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Curio by Cara McKenna
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Curio

by Cara McKenna

Series: Curio (1)

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Showing 5 of 5
Curio is a little miracle of a book. It is, by far, the smartest take on the idea of a 'fantasy man' I've ever read - like a jazz riff or a roundel, iterating a seemingly-simple idea into something gloriously complex.

And surprisingly bittersweet.

The heroine, Caroly, is a 30 year old virgin. She's obsessed with beauty -- she's attracted to it, she's deeply insecure about her own lack of it, she's conflicted about being so superficial -- which is how she ends up hiring Didier, a gorgeous male model who works as a male prostitute.

Didier is a fantasy man. He exists to fulfill the needs of his partners, to please women; he becomes whatever the woman he's with wants from a man, he's pleased when she's satisfied. And, not surprisingly, he's a bit of an emotional cripple. The more Caroly questions him, asking him what he wants, asking what makes him happy, the more his fundamental nature is revealed to be sensitive and vulnerable and delicate.

Curio is short enough that saying much more would spoil the experience. I am amazed by McKenna's skill as a writer, the kind of emotional depth and complexity she's managed to inject into a story of this length. I cried happy tears at the end.

Highly, highly recommended.
( )
  MlleEhreen | Sep 20, 2013 |
What an engrossing read. Nothing happening but two people talking and eventually healing eachother. Fantastic! ( )
  saturnnalia | Jul 14, 2013 |
Curio is a little miracle of a book. It is, by far, the smartest take on the idea of a 'fantasy man' I've ever read - like a jazz riff or a roundel, iterating a seemingly-simple idea into something gloriously complex.

And surprisingly bittersweet.

The heroine, Caroly, is a 30 year old virgin. She's obsessed with beauty -- she's attracted to it, she's deeply insecure about her own lack of it, she's conflicted about being so superficial -- which is how she ends up hiring Didier, a gorgeous male model who works as a male prostitute.

Didier is a fantasy man. He exists to fulfill the needs of his partners, to please women; he becomes whatever the woman he's with wants from a man, he's pleased when she's satisfied. And, not surprisingly, he's a bit of an emotional cripple. The more Caroly questions him, asking him what he wants, asking what makes him happy, the more his fundamental nature is revealed to be sensitive and vulnerable and delicate.

Curio is short enough that saying much more would spoil the experience. I am amazed by McKenna's skill as a writer, the kind of emotional depth and complexity she's managed to inject into a story of this length. I cried happy tears at the end.

Highly, highly recommended.
( )
  MlleEhreen | Apr 3, 2013 |
There are a ton of things I loved about this book. That she managed to make a 29 year old virgin heroine a grown-up member of the real world is one of them. Caroly may have had self-image issues and a fear of rejection that turned her off dating and on to patronizing a prostitute, but she had a libido and a sexuality of her own. She was the virgin, but she wasn't an ingenue. Their first encounter has Caroly asking Didier to masturbate in front of her, and her increasingly confident requests throughout the night showed a woman taking an active role rather than submitting passively to a seduction.

I also loved that while Didier clearly enjoyed the concept of being her first sexual partner, she was neither the first virgin who'd come to him nor was she the first woman he wanted to date since he'd become a prostitute. He'd had two relationships before that fell apart over perfectly normal issues. Avoiding the old "tortured soul healed by a pure woman's love" cliche was awesome. Didier wasn't the least bit emotionally closed off. He's just an agoraphobic lover of women.

Where the book faltered was the dialog. While I thought lots of Caroly's personality came through it the first-person narration, the dialog often felt wooden. They often spoke in paragraphs, Didier especially, and it felt scripted for the sake of the plot. ( )
  Ridley_ | Apr 1, 2013 |
4.5 stars, rounded up. Why I read it: Various of my Twitter pals had been raving about this one and I finally picked it up in the St. Pats day sales.What it's about: It's a man-whore book!! Here's the blurb from Goodreads - Caroly Evardt never expected to find herself patronizing a male prostitute. Then again, she never expected to be weeks from her thirtieth birthday and still a virgin.When a friend mentions that a gorgeous male model in Paris sells his body as well as his image, Caroly's intrigued. Finally, a chance to sample the gifts of a beautiful man—no strings, no stakes, no fear of rejection.But she soon discovers that Didier Pedra amounts to more than a striking face and talented body. He's a kind, charming, damaged man, and after a few evenings of pleasurable education, Caroly's interest blossoms into something far deeper than mere lust. Her simple arrangement is suddenly feeling downright dangerousWhat worked for me (and what didn't): I expected erotic - after all, it's a man-whore book! (The author herself calls it that, so it is not an insult). What I didn't expect was the emotional depth it contained. At just over 100 pages, this story packs a punch. Didier was gorgeous and oh so sexy but also deeply vulnerable. The story is told from Caroly's first person POV (and yes, her name is explained int he text - it is not a typo!). She has a dry, self-deprecating wit which I appreciated I was an extremely homely kid, growing up in northern New Hampshire. I wasn't quite the ugly duckling who blossomed into a beautiful swan... I merely developed into an okay-looking duck.and this I could walk down his street and be like everyone else. I could have a lover. This is Paris, after all. Having a lover is like having a pancreas.Fortunately for me, the hero-centric reader, there is a quite a lot of dialogue in the story so I felt I did get to know Didier a little. He was so much more on the page than just a pretty face and gorgeous body. I would have been happy to read what happens next, but I appreciated that the story was told by the time the book ended.I found the book compelling and so much more than merely erotic - although, make no mistake, it is that too.What else? I was actually getting quite nervous toward the end that the magic would be spoiled by a disastrous ending - even though I had been assured before I bought the book that all would be well. The resolution was hopeful and fairly happy but a bit on the unusual side and there were some things unresolved (- for example, would Didier continue to work as a prostitute?) and there was an element of unbelievability to it but I was happy to accept the fairy tale and go along with it.This was a very sexy and also very moving read. When I finished it, I had a ridiculous smile on my face and all I could say was "wow".Grade: A- ( )
  Kaetrin | Aug 13, 2012 |
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Caroly Evardt never expected to find herself patronizing a male prostitute. Then again, she never expected to be weeks from her thirtieth birthday and still a virgin. When a friend mentions that a gorgeous male model in Paris sells his body as well as his image, Caroly's intrigued. Finally, a chance to sample the gifts of a beautiful man, no strings, no stakes, no fear of rejection. But she soon discovers that Didier Pedra amounts to more than a striking face and talented body. He's a kind, charming, damaged man, and after a few evenings of pleasurable education, Caroly's interest blossoms into something far deeper than mere lust. Her simple arrangement is suddenly feeling downright dangerous...… (more)

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