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The Concubine's Gift by K. Ford K.

The Concubine's Gift

by K. Ford K.

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“I was really surprised by how much I loved The Concubine’s Gift. When I agreed to read and review it I thought the book was going to be an erotic novel of which I don’t mind reading from time to time but this was just a sweet romantic story with a little bit of spice.
Even though she is really inhibited Bernice blossoms into becoming more comfortable with her sexuality while helping others. She has a good core of friends that help her manage the visions and what comes with them. I also like the way the problem of the magical powder is resolved. Also there is a side story line that is tied up quite nicely in the end. I highly recommend this one for all contemporary romance lovers.”
“Finally, a positive novel about sex that is funny, warmhearted and smart, not to mention just plain hot!
The setting of this novel is delightful. Most of the story takes place in a quaint all-American town that is grappling with its own whore-house-filled history. The main characters are beautifully drawn, from the shy, sexually inhibited but much too curious Bernice Babbitt to wise old Mrs. Lin, sexpot Trina Trinket and a mysterious concubine named Blissful Night whose antique makeup case in the curious hands of Bernice Babbitt causes all the trouble.
My favorite part was the ending with its positive message about sex but I won’t reveal it here! My husband loved the erotic scenes that are sprinkled throughout. No matter what your favorite part may be, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.”
“Sexy and lovable and entertaining!
Main character Bernice Babbitt was wonderful and lovable! I wanted to hear more of their personal stories, especially Ruby’s! Would like to have heard more about Peony/Blissful Night’s story as well. A book focused on Ruby’s adventures and another book about Peony specifically would get my vote! I loved how this book approached sex with openness and unashamedly. I especially love how Bernice approached what she saw concerning her own daughter and how she handled that information.”
“This was a very entertaining read. The storytelling and the characters were bold and delightful. I highly recommend this book.”
“A great beach read for adults!
When I was contacted by the author about reading this book, I’ll admit the synopsis piqued my interest. Unfortunately, I was so busy it took me a month before I was able to finally start reading it. Once started, I flew right threw it in about a day and a half.
This is one of those fun, fast reads that you bring to the beach. It’s both funny and provocative, not quite a romance but most definitely an adult read. It’s a story about finding and being true to yourself, the role that family plays in our lives and the power of true friendship. I thoroughly enjoyed it!”
“Entertaining read!
I won this book in a giveaway. When I first received it I wasn’t sure what I would think but after reading it I loved it. Loved the ending especially. I also liked how one lady brought them all together. It was just a lovely story. I wish there was a second book. :)
Berenice loves antiques that are connected with anything erotic. When Mrs. Lin sells her a make up case with a stuck drawer that used to belong to a famous concubine, her curiousity gets the better of her and she gets the drawer opened. What she finds inside turns her life upside down and the whole towns is in a uproar.”
The Concubine’s Gift is a whimsical tale of a love and sex, and the importance of having both for a happy, fulfilling life. Bernice Babbitt is a shy, sexually repressed inkeeper in the small town of Valentine, NV, where she lives with her husband and two teenage children. Her life is changed when she purchases an old makeup case, which contains nothing but a small jar of face powder, which had reportedly been owned by a famous concubine. However, the powder is not merely make-up. In fact, it give Bernice the ability to see the sexual fantasies, past and future of the people around her. With the help of her four friends, Bernice finds her way through this experience, helping people and herself as well along the way.”
“A delightful short novel of sex, magic, and scandal in a small town.” ( )
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  kfordk | Apr 9, 2014 |
*** Note: I was given this novel by the author for review***

This was an extremely good book, it was a nice change of pace from the romance books that I have been reading.

