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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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10/22/2008 Archived Entry: "Book review: Naughty Paris"

Naughty Paris
Written by Jina Bacarr
Published by Spice, imprint of Harlequin Enterprises
ISBN-10:  037360517x
ISBN-13:  9780373605170

Review by Jilly Gee

Autumn Maguire should be on a romantic honeymoon in Paris, but it turns out her fiancé is a cheat and liar and all that other bad stuff ex-lovers in fiction are.  She uses the nonrefundable honeymoon trip tickets to see the city she's always wanted to see, despite having no fresh groom to share it with.  Trying to get away from the heavy rain, she ducks into an art studio, inhabited by an artist who is, incidentally, looking for a nude model.  Having come this far, she doesn't refuse, and is actually having a pretty good time with an extremely handsome portrait of an artist long gone and a bronze statue of a fertility god when lightning strikes the studio, sending electricity coursing through said bronze statue and into Autumn.  Fortunately for her, instead of being burnt to a crisp and dying, she instead is sent back in time to 1889, a time when the handsome artist in the portrait she was enjoying so thoroughly was still alive.

The experience is not exactly the romantic adventure she would have dreamed up for a visit to olden-day Paris, however.  Yes, because of a half-serious wish to the statue, she has the body of a gorgeous twenty-year-old instead of her normal, slightly round, mid-thirty-ish body, but this also means that many of the prominent men of Paris think she's a whore and go after her as if she were property and not a person.  Paul Bourquet, the handsome artist mentioned earlier, is of course not one of those men, for he is the hero for the heroine, the one man who begins to prefer Autumn's mind over her body.

Naughty Paris is an erotic novel and as such, it focuses on gratifying carnal desires more than anything else.  If a reader were to just flip to random pages of the novel, that reader would more than likely hit upon sexual acts, the agony of desire, the mention of hot juices in body parts.  I can't recall more than a moment going by without some kind of mention of sensuality, which seemed to leave little room for richer storytelling; even mundane activities such as eating fruit arouse the characters.  The historical Parisian setting and the use of black magic were what attracted me to the title in the first place, but those items play second fiddle to the erotica.  Not to be a prude, but after the first couple of hundred pages of Autumn and Paul doing almost nothing but each other and then subsequently lusting after each other, it starts to get old.  If the novel was a little shorter or there were more plot points to balance the story with the eroticism, I would have been a satisfied reader.

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