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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Review: Nymphomania by Kyoko Church

Wealthy businessman and owner of Draper Estates, Ewan Draper needs a wife to give him the respectability demanded by polite Boston society. He’s drawn to the newest of his mill girls, the wild and passionate Lilliane, and arranges a hasty marriage. But when Lilly’s enjoyment of sex is diagnosed as nymphomania, an affliction that, it is claimed, will send her mad if left untreated, Ewan’s good friend, Dr Phillip Samms, devises a radical cure. A cure that only leaves Lilly wanting more …

Kyoko Church has been writing erotica for quite a while and I've enjoyed the stories of hers I've read in various Mischief anthologies. So I was delighted to see she'd published her first book, the first in a trilogy. We both share a fascination with Victorian misconceptions of female sexuality and the archaic 'cures' devised by medical men of the period. A little time spent reading the clinical descriptions of sex on Wikipedia, particularly the article on female hysteria, inspired Ms Church to write it all into a story and this trilogy is the result.

There's something extra kinky about a purely clinical approach to erotic situations - or at least the appearance of a purely clinical approach. The poor 'afflicted' Lilly is at the mercy of Dr Samms, whose offer to treat her nymphomania may not be as selfless as it seems. Her husband Ewan insists on participating, both because he finds it unseemly that any wife of his should misuse her sewing machine in such a scandalous fashion (more delicious historical authenticity!) and because he finds her treatments rather arousing himself.

I really enjoyed the way Lilly's 'treatment sessions' are described. Dr Samms uses the same dispassionate language any nineteenth century doctor would as he coolly discusses how "normal women do not desire or even need physical gratification the way a man does", all the while stroking her to show how 'unnatural' her responses are to such stimulation. Oh, did I mention that her husband is holding her wrists above her head whilst this is going on? Dr Samms goes on to explain that 'hysterical paroxysm' (ie, orgasm) is only a temporary cure and that the lady patient needs frequent - er, applications to keep the nymphomania under control. "Paroxysm," he says, "must be reached only by medical massage. And it is to be brought about slowly, extremely slowly, so as not to excessively excite the patient."

That Ms Church chooses to show much of the action from a point of view other than Lilly's is in keeping with the tone of Victorian detachment. The clinical descriptions of extremely arousing activity take on an added dimension of kinky appeal when seen through so dispassionate a lens. I'd like to have seen more passages from Lilly's perspective, to get inside her head more as all these things were done to her body 'for her own good'.

On the geeky tech side, can I also say what a pleasure it is to read a book that's clearly been proofread? I'm a voracious reader (of more than erotica) and it frankly shocks and dismays me at the number of typos one finds in mainstream fiction - in books that clearly have larger production teams than this? So full marks to Church for both her meticulous historical research and for the obvious care she took with this book. Here's to the rest of the trilogy!

Nymphomania is published by Xcite Books and is available from Amazon.

More information on Kyoko Church and her writing can be found on her website.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for reviewing my book, Rose! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it so much. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was absolutely my pleasure. As you pointed out, we have very similar interests!

    ReplyDelete