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A Lesson in Thorns (Thornchapel Book 1) Kindle Edition
"It's evocative, sumptuous, and downright filthy. AND I AM HERE FOR IT." -- Kendall Ryan, New York Times bestselling author
"Literal literary porn. Breathtaking." -- Emma Hart, New York Times bestselling author
"A Lesson In Thorns is an utterly breathtaking masterpiece with its poetic prose and unimaginable details. I'm transfixed. I'm addicted. And I'm in love." -- Carrie Ann Ryan, New York Times bestselling author
"Sierra Simone is a genius who will have you believing in love, longing, kink and pagan magic. Not only are were words beautiful, but her characters are equal parts raw, real, magical, and kinky. Two words for you, Auden and St. Sebastian!" --Nana Malone, USA Today bestselling author
"A decadent web of mystery, lust, and angst--A Lesson in Thorns is my top read of the year!" --USA Today bestselling author Ella James
About the Author
- ASIN : B07PVCG3L7
- Publication date : March 19, 2019
- Language : English
- File size : 4688 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 276 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,617 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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The premise is not why the book only gets two stars, as the premise is very unique. The two stars are because the author actually jumps points of view several times in this book. Let me explain, the book is written in first person for many of the chapters. But then other chapters are written in third person. Yes, several authors can get away with alternating points of view, but Ms. Simone on several occasions changed points of view narrative mid chapter. In one paragraph she had the character narrative in first person, and the next paragraph it was third person. Ms. Simone obviously was let down by her editors and those who read this book prior to publication. I do not know how this book has received so many four and five star reviews and not one of those reviewers pointed this problem out.
If you are looking for a uniques scintillating read then this book will be up your alley, if you can get over the mid-stream flip flopping point of views.
From the Latin indulgentia: a yielding; to give oneself up.
Readers are in for a once in a lifetime experience with Sierra Simone’s new series, Thornchapel. It’s beguiling and unputdownable. All because Ms. Simone indulges her love – for the sacred and profane; for myths and magic long forgotten; for literature and language; for pretty submissives and tortured Dominants. There’s so much bubbling emotion and seething, squirmy longing wrapped up in this beautiful Gothic package with its undertow of dread and compulsion. It’s a woozy, absinthe fueled, waking dream and quite simply, one of the best stories I have read – bar none. With her first installment in the Thornchapel series, A Lesson in Thorns, Simone has proven herself to be the DuMaurier of kink. I love everything about it – the friends who teeter on the razor’s edge of love and hate, the unrelenting pull of sexual attraction that burns slow and white hot, and the sense that an unavoidable fate awaits them all. A fate that they ultimately yield to even as it consumes them. It’s a story that feels as if time is layered upon itself – a contemporary friends/enemies/lovers drama with a curious Victorian sensibility engulfed by the fog of a pagan past swirling with ritualistic magic charged with sex and sacrifice. It’s simply, stunningly brilliant.
Indulge yourself. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
“Last night I dreamt I was at Thornchapel again.”
All the stars I’m allowed to give
Sierra Simone is one of the most amazing storytellers I have ever read. This series is going to be epic if A Lesson in Thorns is any indication of what we have to look forward to. The descriptions and background she gives in her stories takes you on a magical ride. One you won't soon forget. This is one of my top reads of 2019.
Well, "Waking the Moon" this definitely wasn't. Disappointing, very much so. As someone who loves both the classic gothic genre and literary smut, I'd hoped this would be a combination of Victoria Holt and Anais Nin. I wanted fog-shrouded mystery, ancient rituals, creepy castles and The Story of O.
Not. Even. Close.
What I got instead was a mishmash of unnecessary angst, a vapid heroine with all the depth of a puddle and so much obvious that there were no real surprises. The supposed sexy/erotic times were incredibly prosaic and despite all the promised kink and debauchery, fell rather vanilla flat. In fact, I didn't find anything "erotic" at all. This was a book that tried way too hard to be too many things and did not succeed at any of them. Even the characters' literature derived names came off more as a gimmick.
