Okay. Okay. So…*deep breath* I’m going to be brutally honest in this review. Not mean. Not bashing but honest. Here, we love our authors and would never be disrespectful. Here goes…I loved and hated this book! I’m going to start by saying I won’t be speculating on who ‘Tori’ is. Why? Because in truth, I don’t care. I read this novel for what it is, a story. It wasn’t a file of clues for research. In fact, I frequently forgot it is a true story.
Anyway, so what’s it about?
Tori, or Victoria, is a stay at home mom and a bestselling author. Her days consist of waking, the school run, writing, dinner with her husband, ritualistic and rare marital sex and then repeating it every day. As a reader, we genuinely feel the monotony that engulfs her. It’s like she’s not living, simply existing. She and her husband, Landon, have been together for several years and have fallen into what can only be described as a rut. But one must wonder whether it’s simply that comfortable space all couples reach after being together for so long. Silences don’t require filling. Or, are they co-existing? A happy family they may be with their two daughters, but are they still a happy couple? Whatever it is that holds them together, it seems to be working for them.
That is until Tori happens upon a website that caters to those with specific tastes and fetishes. It starts so innocently. Chatting. Getting to know another human being. Maybe she can even justify the time she spends online with him as research. But it’s not long until chatting turns to talking on the phone. Then flirting. Sexual tension builds, the excitement of secrets, lies and a sexual awakening she hadn’t anticipated. Before she even realises it, Tori is engaged in a e-affair. An online relationship.
One thing I love about the way this book is written, is E.K Blair’s use of the name Victoria. To her friends and family, she is Tori. The mother, wife, writer, and good little girl. But to her new e-lover, Alec, she is Victoria. Whenever he says her name, that warm and sensuous feeling washes over the reader. Alec has eclectic tastes. He is heavily involved in scene play and other sexual preferences. Tori? She’s what he and she refers to as vanilla.
Of course, as is often the case with leading a double life, Tori’s lies and secrets soon catch up to her and her e-affair is exposed. Faced with the possibility of losing her family, Tori promises to end her contact with Alec. But he’s a drug. An addiction that she cannot shake. I won’t spoil things but as you can imagine, what follows is a tangled web of sex, lies, and deceit.
My thoughts on the story?
It’s difficult to review the story without also sounding as though one is reviewing Tori and her actions. What I found most infuriating was that when asked what she wants, Alec or her family and husband, her response is ‘I don’t know.’ In fact, this is her response to a lot of things. I began to wonder, well, Tori, what do you know!? I didn’t feel bad for her. Okay, maybe a little. I empathised with her feelings of monotony, boredom and her confusion surrounding her own identity. She was living three lives, not just two. Tori’s, Victoria’s and her author’s life. Two had been nothing more than fantasy for so long but suddenly, they were becoming very real and the lines were also getting blurred. But mostly, I felt bad for the men. Tori’s selfishness in making a decision kept them both caught up in her world. Both waiting for her to choose. Though, Alec never makes a secret of his status within the relationship. He’s not into being exclusive with anyone. But, he would like to be with Victoria and introduce her into his world of sexual fetish. But, even as a woman who writes erotica and believes she is rather worldly, it’s a shock to her and she knows instinctively that she cannot indulge him. But, again, annoyingly, she believes she will be enough for him and that he can leave that world behind him. I think I yelled out loud “I don’t fucking think so. God, Tori, go home to your husband!” more than once.
I don’t judge her affair. It’s not my place to. I haven’t walked a mile in her shoes. Did I enjoy the book? Yes. I know I did because it infuriated me, angered me and made me face palm and shake my head numerous times. If a book can evoke emotion from me…it’s done its job and so has the author.
E.K. Blair’s writing is fantastic. The sex is, as always, intense and flows beautifully especially since she is the voice for another. I also love the way the book ends. My husband gave me a rather confused look as I dropped my kindle on the sofa and groaned “You are fucking kidding me, Tori!” But overall, I give the book 4 treats! Read it. But don’t go into it with an idea of piecing the puzzle together. Treat it as fiction and you will enjoy it. But if you hate books about cheating spouses and affairs…Stay away!