The BookLikes companion to The Romance Evangelist (mharvey816.mh2.org).
Reviewer for Seductive Musings, Night Owl Reviews, and Romancing Rakes For the Love of Romance.
I live for the HEA/HFN and am decidedly pro-epilogue.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.
I TAKE YOU is the story of a woman whose life and happiness are in stasis, frozen from the time that her husband became paralyzed from the waist down after a terrible accident not long after they were married. Connie had married Cliff because she felt expected to marry exactly this sort of man (handsome, charming and incredibly rich) to order be successful in her own life. But Cliff cares more about making more money and manipulating Connie’s sexual submission than in actually making her feel loved or appreciated. Desperate for any sort of emotional connection in her marriage, Connie agrees to letting Cliff exploit her in ways that become increasingly destructive to her own sense of self. It’s only at the lowest point in her existence that Connie is able to find love in the arms of another man, and in the process, rediscover herself.
Although I haven’t read the previous two books in Nikki Gemmell’s Bride trilogy, none of the books are directly connected to each other so that didn't affect my ability to enjoy reading I TAKE YOU. What did affect my enjoyment was the fact that this book is so very obviously the author’s version of D.H. Lawrence’s LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, a book that may be a famous love story but is not necessarily known as a true romance with a happy ending.
Unlike Mellors the gamekeeper in LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, Mel the gardener in I TAKE YOU is not encumbered with a wife whom he does not love, though as a divorced man, he still carries the bitterness of the failed relationship with him as he and Connie embark on their dangerous affair. But Lawrence’s Sir Clifford has suffered a complete character assassination here, as Gemmell twists him into the most evil of husbands, one who refuses to accept Connie in his life as anything other than yet another of his acquired possessions, and will stop at nothing to force his sexual will on her to satisfy his desires, while crushing any she might have had of her own. With Cliff as the unredeemable villain, we can’t help but cheer Connie on as she clings to Mel as her only salvation from a life she’s lived for everyone but herself, and any possible shades of gray in her actions are completely wiped out in the face of such a horrible alternative.
I TAKE YOU'S opening scenes at the country mansion are first-rate erotica and easily the best part of the entire book. It was also good to see Connie and Mel get the happy ending that D.H. Lawrence had previously denied them. But D.H. Lawrence’s ghostly presence combined with Gemmell’s use of the third person present tense (‘The car is driven... Connie sits upright...The driver fumbles...’) made this a very difficult read for me overall. Still, it did prompt me to reread LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, a book I would recommend more than this one.
Overall: 3 stars
Sensuality level: 4 (public exhibition including forced genital piercing, cuckold play, adultery)