I'm not a big fan of over-angsty stories and this book is one of the many reasons why. The angst here felt like a typical checklist of angst - brooding hero (in this case two of them), messed up heroine, some kind of "deep dark secret", trauma porn, etc.
Been there, read that, next.
To be perfectly honest, the three main leads - Proserpina (aka Poe), Auden, and St. Sebastian - were total cardboard cutouts instead of these sexy, dynamic personalities I'd been promised by the blurb. On the other hand - Rebecca, Delphine and Becket - were actually the most fascinating of the sextet and felt like people I wanted to know more about.
I have a non-negotiable rule concerning heroines: I must like them, must feel invested in their welfare and happy ending. Even when they're difficult, my heroines must have facets that I either understand or can sympathize with.
Proserpina Markham is NOT one of these heroines. In short, she was freaking annoying.
She's so smart and why did I know this? Because she kept telling me she was, kept mentioning her skipping grades and getting her doctorate before she was twenty-one. All that brilliance yet she needed Google translate to define a mysterious Latin word which she could have easily figured out on her own, given that she was super smart, right? All that brilliance and yet she constantly referred to herself as a "sex monster" anytime she had a dirty thought (and she had a lot of them). The first time I read those two words I rolled my eyes and chuckled. Surely a brilliant young woman with an advanced degree in Library Science would have had a better and more literary way to describe her desires other than "sex monster". And not once, but I lost count of the usage of said descriptor at TEN. After the third time, I started thinking about Ana Steele and her infamous "inner goddess". That's not promising.
Poe is the novel's ingenue, returning to the gothic and mysterious Thornchapel at the behest of the new lord of the manor (and once best friend) Auden Guest, who needs her to catalog the manor's immense library. She's also looking for her mother, who somehow disappeared without a trace. Of course, these two have a history, as do the other five people who spent an unforgettable experience together as children. And of course, Poe and Auden somehow have the hots for each other because, reasons. And they have the hots for the other broody emo guy St. Sebastian, who also has the hots for both of them, but hate/loves Auden at the same time. A lot of the book is wasted with these three playing will they/won't they/why the hell should they/push and pull/feel bad about it/lather, rinse, repeat.
I guess I should say something about Auden and St. Sebastian but I really just found them so meh and wanted them to either hurry up and bang each other or jump off a cliff. Angsty bad boys/rich boys are just so yesterday.
The other three characters - Rebecca, Delphine and Becket - were also a part of the band of young children who became tied to Thornchapel as well and really, they seem the most fully fleshed, though the sexy and naughty priest character has been done before - and better - by Tiffany Reisz. I mean who can possibly forget about Soren?
I have A LOT to say about Rebecca, who's the sole visible character of color (though it's revealed later that St. Sebastian is Mexican and British yet still codes as default white). Rebecca's Black, from Ghana, and that's the only physical description the author saw fit to give her save the fact that she had braids. All of the other characters are described in some detail, especially the main three. Even St. Sebastian's lip piercing was treated as a tantalizing entity. Apparently Rebecca's angst stemmed from often being the lone person of color in predominantly white spaces, especially in her chosen profession, so she pushes herself to overachieve. Really? So many things for the visible heroine of color to struggle with and the author chose the lowest hanging fruit. The fact that Rebecca was erased in this way is sadly par for the course in a lot of books and why some authors just shouldn't try to diversify their stories, especially when they do such a half-baked job of it. I mean did Rebecca look like Zendaya Coleman or Kerry Washington or Lupita Nyong'o? Contrary to popular opinion, all Black people don't look alike. We're not interchangeable. And unfortunately there are readers so steeped in anti-Blackness that they will envision Rebecca as close to the default as possible because the idea of a visibly Black heroine as both brilliant landscape architect as well as love interest or lust object (especially to non-Black men) is too much for them to take. I shouldn't be surprised at the fail, but given all the discussions on Romance Twitter in regards to inclusion and diversity, I had hoped for better. Rebecca as a heroine - who's a Domme by the way - deserved better representation. I mean, she's a Dominant - think of all the issues that could have presented.
