A woman disappears, leaving behind an incendiary diary chronicling a journey of sexual awakening. To all who knew her, she was the good wife: happy, devoted, content. But the diary reveals a secret self, one who’s discovered that her new marriage contains mysteries of its own. She has discovered a forgotten Elizabethan manuscript that dares to speak of what women truly desire, and inspired by its revelations, she tastes for the first time the intoxicating power of knowing what she wants and how to get it. The question is: How long can she sustain a perilous double life?
This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
Before 50 Shades of Grey, there was The Bride Stripped Bare. I’ve never been a fan of erotica and (sorry, no offense) I loathe 50 Shades of Grey. It takes more than a month to finish this book. But actually, The Bride Stripped Bare is not bad at all. It’s worth my time.
The story was told from the 2nd person’s point of view, which is rare. The main character remained anonymous until the end. I found out that it’s actually based on the author’s experience, as well as people around her.
This fictional anonymous memoir started off with a letter from the author’s mom to the publisher saying that her daughter disappeared. The police thought about suicide, the mom insisted that her daughter faked her death.
And the memoir began between the sheets of a Marrakech honeymoon. She was a good wife, and her husband, Cole, was a decent guy. Soon she found out that her husband cheated on her with her best friend (such a cliche chick lit formula). Things got worse and the mutual feeling started to fade away.
Then her (sex) adventure began. She wanted to fulfill her fantasies, having a double life. She met a young handsome Spanish actor, Gabriel, who was a virgin. Gabriel fell in love with her. When things got intense, our nameless heroine was gagged and decided to cut him out of her life. One big mistake, she gave her phone number to Gabriel, even invited him to her place once when Cole was away. Gabriel was obsessed with her, leaving uncountable messages on her phone.
To escape from Gabriel, she had impulsive sex with taxi drivers. And her body craved for more. This time included a girl. But, suddenly, she felt disgusted with herself, and threw those people out of her hotel room. She lost her bag and most of her belongings. She was paranoid, knowing the thief had her real name and address. She felt threatened.
Our nameless heroine didn’t expect the sudden flame in her marriage. Out of the blue, the bed was warm again. But it didn’t last long. When she made love with Cole, she was thinking about Gabriel. Cole was dominant and selfish.
Then she got pregnant. Cole was suspicious about Gabriel. Things got cold again. She wanted Gabriel. After the phone call, she flew to Spain and she found Gabriel at a bull fight arena. Their eyes met, and you know what happened next.
Despite her wild adventures and the what not, the story has a tragic ending (or can I say tragic cliffhanger?) Comparing to Anastasia and Christian, I’m more sympathetic with our nameless heroine. Though I never tolerate adultery, I can understand the urge of freedom and finding her own happiness. She was a lonely wife. Even after having a baby, she was still lonely. Loneliness is the cruelest thing in the world, some say.
The Bride Stripped Bare was written beautifully. I admire Nikki Gemmell’s writing technique that she’s able to invite readers to become a narrator of the story. Comparing to 50SoG, The Bride Stripped Bare is much better, carefully written, and, of course, readable. Will I read another erotica? No. I have stacks of books waiting to be read. Erotica is not my forte.
Will I recommend this book to anyone? If you’re a fan of 50SoG, you should read this book.
You have to find something to do that you love, to fill up your life. (p. 309)
It feels magnificent to be doing something so foolish and impetuous and reckless and rash, to stop all the censoring of yourself. (p. 318)
Men are more comfortable with imperfection and weakness, it’s less threatening, of course. (p. 334)
The arrival of a first child is a magic, miraculous episode in any relationship, and a mother-in-law shouldn’t intrude on that. (p. 341)