Where to begin? The inconsistent characterization? The horribly flowery purple prose with the most ridiculous metaphors and euphemisms I've ever seen? The sexual double standards? The unrealistic anatomy of every male character introduced?
There are some extremely minor, inconsequential spoilers within.
I picked up the book expecting something light and fluffy, but it had been a while since I'd read a truly erotic novel. She manages to write one with the main character not having sex until the novel is 3/4 of the way over, although there are plenty of elaborate sexual fantasies. More than I think is normal, but that's forgivable, seeing as it's an erotic novel.
The metaphors are ridiculous. They might not be that bad if they weren't so frequent, but they're constant, and they're painful. I read some aloud to my english major husband, and he was groaning in horror. I mean, come on, moon grotto? Dear little slit? Most honorable penis? How can anyone read a phrase like that and find it erotic? How can anyone find it anything but laughable?
Every male character in the novel is enormously well endowed, too. And extremely handsome. There are no ugly men in this book. And there are no, ahem, small men.
I found the main character to be incredibly inconsistent. First, she desperately wants to have sex and desperately wants to become a geisha. She sees them as sexually liberated, yet also believes their job is to please men. Let's set aside the fact that geisha were not prostitutes. In this book, they're prostitutes. When it comes time for her to "sell spring" she's suddenly not for sale and will only make love to a man she loves. What was up with the servant boy she almost slept with only a very short time earlier? She wasn't in love with him. I suppose it's POSSIBLE that she's simply painfully stupid rather than inconsistent.
Also, I don't know ANY woman who has become aroused by the sight of a man they barely know exposing himself. Let's pretend it's not going to make most women fear they're about to be raped. That sight alone is not gonna do it. In fact, if anything, it's a turn off. But every female in this novel seems to be deeply turned on by the sight alone of a man's equipment. Yeah, right. I don't buy it.
So, that was the review I wrote of this book in 2006, when there were only positive reviews of this book. It's not my best review, but I wrote it a long time ago, so I hope you'll be understanding about that. It was so terrible that I was actually pretty excited to write this review. I posted it on Amazon, and eagerly checked it every couple of hours in hopes of helpful votes. I was surprised and dismayed to find it vanished pretty quickly. I read over the guidelines, and decided maybe there was a mild spoiler in the review. I adjusted it, and posted it again. It disappeared. I posted it again, confident that it fit the guidelines, and I sent an email to amazon asking them to tell me what I was doing wrong. It disappeared and I put it back several times. Amazon wrote me back with a form letter and a copy of the guidelines which I'd told them in my email I had already read. I replied and accused them of not having read my email. They replied saying they understood my frustration, and here are our review guidelines. Seriously, this happened.
I spotted another negative review of the book. An hour or so later, my review was gone again, and so was the other negative review. I posted on my livejournal theorizing that the reviews on amazon were fake. My livejournal page was linked in my Amazon profile. (It sure as hell isn't anymore!) They were all over my livejournal, calling me ridiculous, racist (against white people being geishas, maybe?), compassionless. Eventually I had to lock up my journal and change the name. I made a discussion post under the Amazon book page asking why negative reviews were disappearing.
I was so naive.
I got utterly dogpiled. Billie Warren Chai, M. Rondeau, Deborah MacGillivray, Meagan Hatfield, Kristi Ahlers, and many others who may have been sockpuppets of these people, all told me my review was a personal attack against the author, it violated Amazon's guidelines, and I was a toxic, terrible person. I was informed that I'd re-posted the review 14 times. I'd lost count, so I'll take their word for it. They also claimed I posted it from multiple accounts. They also found my full name, which was NOT posted publicly on Amazon. I contacted consumer advocacy groups and the BBB, and got Amazon to remove the posts that blatantly violated my privacy. I also received weird, cryptic phone calls at my home.
There's still a post up on there claiming I was posted my review through multiple "passports" on Amazon.
Members of STGRB have accused me of lying about the experience. I don't have screen shots. But you can see, looking at that book, that there are NO negative reviews dated earlier than 2008, and then, suddenly, there are LOTS of them. This cannot be a coincidence. There is also a 2 star review that has 38 comments, from people such as Deborah MacGillivray, making similar accusations against this person to those that were made against me. You can see that these people were doing this. RC and everyone else at STGRB can call me a liar all they want.
No, there is ONE review from earlier than 2008. And that's mine. A little over a year ago, I posted it again, since I saw other reviews were no longer being removed. When I posted it, it went up as if I'd posted it back on that date. Which was infuriating, because that meant it was buried under all the other reviews. But that was the best I could manage.
So, this happened to me. And I'm sick of being told it's reviewers who are the bullies. That is absolute bullshit.