My issue with Delphine is how problematic I find the use of sexual trauma as some raison d'etre. I loved the fact that she was fat, unapologetic and on a mission to live her truth, to show a judgmental world that beauty isn't about size. I liked the idea of her as social media influencer. I'm not against the idea of characters surviving abuse or assault, but it's important for that to not be "the thing" which defines them or which only needs great sex to overcome it.
Then, there's Becket, and for some weird reason I kept wondering if someone would make a Henry II joke. He's the least angst ridden of the five. He's also the most decisive.
Oh, and Poe is a virgin but she's also into kink. Now I definitely found that pretty cool considering that romance tends to treat contemporary female virgin heroines like they're transplants from the 1800's or something. Poe actually has sexual feelings and attractions while she also can get off on pain. Speaking of which, my guess is that the characters are all bisexual but it felt unfinished. I did read a review in which a pan-romantic/pan-sexual reviewer felt her existence was being erased. I kind of got that vibe too. I'm cool with bi representation, but this seemed too convenient. Six people who haven't seen each other in years suddenly get together and they're all bi? What are the odds? Oh, and apparently their parents were also bi and/or into kinky stuff too.
Of course, this ended on a cliffhanger (something else I hate) and there are four more books in the series, but given the clues that weren't that difficult to find, I pretty much have an idea of the overarching plot and perhaps the ending. Honestly I'm just not invested in the story overall and since the three characters I liked aren't the focal point, I have no interest in continuing. My dream novel would star Rebecca, Delphine and Becket having wild kinky sex while Poe, Auden and St. Sebastian angst and emo their way into oblivion.
Oh, the extra half star is for mentioning Italian goth-metal band Lacuna Coil, whom I've been a fan of for years and have seen twice.
Top reviews from other countries
I feel that the author was at their best when writing in the third person (the books flits between the first-person view of Poe) and then third-person pieces that give an overview of other characters' thoughts and feelings. I got a bit fed up with Poe's voice and descriptions of herself to be honest (the number of times she referred to herself as sex monster was quite dull).
What I liked about this book initially is it seemed like it was going to be a solid mystery with elements of the erotic. Unlike full-on erotic books (where plot seems to be sacrificed in order to get on to the first sex scene, then the next and the next), this built slowly. However, once the erotic elements appeared, they seemed to take centre stage and the mystery fell by the wayside.
What I really objected to most, though, is that this isn't a complete novel. I wouldn't say so much it ends on a cliffhanger as it ends with numerous threads left unresolved. The reader will have to buy the next novel to find out what happens. I dislike this trick, which seems to be becoming more prevalent among authors. While I have no objection to series that are linked, I still feel that things can be tied up - so if the reader wants to continue they can, but if they don't they feel satisfied enough having read the first book. This, really, is just an unfinished story.
So, you've been warned - don't bother with it if you're a reader who likes loose ends being satisfactorily tied up. Especially as I'm not certain there's enough in this book to have me reaching eagerly for the next.
This starts with how six young children spent one summer together at Thornchapel while there parents where holed up in the library and how they became connected to this place.They feel it's calling when they all meet up again twelve years later.The six characters were all different and very charismatic in there own way.
The mystery that surrounds this story is captivating plus there are so many lies,betrayals and truths that will keep you intrigued through out with the need to find out what they are, that it will keep you on the edge of your seat with it all.I don't want to say to much and spoil the plot, you will just need to go pick this book up as trust me this is totally phenomenal.
This is a haunting story that will weave around your heart,the dynamics between them all is off the charts smoking hot,the chemistry is just sizzling phew!!I forgot how much i freaking love this author and her style of writing she is just pure genius.Five Huge Smoking Hot Stars.
I loved the premise and the story was unique, I just felt the execution could have been better. The writing was gorgeous but somewhere along the way the plot started to get lost in favour of relationships that didn't always feel totally authentic. I'm intrigued to know what happens but having seen a handful of spoilers I doubt I'll continue.
It's tough to review without giving anything away, but if you're looking for more of a dark romance than mystery, this is definitely up your avenue.
I’m starting to realise that this author can write anything! I love that it’s taboo and so totally out of a normal comfort zone but then I am so completely and utterly enthralled in equal measure.
Can’t wait to read more in this series. Highly recommend!