Barbara Palmer. Berkley, $15 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-27672-3
Palmer’s splendid exploration of sensual performance is much a study of erotic literature as it is an addition to the genre. Maria Lantos, a literary-minded post grad from Yale, supports herself as a student by giving special performances for one night only. Each is tailored to the particular tastes of the evening’s client. Palmer is eager to confess her fascination with historical figures and books of ill repute, and she keeps a sultry gaze squarely on her protagonist, taking a fetishist’s delight in clothing and fragrances throughout. While paying homages to classic scenes of sensuality, Palmer is unsentimental in portraying the painful and dangerous components of Maria’s descent into lasciviousness. But the artful presentations of debauchery for its own sake also contain the hope of romantic ideals. Readers will breathlessly follow Maria’s adventures to their satisfying conclusion. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/21/2014
Release date: 09/02/2014
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