Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Pages: 400
Date: 25/06/2013
Grade: 5
Details: No. 1 Original Sinners, The Red Years
Own / Kindle / Paperback

The blurb from the author’s website:

“Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she's sure it'll be her breakout book…if it ever sees the light of day.
Zachary Easton holds Nora's fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards—in six weeks—or it's no deal.
Nora's grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining…and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous—staying away from him…or returning to his bed?
Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple.”

I have to admit that, as a rule, I don’t do re-reads. Why read a story you already know when there are so many new books to discover? Well, I guess this book and its two sequels provide the answer to that question; you re-read a book because it is impossible not to do so, because it is the only way you can make sure that you will do the final book in the series justice and because regardless of how many new books may be waiting for your attention, the urge to go back to the start is just too strong.

Since this is a re-read I’m not going to do a proper review again. If you’re interested in my thoughts on this book you can have a look at the original review. And, if you do, you’ll notice that my grade for the book today is slightly higher than it was the first time around. That is because back then I read the book too fast. I got so caught up in the story, so desperate to find out how it would end that I missed a lot of the detail and beauty I did catch this time. And yet, although this was a re-read I still had to force myself to take it slow. The urge to rush on, an urge created by the tension in the story and my connection to the characters, was (almost) as strong as it was the first time, even if I knew how the story was going to end.

So, no proper review this time; instead I’m going to share some of my favourite quotes from this book; sentences that touched me, described feelings I recognised or just blew me away with their beauty.  I may include some stray thoughts here and there when I feel like it, but apart from the blurb above I probably won’t say a whole lot about the story, except that it is brilliant and even more so on re-reading.

There were times that I wanted to kick myself while reading this book again. How did I not realise that “The Angel” was about Mick. The clue is in The Siren. I know it is only one sentence but when Nora says to Michael “You are, angel” that’s your hint, right there! Of course, my big fear is that I have yet again managed to miss clues and hints; my big fear and yet something I’m almost sure about.

Chapter Two, Nora makes her entrance and a grin appears on my face. A grin that grows wider whenever she opens her mouth and refuses to completely disappear, even after I put the book down. Except of course, for those moments when she managed to break my heart and I found myself with tears in my eyes. But that is Nora for you:

“You told me to stop writing what I knew and start writing what I wanted to know. I want to know…you.” (Nora to Zach)

“I sin boldly” – Nora.

“He’s the only man who never hurt me.” Nora about Søren.

“The most familiar darkness…her darkness…she was home.”

Or, as Søren would put it:

How easily you forgive, Eleanor. How freely you absolve the sins of others. Tell me, little one, when the time comes, how will you absolve yours?”


“Eleanor, there are suicide bombers on the Gaza Strip who are less dangerous than you are.”

Because this book takes you on an emotional roller-coaster ride the likes of which you rarely experience in fiction. Laugh out loud to cry out loud may only take a paragraph, smiles turn into frowns and back again and through it all complete and utter awe. Awe at the mastery of Tiffany Reisz’ words, the vividness of her characters, the realness of her world. A world I’ve all but lost myself in. But who can blame me when you’re confronted by writing like this:

“He kissed her like her mouth was his mouth, her lips were his lips, her tongue was his tongue. They were one flesh.”

“When Søren touched her she became his. When Wesley touched her, she became herself.”

“We can only sacrifice so much of ourselves in a relationship before there’s nothing left to love or be loved.” (This quote made me think and be eternally grateful for reasons I won’t go into here.)

“Broken love is the most dangerous love. It will slice you open with every touch.”

And for what is probably the best sentence in this book:

“There are only two reasons why you leave someone you’re still in love with – either it’s the right thing to do, or it’s the only thing to do.”

Since I first read “The Siren”, I’ve read “The Angel” and “The Prince” as well as all available short stories about the Original Sinners. I can’t begin to explain how much my reading experience was enhanced by the fact that I knew all the characters better than I had that first time. In fact, it’s a bit like having sex; it only improves as you get to know each other better.

I have seen this book described as “literary smut”, and I couldn’t agree more except that the word “smut” doesn’t seem to encompass enough to describe this book. But, if the Dutch can have “literary thriller” as an established genre I don’t know why we can’t have “literary smut” as well. And while we’re at it, I suggest we make Tiffany Reisz its Mistress.

And on that note I think my non-review is long enough. I could have gone on endlessly with my quotes. I’ve got at least another fifteen that I would love to share. But that defeats the purpose of this piece. If you haven’t gotten the message yet that this is a brilliant book, you never will. And that would be your loss. Books/series this good are few and far between; don’t deprive yourself. Buy them, read them and love them!

“You’re beautiful enough and wild enough that you make me think things I never thought I would think again and feel things I didn’t think I’d feel again. And you make me afraid I’ll start forgetting things I don’t ever want to forget.” Zach to Nora

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