The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell

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The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A newlywed discovers her husband's secrets, but they're not kinky (boo!) and her own follow up is simmer rather than sizzle.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 400 Date: April 2004
Publisher: Fourth Estate
ISBN: 978-0007163540

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A young woman, newly married. Discovering her husband is not all he seems. That he has secrets. That she has needs, wants, desires. That she will need to take things into her own hands if she is ever to be satisfied in her new role as wife.

Although originally published in 2004, this book has been reissued to lap up some of the overflowing success of Fifty Shades Of Grey by EL James and its sequels. It has a sleek monochrome cover, fitting in with the aforementioned trilogy, and a blurb on the back that suggests a sexual awakening to rival Ana’s. But though it looks the part, I think those simply wanting another take on the current number one hit will be disappointed by this, because the similarities are few and far between.

This is a slow book – some would say painfully slow – that, a bit like certain males within the pages, takes a long time to reach its climax. The road is a winding one, too, starting with a honeymoon in Marrakech. The prospect of heat is there, but it never extends beyond the heady climate of the city. From there it’s back home to life as a newlywed, again with great potential to live out the title, and yet this bride and her husband don’t seem that bothered about ripping the clothes off each other. For page after page I was wondering where this was going, and then suddenly, much like when you finally find your way out of a maze, it turned a corner and the (in this case filthy) escape was right in front of me.

The sex in this book is not the same as in Fifty Shades, and not just due to the absence of a red room of pain. It is not especially erotic, more matter of fact, and although some of the decisions made could in themselves be considered hot, it seems like that is not the point of the story. Almost as if they’re there to tell it how it is, rather than turn you on. The wife, and I must call her that since we don’t know her name, is a complex character who is very much finding her feet in relationships, let alone marriage, but she is strong and wilful too, and definitely not subversive. While her candid style takes some getting used to, it is at the same time fresh and contemporary, and I can imagine her garnering the fans that Ana Steele quickly lost through one too many conversations with her inner goddess. At the same time, this book was originally published anonymously because the author thought it too raw / honest / whatever to put her own name to – which puzzled me because although it is quite frank, there’s nothing in it I imagine you’ve not heard (or yourself thought) before, no ideas that really push the boundaries of what is considered decent.

The writing style is quite detached, staccato even, and while it was certainly interesting and original at first, it didn’t help keep the story flowing. Nor did the never ending number of chapters (split into over 100 ‘lessons’ on how to be a wife and a woman) as the direction and focus changed with the start of each new one.

I did not quite get the point of the notes about a woman who had disappeared without a trace, leaving only this manuscript behind. It set the story off well but then was never mentioned again, and the ending doesn’t lead to that conclusion. It gave a nice angle, but was never followed through.

In the end the book left me puzzled and a little confused but not wholly unsatisfied. Indeed, for a good chunk in the middle when Gabriel joins the action, I was reeled in and ploughing through at a steady pace, but it was neither as captivating nor as dirty as I had expected, and because of the way it’s being put forward, those were two things I was expecting it to be. It is much more believable than Fifty Shades, and whether or not it’s a memoir, the point is it could be, but because of that you might find it just a smidge too ordinary too.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

If you want an honest account of a dirty mind that goes further and does it with a saucy smile, Girl With a One Track Mind: Exposed: Further Revelations of a Sex Blogger by Abby Lee shows why even pseudonyms aren't always the answer for those putting their sex lives out there for all to read.

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Buy The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell at


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