Robert and Arabella

Kathleen Winsor, Author Random House Value Publishing $14.95 (244p) ISBN 978-0-517-56078-5
Winsor's latest exemplifies changes in public attitudes since her bestselling Forever Amber was deemed shocking. It was certainly innocuous, compared to the saga of Robert and Arabella. Set in France during the year 1315, the story begins when Arabella, a 14-year-old princess, meets Robert, a gypsy. At her urging, Robert introduces Arabella to sex, and they become obsessed by each other. Most of the narrative is devoted to minute descriptions of the couple's inventive, acrobatic carnal adventures. These occur at stops when Robert and Arabella rest from fleeing the king's men, bent on murder. The girl's pregnancy and induced abortion temporarily halt the erotica, which otherwise dominates the novel until the predictably tragic close. The author's research presents some details that the squeamish will find hard to bear. Arabella witnesses captives who are blinded and forced to kill each other in horrible ways, for the diversion of eager spectators. The author's reputation will probably attract readers but her new book, supposedly about undying love, is really a fantasy of epic lust and implausible characters. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986
Release date: 03/01/1986
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