Release Date: February 5, 2013
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Fiction, Self-Discovery, Erotica[rating=5]
In S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T there are…
No Judgments. No limits. No shame.
Cassie Robichaud’s life is filled with regret and loneliness after the sudden death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed. The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies.
Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.
-Official synopsis for S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline
A while back, I decided that I don’t like this ever-more-popular genre – though not for the reasons you think. One of my pet peeves with the writers of the erotica genre is that they spend so much time focusing on getting to the next sexcapade that character development, believable plot, and good writing are often thrown out the window entirely. [I am convinced that this is the real reason authors of the genre are not taken seriously.] Fortunately, I am happy to say that all of these downfalls are not an issue in L. Marie Adeline’s S.E.C.R.E.T.
In addition, I loved that details about the “secret” club S.E.C.R.E.T. were provided throughout the novel in a way that was so natural as to not take the reader out of the overall story. Authors really are not commended enough for being able to blend such information into the story so the reader doesn’t see it for what it really is: an information dump. Of course, the New Orleans setting was a perfect place, and the architecture and descriptions of such a well-known, fascinating location only served to complete the picture.
Not only was the story itself well-written, Adeline’s erotic segments completely lacked all the normal linguistics that make these type of books laughable. You won’t find any manly unicorns pillaging delicate gardens in S.E.C.R.E.T. Of course, as mentioned, the book’s greatest achievement was to actually have some character growth and legitimate, believable plot to go along with the sexcapades expected in the genre.
Cassie’s character arc was well developed and, as promised, each of the steps she completed added to the story and, though it moved pretty quickly for being spaced out over a year, reached a logical conclusion. It is a lot more tame than some of the “erotica”-genred books that have made their way to popularity recently, but the story is so much more logical. The core plot is focused on Cassie learning to accept herself and explore her own needs and desires in spite of the terrible, abusive relationship that burned her previously.
There were some minor problems with the story, such as the creepy way the women approached her [apparently they’d been watching her for a while – which is stalking, no matter why they were doing it] and the fact that she initially lied about having found the “diary” that introduced her to the club [it really didn’t make sense as to why she would have lied about that – though I guess it could have just been because she was that timid]. However, the good writing definitely outweighed the few bad points in the story.
Fortunately, the story is kind of left open for an option to provide a sequel, which will be one that we’ll look forward to checking out when the time comes. If you’re looking for a satisfying ending in the romance department, this may not be the book for you, but I’m fairly certain that she’ll get her happy ending before the series ends – and I think that the way it ended was perfect for where Cassie needs to be after going through such a life-changing year.
Additional Note: I received an ARC from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.