Feature book: Teach Me
Teach Me is an erotic story about Elizabeth, a widow who is constantly curious and has a vast thirst for knowledge. Even though she had been married and even briefly taken a lover after the death of her husband, she knows very little about sex and she pays a Madam to be ‘educated in the carnal pleasures, both giving and receiving’. To her surprise, instead of verbal instruction from the Madam herself, she is given into the hands of a ‘tutor’, the jaded Earl of Malvern (James) for not just verbal instruction, but practical demonstrations too.
James is cold and remote and has no friends to speak of. He thinks little of himself and tries to pursue pleasure in all its many forms but he finds it increasingly elusive. All of the things he has done, including having sex with both men and women and participating in orgies etc, are leaving him bored and restless. He takes on the role of tutoring the little ‘mouse’ in an effort to escape the boredom and amuse himself.
Elizabeth is bold and brave, vibrant and enthusiastic. Their interactions instruct her but they revive his zest for life (or perhaps create it as it isn’t definite he ever had any). He was raised by a depraved roué, and feels he is destined to follow in the long line of rakes and debauchers in his family—he is not worthy of love and so pushes her away. After months of misery without her, he caves and they end up, of course, happily ever after.
This is an erotic romance with emphasis on the erotic—the sex is frequent and explicit—so much of the sex seemed to be there for titillation rather than to drive the story and those parts of the book palled.
I did wonder if some of the language used really belonged in Victorian England and even though the text told me that Elizabeth’s position in society was not so very high that she had to worry overly about her reputation, I was dubious—she was the widow of a Viscount after all.
I liked that Elizabeth took the time to learn to understand James and didn’t automatically jump to negative conclusions about his behaviour. She looked deeper and thought before she reacted to any of his meanness. And James could be a total jackass—an attribute he demonstrates a number of times in the book. However, in the end I did believe Elizabeth had him wrapped around her finger and his jackass-ery was either a thing of the past or at least something reserved for those other than Elizabeth.
Reviewed by Kaetrin
A review copy of this book was provided by the author.