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Marianne!: A Journey Round A Golden Sun Paperback – September 22, 2009
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About the Author
Simon Lowrie is the pen name of a quiet and retiring Englishman who sometimes feels the need to write erotica-though his friends and family would all be most surprised if they knew! His first novel, A Journey Round a Darker Sun, came out to much critical aclaim in 2001, with the Editor of the Erotica Readers Association calling it "A lovely spiral into the depths of submission. Better than Story of O." Lowrie's second novel Marianne! ~ a Journey Round a Golden Sun was published in 2009, with noted author and publisher Jean Marie Stine hailing it as, "One of the best books I have read in years." Although Marianne! is a much happier story than his first, Marianne! carries the same trademark of alpha male dominance and feminine submission in an entirely plausible and everyday setting. www.simonlowrie.com
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MARIANNE is a book that feels like three parts. The first part deals with the relationship between Marianne and Simon. They have known each other since childhood and have the type of relationship one can only dream of or can only think is odder than hell. Marianne is a beautiful girl, spoil, selfish and yet the sun that Simon revolves around. She knows it, Simon knows it and they push the boundaries of their relationship (and I say relationship because what is between them is more than mere friendship) as much as they can but has never gone the distance because that is a line that they know they are never to cross.
Marianne as only she can do creates havoc in her wake and in everything expects Simon to be there for her - this happens time and time again and Simon creates a space for Marianne in his life and this is where the problem starts. Marianne has found a new beau and he is more than Marianne has ever known, he knows what he wants, he's not afraid to go after it and he expects Marianne to toe the line or ELSE.
And the plot deepen yet further because she refuses to be anything less than herself, except with Simon and that is just not acceptable to Mark, the new boyfriend and he puts that to right with some interesting result.
The book literally revolves around four people and the second part of the book is where I was introduced to Sophie. A girl born to be with Simon, knows that Simon is her everything and without Simon she is only a shell of herself. Sophie has to be content with always being second in Simons life to Marianne and Simon makes no bone about the fact that he expect a certain standard from her and nothing less will be tolerated.
The third part of the book is where I not only got to see Mark come into the plot more but the last last third is also the part where all the fowls comes home to roost so to speak. These four people must find that path of compromise and it involves all four and some level of craftiness and a level of maturity that I could only dream of to make their relationship work.
MARIANNE is not a light read, I want to make that clear right upfront, this book is a mixture of light physical BDSM and emotional submissiveness the likes of which I have never read before.
Some of the things that makes my spine stiffen in rejection was as expected, the "men's" treatment of the "women". I want to say "woman you are better than this, stand up and find your own path" - but as I mentioned before none of these people could live without the other and they had to go through a huge amount of pain and uncertainty in order to find the right balance to make them all happy.
There was nothing predictable about MARIANNE and because there was so many WOW moment's it took me a while to pinpoint the little things that niggled me, because as much as I ended up loving this book there are things here that didn't sit well with me at all.
Firstly the book is wordy and I will admit I struggled to get past the first few chapters - getting there however was so worth it, but this is a book were I could not miss a word or I would have ended up missing some very important points.
Then there was both Simon's and Sophie age which was a problem for me, as Simon showed phenomenal experience as a Dom at 25 years, That did seem a bit young to have that much experience, Sophie on the other hand was a mature teenager at nineteen, but she played her part in the story superbly, but her age and lack of any life experience bother me when she makes this commitment to not only Simon but to Marianne and Mark as well.
Marianne was the only one that was fully developed as a character in the book and as such I had the chance to hate her and love her; the other three - I only saws the bits of them the author wanted me to see.
Now that I have mentioned the niggles, what worked for me.
Lowrie has a way with words and I will admit I have already had a second scan through the book already - as there are just some phrases that are so right.There is also a descriptive style to the writing and I really got into the book because of this.
He began to kiss me and I felt ashamed. I wanted to be
reassured, then punished, and only then feel his forgiveness.
But he'd never understood this from the start and, equally,
I'd never had the nerve to tuck my pride into my pocket and
explain all this. That just wasn't me--not without Simon's
help, at any rate--and I wanted Mark to take control and
simply make it happen.
© Simon Lowrie - MARIANNE
The book had a crescendo effect - that I could not help appreciating but loving as well, as this is not the easiest of book to read without all my sense of "I am woman" rearing it's head at time, but I ended up loving the gradual journey to happiness that I got in this book and the changes that all four went through to get there. It was like a burst of sunlight to see happening.. .
There was a nice balance of charm and frustration to this book. Charm in alot of the old world quality of courtesy and mannerism that both Mark and Simon displayed and frustration in just the fact that I wanted them to just get on with it already.
Femininity is treasured in MARIANNE. From the clothe, to the language and even in how both Marianne and Sophie are handled.
She had her own look, her own style, which was very distinctive
but hard for me to explain as I'm not a woman. With a gun
to my head, I'd say it had something to do with creatively
mixing textures and embroider, taffeta with suede maybe, or
chiffon with alpaca. Without being busy or a mess, there
was always plenty for the eye to ponder, as well as which
you always felt it would be rewarding in a tactile way to run
your fingers over her.
She never showed above the knee unless encased in
thick black leggings, and worked her effects by topping
elegant backdrops of creams and blacks and greys with just
one thing that was exuberant and oddball--an Afghan scarf
perhaps, or a Peruvian shawl, or there might be some
intriguing piece of Celtic jewelry, wooden bangles out of
Africa, or some strange and lovely haircomb glinting lapis
lazuli or malachite.
© Simon Lowrie - MARIANNE
Different POV in a book can sometimes not work for me, but coming in at 270 pages, I got some info from all four protags and where one persons opinion can be subjective - hearing it from the horses mouth put paid to alot of doubts and issues that I had with the concept of submitting to someone else's will.
I wont lie and say I was happy with the submissive element of the book, but the author paced himself and made it a journey. The characters embraced it - even if not in there own time, but freely. It was only abhorrent because that is not my kink - but there were some areas there that I secretly loved.
Lowrie I felt did not shy away from some of the more embarrassing moment - I got it all. I got the spanking, the belittling, the power struggle and more importantly the pleasure at being forgiven...
I really could go on and on about what worked and what didn't work, but the long and short of it is that I was blown away by this simply tale of dominance and submission. It was told in style and with a very understated grace that made this book a winner with me.
The reviewer from Seriously Reviewed summed it up so well - and I concur.
If you love a story of true submission without the overly graphic qualities of typical erotic romance, this story is perfect for you. Memorable characters, a lesson in pleasure, and the beauty of surrender.
© Seriously Reviewed