(Reviews posted at The Book Pushers)
I’m at a bit of a loss on where to start with this review. No, that’s not quite accurate. I do know where I want to start with this review – I’m just struggling with being diplomatic about it.
Simply put, I did not like this book. For many reasons. So many reasons.
Most of all, I’m irritated with myself for not properly vetting this book so I could have avoided the whole experience altogether. I was drawn in by the back-cover blurb and the cover artwork. It was a bait-and-switch.
First, the writing style is stilted, stale and skims along the surface. The dialogue does not flow in a natural way. The characters are cardboard cut-outs. There is no cohesive plot, just events that happen with a bit of randomness thrown in out of left-field towards the end. Conflicts arise and are easily settled within a page of being mentioned as the narrative trips along in a jarring way which weakens any attempt at presenting drama or tension. Aspects of the story that held the potential of developing a plot happen offstage and are presented in the narrative as recaps. There are 419 pages of words – words that failed to connect me to the story or the characters or the setting or anything remotely interesting. There were, however, plenty of words that skeeved me out for the first 100 pages or so.
Let’s be clear here. When this story begins, Bianca is a fourteen year-old girl about to be wed to a thirty-six year-old man who is into sadomasochistic behavior – and not of the safe, sane and consensual kind. He likes to inflict pain and gets off on it and he doesn’t care whether the person is consenting or not (actually he seems to prefer when they are not consenting). When Bianca is first presented to Sebastiano, the narrative had his “cock twitch” at the sight of her. Inappropriate! She’s fourteen! This story takes place in 1474 and the issue of her age could fall under the guise of “historically accurate for the time,” but my brain protested the entire time I had to read through this slog. It gets worse. During their betrothal period (prior to the wedding), apparently Sebastiano has permission to “introduce” her to certain sexual caresses (i.e, he perversely fondles her) despite that it makes her uncomfortable and she doesn’t like it. He also makes her kneel in front of him while he unveils his cock, teaches her how to handle it and perform fellatio. When she turns fifteen (about a week or so before the wedding), he fingers her to check the tightness of her hymen and takes pleasure in the thought of how much pain it will cause her when he “breaches” it.
The six months they are married are even worse. Bianca is submitted to cruelty, physical and emotional abuse and is repeatedly raped by her husband and almost raped by her stepson at her husband’s urging. There is a slave girl thrown into the mix whereby she is forced to have sex against her will with another woman and she comes very close to being violated by a miniature donkey.
So let’s fast forward...
Read the full review as posted on November 1, 2012 at The Book Pushers: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/11/01/review-bianca-the-silk-merchants-daughters-1-by-bertrice-small/