Review: I Take You by Nikki Gemmell

Wednesday, January 15

Title: I Take You*
Author: Nikki Gemmell
Series: Bride Trilogy #3
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Format: ebook and print
Date/Year: 12/31/2013
Reviewed by: Michele 

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

The next alluring novel from internationally bestselling author Nikki Gemmell-a companion to The Bride Stripped Bare and With My Body-the final installment in the captivating "Bride" trilogy

"One of the few truly original voices to emerge in a long time." -Time Out New York

Internationally bestselling author Nikki Gemmell has spent the last decade exploring the hidden lives of women. First, in The Bride Stripped Bare, she offered readers a glimpse into the life of a new bride, a young woman whose dark and sensual double life shocked readers. Next, in With My Body, Gemmell showed the world a wife and mother, a woman marked by memories of lost love and deep secrets. Now, in the final installment in the "Bride" trilogy, Gemmell plunges into the mind frame that With My Body concluded with-the story of a woman safe within her marriage, yet bursting with desire and the will to act upon it.

Under her Chanel suit and designer lingerie, Connie Carven is no longer the typical banker's wife. When Cliff's horrible skiing accident shifts the balance of their relationship, Connie becomes a willing submissive to her husband's every desire. Cliff is eager to explore new, and troubling, avenues of passion. Connie, ever the dutiful wife, follows wherever he leads. While at first she enjoys a perverse sense of freedom within the ever-tightening bonds of her marriage, Cliff's dark and seductive desires soon consume her entirely. She finds herself surrendering to an act that will forever remind her that she belongs to her husband alone-to be unlocked only by him, whenever he pleases.

But, it is also this act that awakens Connie from the numbness that has taken over her life. In the communal garden of her posh Notting Hill home she meets Mel and discovers the thrill of true intimacy…and the price of risking everything for it.

My Musings:

I TAKE YOU is the story of a woman whose life and happiness are in stasis, frozen from the time that her husband became paralyzed from the waist down after a terrible accident not long after they were married. Connie had married Cliff because she felt expected to marry exactly this sort of man (handsome, charming and incredibly rich) to order be successful in her own life. But Cliff cares more about making more money and manipulating Connie’s sexual submission than in actually making her feel loved or appreciated. Desperate for any sort of emotional connection in her marriage, Connie agrees to letting Cliff exploit her in ways that become increasingly destructive to her own sense of self. It’s only at the lowest point in her existence that Connie is able to find love in the arms of another man, and in the process, rediscover herself.

Although I haven’t read the previous two books in Nikki Gemmell’s Bride trilogy, none of the books are directly connected to each other so that didn’t affect my ability to enjoy reading I TAKE YOU. What did affect my enjoyment was the fact that this book is so very obviously the author’s version of D.H. Lawrence’s LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, a book that may be a famous love story but is not necessarily known as a true romance with a happy ending.

Unlike Mellors the gamekeeper in LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, Mel the gardener in I TAKE YOU is not encumbered with a wife whom he does not love, though as a divorced man, he still carries the bitterness of the failed relationship with him as he and Connie embark on their dangerous affair. But Lawrence’s Sir Clifford has suffered a complete character assassination here, as Gemmell twists him into the most evil of husbands, one who refuses to accept Connie in his life as anything other than yet another of his acquired possessions, and will stop at nothing to force his sexual will on her to satisfy his desires, while crushing any she might have had of her own. With Cliff as the unredeemable villain, we can’t help but cheer Connie on as she clings to Mel as her only salvation from a life she’s lived for everyone but herself, and any possible shades of gray in her actions are completely wiped out in the face of such a horrible alternative.

I TAKE YOU'S opening scenes at the country mansion are first-rate erotica and easily the best part of the entire book. It was also good to see Connie and Mel get the happy ending that D.H. Lawrence had previously denied them. But D.H. Lawrence’s ghostly presence combined with Gemmell’s use of the third person present tense (‘The car is driven... Connie sits upright...The driver fumbles...’) made this a very difficult read for me overall. Still, it did prompt me to reread LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, a book I would recommend more than this one.


Overall: 3 stars
Sensuality level: 4
(public exhibition including forced genital piercing, cuckold play, adultery)

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Heather J @ TLC Book Tours January 17, 2014 at 10:23 AM  

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

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