Friday, 29 April 2011

Self's Blossom by David Russell









A romantic, erotic tale of a vivid portrayal of the quest for the inner truth, empowerment and sexual liberation of Selene, a woman searching for primeval abandon and reckless adventure. Intelligent, a university graduate and a successful careerist, Selene became emotionally scarred by unhappy relationships. Riled and taunted through the years by her former college roommate Janice, Selene gave in to the long-term desire to ‘get one back’ at Janice by having a passionate holiday encounter.

First off, I’d like to make it clear to readers that Selene, for me, didn’t come across as the usual romance heroine. If you expect to like her a lot, you may be disappointed. I, however, loved her because she isn’t your usual romance heroine. I saw her as conceited, vain, totally self-absorbed, and a pure delight for being this way.

She knows she looks good, knows her workouts have given her a body most women would envy, and the kind of woman she is was portrayed perfectly with this line: Selene had a far better body than the mousy little model in the photograph. While this isn’t something you might expect a romance heroine to think of herself, I loved it because she was made real by Mr Russell creating her this way. We have all thought things like this, perhaps not about our bodies, but about other things—I have a nicer hairstyle than her…I have a better car than her…I have prettier eyes than her—and Selene’s inner thoughts, of which there are many, gave me a glimpse into one of the realest women I’ve ever read. She was human, with, in my opinion, many flaws that might make her distasteful to some, but by God, she riveted me with her self-absorption and brutal honesty.

She goes on holiday alone, and I liked the way the book showed what was happening now but also took me into her mind, showing me memories and why she acted the way she did. I didn’t feel any sympathy for her at any time, just accepted she is like she is and let myself be sucked in by the way she thinks and acts. She’s a breath of fresh air, a person who has the courage to say what she thinks and damn the consequences, and also to think what she does with no remorse whatsoever.

The writing is very good, a touch of literary with an almost languid air to it that gives you the feeling it is slow-paced but it actually isn’t. I think it’s the dreamy state it gives you that creates that slow-moving feeling, and this is not a negative in any way. I loved the way it coasted along like that, where her thoughts and memories came into play and showed me Selene’s psyche. It’s a delve into the mind and life of a woman who knows what she wants and plots to get it. Although she plots, it never came across as malicious plotting. She went on holiday to meet someone, to ensnare them and have glorious sex with them—she makes that clear right from the start—and she is going to get it.

She has a sexual encounter on the beach with a young man—not in her plan at all because it didn’t play out quite as she envisaged—and she knew it was wrong. Not wrong that she had sex, but wrong for her, for her plan, and she walks away afterwards knowing the man is distraught she has gone but…oh, she’s so blasé in that she shrugs it off somewhat and continues on her original mission.

She meets Hudson, and here is where her plan comes fully into play. She is a manipulator, a master at it, in my opinion, and I adored watching her plan unfold, loved knowing what the next step would be and how she would make things go her way. Selene is, quite simply, not someone I would wish to know in real life, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her in fiction.

…and make sure it’s your side of the slice that gets the butter.

Half asleep, she pondered on the aura she projected. She knew how good her body was, toned up by lots of squash and swimming at her health club.

It was essential for her to have some comparables, some implicit rivals around…

After it, before it, through it, and finally beyond it, she would be a glistening scale of the purest pigment of a butterfly’s wing, but in pure sensation, outshine all the finest plumage, so carefully, but so abundantly structured, proudly strutting.

Selene came to the conclusion that she read too much, thought too much, and lived too little.

Self’s Blossom is not all hearts and flowers. It’s a journey that amazed me with the portrayal of Selene being so herself and human, flaws right out there for all to see. The prose is also mesmerising. Maybe it won’t be so for you, maybe Selene will seem totally different to you, but I really did enjoy this book very much and am very glad to have been given the chance to read it.


 

1 comment:

Sassy Brit said...

Congrats, David!

Great review :)

Lovely site, too!