it against Maria's intellectual life as a grad student. This is that something different that erotic readers are looking for. Suspenseful, elegant, heart pounding, passionate. An excellent addition to the genre.
What I liked:
What are you expecting when you pick up an erotic novel? Obviously, strong sexual content, vivid, exciting and passionate maybe and probably some romance. Unfortunately, of late the erotic genre has become somewhat predictable. Most of the books coming out under the title of 'erotic' are dominate/submissive stories that center around clubs or resort destinations. When I picked up Claudine, I was kind of expecting more of the same. Wow, was I wrong.
Barbara Palmer was aiming for something different with her book and she pulled it off with flying colors. There were times when I forgot this was an erotic novel. That's not to say that the erotic parts of the book were bad. There was just so much more to this one. It is first and foremost the story of one young woman living a double life. When her life as a courtesan starts to bleed into her everyday life and stalker becomes obsessed with her, the action starts to ramp up. This is a face paced novel that explores sexual fulfillment and what it means to different people, as well as, adding elements of danger and suspense to round out the story.
There wasn't exactly a lot of romance in this book, which I found surprising. Maria/Claudine is very comfortable with what she wants and needs sexually and it doesn't have to be about a steady monogamous relationship. I found that to be pretty realistic in some ways. The regular boy meets girl, falls in love and lives happily ever after scenario does not work for everyone. I liked that Palmer understood that and let the reader look at sexuality in a different way here.
The suspense aspects of the story were both intriguing and exciting. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the novel and that's not usually what I expect from a erotic book. When a body turns up with Maria/Claudine's identification, bearing a remarkable resemblance to her, right down to her feather tattoo on her wrist, I got the creeps and I'm sure the reader will too. This book will twist the reader in so many directions it might take a while to untangle oneself.
What I didn't like:
Maria's backstory may be a bit uncomfortable for some readers, though I think it essential to the plot of the novel. Abuse is not a subject to be taken lightly and I believe it has it's place here. I do not however believe that all children who face abuse grow up to be courtesan's, prostitute's or anything of the like. I thought Palmer did a great job of showing that this was Maria's story, not everyone's!
If you are looking for a happy ever after, this is probably not the book for you. But if you are looking for erotica from a totally different perspective, this is just what the doctor ordered. This book is smart, it's creative, it's decadent and elegant. There are parts that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and there are parts that will make your heart hurt for the child that Maria was. This is good erotica, not the cookie cutter stuff we usually get. Read it.... it's that good!
Claudine is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
The author is a bestselling, international award-winning Canadian novelist whose work has been published in many countries. She’s writing under the pen name Barbara Palmer, inspired by the famous 17th century English courtesan and royal mistress.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Claudine by Barbara Palmer.
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