Every now and then, I try something new. It often brings me something good. When I picked up The Siren last week, I didn’t expect to like it. It’s erotica and romance – two things I dislike. Except…it’s not. It’s much more, and I loved it. Below is my review. If you’re up for trying something new, why not give it a go?
Bestselling author, Nora Sutherlin, wants to work with British editor, Zachary Easton, on her latest manuscript. He is reluctant to work with a writer of erotica, especially one as infamous as Sutherlin. Pushed by his boss from acclaimed Royal House Publishing, he reluctantly agrees to spend 6 weeks with her on her project before flying to LA on his next assignment. Nora must agree to a complete re-write of her novel under his conditions and with no guarantee he will sign her contract.
Unknown to Zach, Nora lives the life she writes about. Not only is she an author of erotica, she is a dominatrix, owned by one man, the dangerous former lover with whom she remains obsessed. To further complicate her life, Nora believes she is also a little in love with her young assistant, Wes, yet withholds herself for fear of emotionally harming him.
As Nora adjusts to working with Zach, a man hurt by his failed marriage and still in love with his wife, she draws him deeper into the dangerous world in which she lives and opens his eyes to pleasures and pains he’d never imagined.
I’m not a fan of erotica or romance and picked up The Siren by chance, pleased to find it is not a romantic love story or meaningless smutty erotica. While the novel does involve graphic detail and scenes/themes some readers might find violent and disturbing, the story delves deep into the complexities of the characters and their personal inner turmoils. Throughout, there is an underlying tone of pain and sadness, with humble yet complicated emotions. The author writes with a graceful style that draws empathy from the reader for her characters, even the less likable ones.
Reisz accurately depicts human frailties in the failings and heartbreaks her characters try so hard to disguise. She leaves the reader with a strong sense of loneliness and tragedy, skillfully wrapped inside the romances, which gives the explicit sex scenes far more meaning. As each character deals with his/her own demons, and temporarily pass through each other’s lives, the sense of emotional isolation is prevalent.
The Siren delivers a brutal message in that life does not stop for anybody’s pain. Indulging in sin and violence to hide it is a temporary way out, but, for characters as flawed as those in The Siren, it might be the only way out.