The Lover
by Robin Schone, historical (2000)
Kensington, $12.00, ISBN 1-57566-570-0


I'm a little wary about a story yet about another School Me In Boinking, You Honey Bunny You scenario by Robin Schone - so soon after The Lady's Tutor and A Lady's Pleasure, both with the same scenario? And I'm not to keen to immerse myself into the fantasy of glorified male prostitution vs the always tragic depiction of female prostitution. Male prostitution isn't any less abuse-prone or degrading, if you ask me.

But this is me, who is always unable to resist the siren call of an erotic romance.

Our willing student in Sex 101 is Anne Aimes, a 36-year old virgin who, after inheriting pots of money, is willing to pay ten thousand pounds per month for the formerly best gigolo in 1800's London, Michel des Anges, to send her all the way to heaven. Since she's a heroine, of course, her choice is because she's attracted to him all along. Of course. Michel has survived a fire that left him scarred (not that ugly, mind you, to be totally ugly - our hero never neglects his Stairmaster while he's growling and recuperating).

Hence I'm presented with lots of boinking involving all feasible body orifices (that wouldn't result in painful injury, of course), blunt phallic objects, acrobatic positions, and everything short of alien mind sex (maybe one day).

But I'm left feeling quite cold.

Probably because Ms Schone has fallen into what they called The Cerebral Trap. It's like what a well-known journalist in New York once did - she tried to write online erotica, only to be trashed by various editors for being "too intellectual - as erotic as wet fish". The Lover has too much angst, sometimes weird imageries that are often incoherent and illegible (Fire! She must survive! Death! Darkness! Huh?), and a weird, almost surreal plot involving lots of dysfunctional people trying to kill our two lovebirds.

This is definitely a case where scorching sex resides hand in hand with unpleasant people and mental angst. I've no idea what the heck Michel and Annie are facing most of the time, heck, they don't even think the same things while testing the limits of human flexibility. Neither do I, for that matter. For some weird reason, pop songs from the '80s keep floating in my mind while I'm reading this.

The result is a totally Huh? experience.

Why the heck is someone trying to kill them?
(Oh hush, keep it down now, voices carry...)

Why is everyone but our two lovebirds and some sequel-ready friends so nasty, evil, and unpleasant?
(Bye bye Ms American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levie but the levie was dry...)

Oh dear, what on earth is Michel yammering about fire and death and destruction and keeping Annie safe? From what, dammit?
(But I still haven't found what I'm looking for!...)

Why can't people boink without getting mired in dysfunctional settings? I mean, the presence of nasty people doesn't mean substance. Nasty people make whatever earth-shattering orgasms the two main characters experience pale in the face of my distaste.
(I may not know too many things, but I know what I know, if you know what I mean.. do ya? Do ya? Choke me in the shallow waters...)

One day, maybe one day, Ms Schone would create a plot that sits well with her characters' energetic stamina. Preferably not another teacher-student scenario, and preferably with a style that does not require me to read it over and over again. The Lover overdoses on darkness and deliberate crypticity. It's funny, you know - erotica is a genre where the main characters (and their siblings and friends and strangers and sometimes pets) indulge in all sorts of behavior normally taboo without reservation, without qualms, without being punished. Michel and Annie, however, seem to get more tortured with each more daring act, and in the end, the happiness they find seems an inadequate compensation for the sacrifices they made in the name of the Holy Orgasm. What does that make The Lover?

Too cerebral, I tell you.

Rating: 65


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