Cassie Robichaud’s life is filled with regret and loneliness after the sudden death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed. The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality
S.E.C.R.E.T. corresponds to the first erotic novel of a trilogy, and here it ends any the possible similarities with other works categorized under this literary genre, because originality is one of its characteristics that most impresses the reader in this narrative.
The author, L. Marie Adeline, writes this story using a pseudonym, and gives us an array of characters, using as set the fascinating and mysterious New Orleans, USA.
Cassie Robichaud is our protagonist. She is a young widow, in her thirties, initially shy, dull and lacking strong feelings at an emotional level, since she has experienced a premature widowhood, and her husband, an alcoholic, did not lead her to full realization as a woman.
A maid at Café Rose, she works in the company of two colleagues - the kind Dell and the arrogant Tracina [the inconvenient girlfriend of Will - Cassie´s the sexy boss].
A customer leaves by mistake [has it been so?] a curious diary, telling his sensual and sexual experiences, all very daring and rewarding. Unable to resist the natural human curiosity and voyeurism, Cassie cannot resist reading some passages of such document before it is claimed by the rightful owner.
Cassie finds herself recruited to profit from the help of a strange secret society – S.E.C.R.E.T.- Whose original functions are to provide local women, who accept some challenges, a rediscovery and personal growth on a psychological, emotional and sexual basis, daring to fulfill their most secret fantasies, losing fear, and gaining self-esteem and self-confidence that they thought to have lost forever.
In a climate of continuous suspense, the author knows how to build (missing an object) perfectly, we dive into the world of S.E.C.R.E.T., through the reports of the various personal experiences narrated by Cassie. The whole process is divided into ten steps, and when succeeded in each of them, the participants gain a pendant for an elegant gold bracelet that turns out to be the symbol of the achievements of these women and mark of their gradual development. (this is far too big and it is only an extended synopsis)
Written in a simple but irreproachable way, both on syntactic and grammatical levels, the author takes us to closely watch, and without sparing any details, the path of Cassie, towards her growth as a sensual and self-confident woman, which is predisposed to seek her future happiness.
The scenes of explicit sexual nature are quite detailed and daring, but are properly contextualized, and if it is true that this story involves sex and eroticism in high doses, the truth is that it goes well beyond this component.
S.E.C.R.E.T. provides moments of healthy irony, and the confessional tone of the narrative, done through the first person by Cassie Robichaud will grow in making the reader empathize with this character.
Truly delicious is the personification of the five years of enforced celibacy of the protagonist: "When experiencing new clothes, those five years were on the mirror looking at me, making me feel ridiculous. Five years were also put under the table whenever I had a date , lying at my feet. "
The novel also portrays the daily lives and cultural traditions of New Orleans, and turns out to be possible to draw a curious enough parallel between Cassie, while being reconstructed as a woman and as a person, and the the city facing its slow reconstruction process, after the trail of death and destruction left by Hurricane Katrina.
Through an engaging writing and an unexpected twist end that leaves the readers curious about the emotional future of Cassie, and the next activities of S.E.C.R.E.T.
At the end of this first novel in the trilogy, many answers emerge, but lots of questions remain waiting for an answer, which leads the reader to a sense of wanting to uncover many more secrets.
And you reader? Do you accept the next step?
It is worthwhile to unveil this unique universe, where women take the leading role in the evolution of the whole story, the power of the eternal feminine in all its essence and in the form of a story that came to distract us, but above all, to make us think about choices, consequences, decisions and necessary changes, conquered step by step.
I, recommend this book without any hesitation. It matched and even exceeded my expectations.