If you were a virgin and a spinster in your mid-thirties, would you part with ten thousand pounds for a month with the most skilled seducer ever to wrinkle the sheets? Anne Aimes does, and this Victorian feminist buys herself four weeks with the best of them - Michael des Anges!
Known for her disturbingly erotic fiction, Robin Schone has created one of her most interesting characters in Michael "of the Angels", who is renowned for his ability to bring a woman unsurpassed pleasure. (His name was earned by his skill in helping his clients "see angels". Hmmm.) Unfortunately, these skills were learned the hard way - during a life of sordid exploitation, when his only glimpse of light was offered by friendship with another young man, Gabriel. Michael, now grown and free (in some ways) of his previous enslavement, exists in an emotional void, still carrying both internal and external scars, giving and taking pleasure on a whim yet never allowing the real person within to emerge. Both Michael and Gabriel now live in London, and it is at Gabriel's House of "Pleasure" that Michael sets eyes on Anne for the first time. His meeting with Anne surprises him - she offers him more than she realizes with her scandalous suggestion.
The couple's exploration of their sexual attraction is explicit and intense. You shouldn't be reading this book unless you're ready to experience an amazing assortment of sexual encounters, but if you are ready to be part of this affair, then you will also participate in Michael's journey back through the pain and horror of his past to the possibility of a future - one which Anne has unknowingly uncovered.
There is a nebulous plot going on here between the sexual olympics - but it is necessary to pay strict attention to each and every line of dialogue to figure out what is actually happening between not only Michael and Anne, but Michael and the man who is a serious threat to his existence. Of all the characters - yes, Michael included - I found Anne to be the most fascinating. She has to overcome thirty-six years of strictly enforced attitudes to let herself be free with Michael - and it is not unlike watching a rose opening from a tight bud to a lusciously full bloom. Also interesting is the fact that her last name is a version of the verb "to love" in French - an offering perhaps to Michael des Anges?
I have to add one thing.
I wish Ms. Schone wouldn't write such short paragraphs.
Like a staccato round of gunfire.
It's really annoying!
And it lost her a half point in my ratings!