Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Virgin by Tiffany Reisz

The Virgin (2015) (Harlequin)
Tiffany Reisz
Grade: B
Genre: erotica
Sex scenes: hot
Source: NetGalley
The Original Sinners: (prequel) Seven Day Loan, (The Red Years): (1) The Siren, (2) The Angel, (3) The Prince, (4) The Mistress, (The White Years): (5) The Saint, (6) The King, (7) The Virgin
Romance RBC 2015: A book with a writer heroine 

For years, Kingsley had warned Eleanor that there would come a time when she, lover of a Catholic priest, would have to leave for her own good. Twice a year for six years, she and Kingsley ran through his evacuation plan if one of his five scenarios arose and it was time for her to get out … When the time came, there had been no drill, no practice run that would have ever prepared Eleanor for what she was forced to face in 2003, the year that became known as that year

Knowing that Søren and Kingsley will do all they can to find her and drag her back into their lives, Eleanor escapes and finds some measure of peace in the one place they cannot follow … with Eleanor gone, Kingsley too flees from his kingdom in New York and finds himself on a beach in Haiti. It is there he meets Juliette, the one woman he wants more than anything, and the one woman he cannot have …

The Virgin fills in the gaps about that year just before we say goodbye to Eleanor Schreiber and welcome her resurrection as Nora Sutherlin. We learn what happened behind the gates of the convent where Nora found refuge for a year, how Kingsley met Juliette and her own shocking story, and just how that conversation between Eleanor and Søren went down. Like the other books in The White Years sub-series, the main story is told as ‘flashbacks’ from the present. It’s a super-effective way of satisfying readers’ insatiable curiosity about Eleanor’s life pre-Dominatrix, while also carrying on the continuity of The Red Years. Tiffany Reisz weaves seamlessly between the past and the present, with just enough sex to whet her loyal readers’ appetites.

Boy did Eleanor get up to some naughty things in the convent. She’s determined to keep her head down and do her work (laundry, laundry and more laundry) to keep in the Mother Abbess’ good books so she doesn’t get kicked out. But on the arrival of the beautiful, young and innocent Kyrie, the convent’s newest novice, the monotony of Eleanor’s daily life is thrown into disarray. Kyrie is inexplicably curious about Eleanor’s life pre-convent and is absolutely determined to learn the truth, however terrible Eleanor keeps insisting it is. It is Kyrie who gives Eleanor a writing challenge and provides the confidence boost that Eleanor so desperately needs about the next step in her life; and so, Eleanor the writer is born. This is no more explicit than Reisz is normally, but if you’re a newbie to the world of The Original Sinners (where on earth have you been?!) be warned that there’s F/F, rape-play and edge-play abound. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Sadly, I wasn’t quite as impressed with The Virgin as I have been with the other instalments of this series. I’ll concede that I have been desperate to know what happened that night between Eleanor and Søren since it was first mentioned in The Angel, and it was every bit as heart-wrenching as I had expected, but it wasn’t anything extra that I hadn’t already known or anticipated. What was more exciting was the way that Kingsley met Juliette in Haiti and their ensuing relationship. In The Red Years, you don’t question Juliette’s part in Kingsley’s life and the Underground, but she’s got her own important story to tell. As The Original Sinners series comes to its close, I’m glad that we were given the chance to hear it.

Having followed this amazing series from practically the beginning, it’s scary to think that three years have passed and it’s almost over for Nora, Søren, Kingsley and everyone else who in their crazy, beautiful, kinky world. No other author writes quite like Tiffany Reisz and I know that once I’m done with The Queen (publishing in October) there’ll be a massive gap that I have no idea how to fill. Tiffany Reisz is the best representative that the erotica genre could possibly have and if you haven’t read any of her work yet, then go and rectify that immediately so that you can see what you’re missing.

Image courtesy of Book Depository.

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