Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Review: Claudine by Barbara Palmer

The Premise: The story follows a postgraduate Yale Student named Maria Lantos who is currently in her masters and studying eighteenth-century literature, specifically classic erotic fantasy narratives. Maria is actually also Claudine, a persona she takes on when she engages in her role as an high-end escort. She is discreet with all of her clients and anonymous and is sure to only engage with them only once. Everything seems to be going fine in Maria's life with her juggling both her day life and her night life, until a murder occurs and she is somehow linked to it. Along with that, the lines between her two lives begin to blend together making things a lot more complicated for Maria. The story follows Maria through many of her engagements with specific clientele, her daily school life and her relationships with Lillian (her hair dresser/confidant) and Andrei, her right hand man and best friend. The reader follows Maria through all of this while also getting snippets of her past to fully grasp what led to the idea of "Claudine" to begin with.

My overall thoughts and review: When I was first sent the premise of this story, I was immediately intrigued by the fact that Maria was a student and there would be focus on the eighteenth-century literature that she studies, but unfortunately that was only a small snippet of the text and somehow I thought the story of an actual eighteenth-century erotic text would be interwoven within the text. Moving aside, let me begin to say that I have no problem with erotica novels, the sex part does not bother me as long as there is more to the story than simply that. It is important to me that characters like Maria can stand alone as a fully-formed character without the sex. The erotic scenes in my opinion were done tastefully and were not the overall focal point of the text which was significant. It did demonstrate to the reader kind of the "inner workings" of the process of an escort and how much work (I'm assuming) goes into preparing for everything. I enjoyed reading from Maria's perspective and learning things about her past and just overall, how things work in the life of an escort. It was nice to see her moments with Lillian and Andrei and just how sweet their little 'family' was. The storyline of the murder being woven in was also intriguing. It did have me reading quite quickly towards the end to find out who was behind everything and confirm my suspicions. Time in the narrative also moved quite quickly and in my opinion, certain scenes could have been replaced with more character building scenes for Maria, Andrei and even Lillian.  I applaud Palmer for being able to write erotica fiction in a tasteful manner, and building a character like Maria to be more than simply an escort, but where the text falls short for me is that it was predictable. I think that if you are a fan of other erotica thrillers such as the Fifty Shades of Grey series, this is definitely the better written and more enjoyable alternative. This also brought me back to the days of the tv show Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which I personally love because of Billie Piper, so this is definitely similar to that!

My rating of the book: 3/5 stars.

Claudine will be released September 2, 2014! Let me know if you plan on reading Claudine and your thoughts on it below in the comments!

Also! Fun fact.. Barbara Palmer is actually a pen-name for a best-selling, international award-winning novelist! You can find out more about her here or on twitter at @barpalmer!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me from Penguin Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own. 

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