Desert Isle Keeper Review

Awaken, My Love
(This DIK review was written by a reader)

Robin Schone
2001 reissue of 1995 release, Time Travel Romance
Brava, $15.00, 342 pages, Amazon ASIN 1575669072

Grade: A
Sensuality: Burning

After this review was written, Brava published a "Director's Cut" version of the novel.
The publication information above, and link below, relate to the newer version.

With the success that she has enjoyed from The Lady's Tutor and, currently, The Lover, Robin Schone has made a name for herself as one of, if not, the best writers of erotic, romantic fiction. It is because of this success that her first published book, Awaken, My Love is commanding as much as $80.00 at UBS. I found mine for $22.00. A bit steep for a paperback, but money well spent on what I believe is a collectible classic. For that money its not only a "Desert Isle Keeper" but a Desert Isle "lock-in-your-trunk-and-don't-lend-it-to-anyone-no matter-how-trustworthy-they-are".

I believe its notoriety, stems from the controversial opening with the heroine, Elaine Metcliffe, a 39 year old 20th century computer analyst, pleasuring herself while she lies in bed next to her, conservative but dependable husband Matthew. This scene caused quite a stir (see Ms. Schone's Rant on Sexuality, linked below). But this scene was written with such taste and subtlety that you didn't realize what Elaine was doing until the scene was over.

At exactly the same time that she is pleasuring herself, though 110 years earlier in England, Charles Mortimer, 12th Baron of Arlcotte, is finally consummating his marriage with his 21 year old cold-as-ice wife, Morrigan, on the eve of their 1st wedding anniversary.

The next morning, Elaine wakes up to find herself in Morrigan's body, in Morrigan's bed, married to Morrigan's husband, the time travel being the direct result of her orgasm the previous night. Interesting plot set-up!

What follows is a candid look at a 20th century woman dealing with the inconveniences that were the norm with 19th women (unshaved legs and armpits, homemade sanitary belts, lack of Sara Lee Danish). The only positive note for Elaine is that her plump, 39 year old body is now the body of a svelte 21 year old.

When Elaine finally realizes who and where she is, her mind starts to constantly churn with questions ranging from how she got here (and where Morrigan went) to why Morrigan waited one year to finally sleep with her husband. Until she figures out a way back to the future, Elaine is concerned about giving herself away. She claims a putrid throat (she doesn't want her Yankee accent giving her away) and agonizes over what hand to hold her fork in at supper (is Morrigan right or left handed?)

But it's Elaine's daily request for a bath and desire to wear the beautiful clothes buried in the bottom of Morrigan's trunk that lead Charles to think that something is wrong. Morrigan hadn't bathed in her entire year of marriage and wore nothing but the same drab, gray dress. Charles starts to notice changes in his wife; changes that, ironically he concludes, started to take place after they had consummated their marriage. He senses that their first night together had finally awakened his cold, little wife and plans to build upon her sexual awakening with a little help of the Tantric methods he picked up in India.

Charles' erotic seduction of Morrigan (Elaine) is a tremendous sensual ride. The pillow book scene in the library could burn a hole clear through a block of ice! At first Elaine is scared, yet intoxicated by the powerful desire Charles stirs in her. She also feels guilt because, after all, she does have a husband in the 20th century who, in 17 years of a passionless marriage, could never satisfy her. But as long as she is inhabiting Morrigan's body, she is Charles' wife and, thus, responds to his seductive administrations with abandon.

The plot starts to thicken with first one, then a second note from Morrigan. Morrigan has not only wreaked havoc in Elaine's 20th century life, but wants her own body back, and will seemingly stop at nothing to get it. Will Elaine be able to stop Morrigan from tearing her away from the only man she has ever loved?

In a nutshell, the plot is original, and highly intriguing. The sex is burning but is written with such tasteful flair it will have you wishing the love of your life would whisper some of the incredibly erotic words that Charles whispers to Elaine. I'd like to mention a scene at a lake where Elaine compares Charles to a black swan. This scene comes full circle in the last paragraph of the book. If you don't cry at the end, you are not human.

As stated in the beginning, this book is out of print. If you can find a reasonably priced one, snap it up, devour it then lock it up for safekeeping!

-- Elena Oppedisano

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