Tuesday, September 29, 2015

ELLE by Emma Mars

Publisher:  Harper Perennial
Date published:  April 7, 2015
ISBN:  978-0-06-227419-9
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher
Rating:  4

ELLE by Emma Mars is the second book in the Hotelles Trilogy:  Room Two.

Annabelle Lorand ELLE is a young French woman, a former escort, who continues her carnal education in a hotel room in Paris with Louie Barlet, the man she loves and who has conquered her completely.  Initially engaged to his deceptive brother, David, she broke it off when Louie, her new client at the time, awakens ELLE's body and her psyche to exquisite and sensual pleasures such as she has never known.

Since their first meeting, many things have changed in ELLE's life.  First, her engagement with David was broken and, sadly, her mother died.  Meanwhile, Louie has taken ELLE beyond her wildest fantasy.  Together, they explore the boudoirs to other famous courtesans such as Mademoiselle Josephine, Deschamps,and others.  Completely in love with Louie, ELLE willingly opens herself up to him with uninhibited self-abandonment.  With Louie, she discovers absolute ecstasy, absolute sweetness, and absolute desire.

But, unfortunately, David unexpectedly returns to complicate their lives.  He stirs up painful memories for ELLE and threatens her blissful state.  Afraid his deception will end her education and relationship with Louie, she is unaware that her troubles are only just beginning.

ELLE by Emma Mars is an incredible romp through the boudoirs and hotels of Paris, that explores the boundaries of trust and love.  Well-written, powerfully erotic, Mars has a real knack for the sensual.  She orchestrates elaborate, emotionally-charged sex scenes that will leave the reading gasping for more.  Full of unexpected twists and turns, the complexities of this well-crafted mystery is psychologically stimulating.

At the start of ELLE by Emma Mars, I thought this might be a slow page-turner, so it took me a little while to get into the story, perhaps because I had not read the first book in this series, Hotelles.  As time went on, I came to understand ELLE as a human being, a good character, who was confused and unsettled about a great many things.  But the ending was completely unexpected and one that eventually chased all of her fears away.  Nice.

ELLE by Emma Mars has a plethora of interesting and curious characters that add to the mysteries inherent in this completely erotic, sensual tale.  Again, because I never read the first Hotelles novel, it took a little while to connect certain people to the happenings in this story, but by the end, things are made clear, especially regarding the underlying character, Aurora, who was said to have drowned years before and who both David and Louie were supposedly in love with.  The mystery surrounding Aurora is very intriguing and adds much depth to ELLE by Emma Mars, particularly when ELLE begins her own investigation, traveling to different areas of Louie's past in order to get to the truth and find peace of mind.  David has done a good job of filling ELLE's head with doubts about everything she has ever been told by both him and Louie, which threatens her happiness for the future she has imagined with Louie.

The scene when Louie gets arrested because of what is being exposed at his art gallery adds a lot of intrigue to ELLE, too.  The accuser is someone I completely came to dislike.

Mars employs great dialogue and interesting settings in this spellbinding tale, which keeps things real and poignant in many ways.  When reading of ELLE's new home, it made me want to go out and actually buy a little place like that myself.  Just a place to get away from it all once in awhile.  The architecture and history in this novel add a refreshing, unique perspective to ELLE, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

ELLE by Emma Mars is a brilliantly-conceived tale with a well-devised plot to keep the reader engaged and interested.  Plenty of sensual delights, mysteries, and whodunit scenarios that should appeal to a wide array of readers who love a good erotic novel set in beautiful Paris, the city of love, with all the trimmings of suspense and mayhem intertwined. 

Well done, Ms. Mars. 

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