When Carolyn passed me this anthology, I didn’t know what to expect. It’s tagged as The Thinking Woman’s Erotica, so having abandoned Fifty Shades of Grey, I decided to give this a shot.
I was going through a reading slump, where I had over endulged in all things paranormal and really needed a change. Somehow, the fates conspired against me, for this collection certainly has paranormal elements to each of the shorts.
This is the first part of my review for this anthology as there are 9 stories in the book. My review will be split into three, with my overall thoughts on the book contained in the last part. So sit back and let me share with you my thoughts on Tremble.
If you had read some of the traffic on Twitter between me and the other reviewers, most notably Carolyn, you will have noticed how I could not stop chuckling at this short.
The story opens on our heroine, Dorothy, returning to her place of birth after a particularly bad break up with her married ex-lover. She is now living with her very old grandmother in a small cottage in Wales. Her family has an eccentric history, with each woman in the family living life as a spinster. True, they may leave the village, but all will return sometime pregnant. Dorothy is the exception to the rule.
After her grandmother passes away, Dorothy inherits a mandrake root, which she plants. Now, here is the part that had me cracking up. Somehow, the mandrake root changes into “A DISEMBODIED PENIS” and wakes Dorothy up in the morning. Yes, people. You heard me right! For the rest of the story, I could not get the image of a penis walking around the cottage on its testicles, chasing after our heroine.
It certainly lightened the mood and showed how the author had a very wicked sense of humor. The penis seemed to grow (excuse the pun!) a personality and became a friend to our heroine. It also somehow gave her confidence and a worldly glow that made her become more attractive to the opposite sex.
There is a rather, how can I say this, interesting scene, where Dorothy decides to get intimate with her new “friend”. It’s steamy and rather hot to read. It also puts a whole new slant on the term “sex toy”.
Now at this point, the story could have just been cheap titillation, but the author cleverly crafts a deeper story with the introduction of a rather arrogant visitor to the village, Stanley Huntington. I won’t spoil it too much, but I guessed the connection between Dorthoy’s family and Stanley’s family almost immediately after his family history is revealed. What I didn’t expect was how the story ended. What started as an almost comical story, turned into something much darker. Thus the tone of the entire collection was set. (4.5/5)
This was a dark tale right from the get go. The whole story was about prejudice in a small town and how it takes only one small thing to set off a chain reaction.
In this case, it’s the arrival of our main character Jacob. Jacob comes from a long line of rainmakers, shamen who can, unsurprisingly, bring rain to the drought hit towns and cities. Yet, to quote Rumpelstiltskin from the TV show Once Upon A Time, “Magic has a price”. In this case, in order to make it rain, a woman must volunteer to sleep with Jacob.
This doesn’t sit too well with the men and the priest of the town. Yet, when someone does go to Jacob and surrenders to him, the town at first begins to rejoice. No one knows who it is and though they are curious, they don’t care. Yet, with more and more sacrificial lambs volunteering for this duty, it seems that too much rain is just as bad as too little.
The stage is set for a clash between Jacob and the townsfolk. I had suspected on Jacob being hunted down and chased out of the town. Everything pointed in that direction, yet the conclusion was much more brutal, due to a clever twist in the tale.
As for the main character of Jacob, I actually came to like him a great deal. He was a man who was becoming disillusioned with his family legacy. He wanted to settle down and have a family, but his curse wouldn’t allow him.
Out of a town that preached morality, Jacob turned out to be the only one with morals that had to be admired. He was the true hero in this story and the tragic ending had me tearing up slightly. This was all due to the fact that the author had given me some hope that Jacob had escaped his fate, yet deep down I saw the signs that it wasn’t to be.
I started out unsure about this story, but ended up really liking it. In fact it is one of the better ones in the collection. (4.5/5)
While the first two stories had some really good steamy scenes and a character I really liked, this one just didn’t seem to hit the mark with me at all.
The main character, Gavin, is a developer in Australia. He has the attitude that he should just bulldoze over everything and put up chrome and concrete in its place. He is arrogant and egotistical. Basically, he isn’t a very nice guy.
So, when strange things begin to happen to him after he confronts a tramp on the land that he is in the middle of redeveloping, he turns to an environmentalist/paleontologist who has been his foe for a very long time. Like the other stories in this collection, the way it ends isn’t how you expect and I do admit that I like this about the author. She manages to take you down one path, only to take a sharp right and you end up somewhere completely different.
The reason that I didn’t like this story as much was the sudden change in scruples in Gavin. I understand that he is trying to look anywhere for answers, but his relationship with Saturday Honeywell, the expert he sought answers from. Thought the book takes place over an undisclosed period of time, I just didn’t feel the chemistry the same as I did with the two previous stories.
On the subject of Saturday, I at first liked the fact that she was not this stick thin bimbo that you often see in books. In fact, the character of Saturday was the saving grace in this story. She was independent and stood up for what she believed in. The fact she pushed her prejudices aside to help Gavin showed a great strength of character. What was also nice was the fact she wasn’t grateful that Gavin took her to bed. Yes, he was a great lover, but she was always holding on to who she was.
I don’t really get why this was classed as an erotic story. Yes, there were some steamy scenes in it, but nothing that I hadn’t seen before. (3/5)
So far it has been a pretty mixed bag of stories. Each has their strengths and their weaknesses. It’s clear to see that what has started as a pretty light-hearted collection, is turning into somethin a bit darker and macbre. For me it, it harps back to the original Brothers Grimm with tales of morality hidden beneath brutal, and sometimes really scary plots.
RATING (so far):
BUY YOUR COPY