The author has the ability to describe such a colorful town, both in the conservative townspeople as well as the liberal members. The author could have chosen to go over the relationship of Bernice or tried to make a romance out of the book, but instead she focused her purpose on one protagonist’s self-discovery.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have so many quotes that touched me, but this review could only be so long. It has been a while since I have read a book that had such a well-built and uniformed theme. I found connections and concepts from A Game of Thrones to foot binding. I can say that every woman should read this book and reflect on their life. Is there anything that you need to change and be honest to yourself and others? As Shakespeare says: “to thine own self be true.” ( )
  Bea_writer | Sep 21, 2013 |

The small town of Valentine, Nevada was once famous for it's bordellos, the most popular being the Honey Bunny Ranch. Now that it's nothing more than ruins, the townsfolk are divided over what to do about it. Rebuild or make way for something that won't involve sex and prostitutes. The people of Valentine seem to fit in either one of two categories: the sexually open-minded and the rather prudish. Bernice Babbitt is one of the latter. At thirty-nine years old, she's sexually inhibited and blushes at the mere mention of anything remotely personal. She was raised to view sex and lust as shameful. It is with little surprise that her curiosity never vanished, she just merely suppressed it. Her secret indulgence is her collection of erotic memorabilia. When her friend and antique dealer Mrs Lin shows her a black lacquer make-up case once rumored to have belonged to Hong Kong's most famous concubine, Blissful Night, Bernice can't help herself, she has to have it. When she discovers a jar of face powder hidden within, she sees no harm in trying a little. After all, it's just make-up, right? Shortly after using the powder, not only does it seem to instantly beautify her skin, but she's suddenly assaulted by a very intimate, sexual encounter of two of her motel guests. Nothing seems to stop the visions until she blurts out to the pair what they need to do in order to have a more satisfying sex life. One the one hand, Bernice continues to use the powder to keep looking beautiful and radiant, but she doesn't seem to put two and two together that the unwelcome visions could be linked to it. While she continues to give out advice, her recipients are more than happy to comply with her suggestions. All is well until the meddling Church women catch wind of what she's been doing, much to their disapproval. It isn't until Bernice has a vision of someone close to her, and she hears the full story of Blissful Night's past that finally forces her to acknowledge she may have a problem.

Bernice's struggle to go against the way she was raised and embrace sexuality (even if it's through strangers rather than personal experience) was both humorous and made me feel sorry for her. Her little circle of close friends were also a surprise. There's Mrs Lin a fantastic storyteller, and Trina Trinkett who loves men and sleeping with them, and she isn't shy about it either. The times when Trinkett talks to Bernice about her conquests made me laugh, mainly because of Bernice's reactions. The visions themselves aren't crude or highly erotic, but sensual and decadent (my favorite was definitely the vision of Ruby, the artist). The purpose of the visions seemed not just to help those involved become better lovers, but rather help set them on a path that would free their souls and make them happy. It wasn't just all about sexual fulfillment and fantasies (see the case of Rusty, Mrs Wright and Polly). The flashbacks of Blissful Night's life from a young, innocent little girl to concubine were rich in detail and emotion. If you've read Memoirs of a Geisha, there were a few similarities to Peony rise to fame, love and heartbreak. I loved catching those glimpses until we find out what her fate was at the very end, and the message or intended lesson was clear.

This was a very entertaining read. The storytelling and the characters were bold and delightful. I highly recommend this book.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair review. ( )
  MsRomanticReads | Apr 12, 2013 |
A story about sexual discovery, empowerment and the happiness achieved through self-acceptance and love. A surprisingly beautiful story that blends in everyday aspects with well preconceived taboos giving an almost puritan yet extremely curious woman the ability to see other people’s sexual experiences and the elated feelings that accompany such moments.

The Concubine’s Gift follows Bernice as she struggles to accept her inner most emotions and desires that contrast greatly with her strong, religious upbringing. As daughter of the town’s minister and the only charm school teacher with a rebellious brother, Bernice has spent her entire life avoiding confrontation, swallowing her opinions and making sure that she pleases everyone else at the expense of her own happiness and satisfactions. The only signs of Bernice’s true thoughts and ideals are encased in a very private, much hidden collection of erotica memorabilia.

The story contrasts the sense of decorum versus sexual liberation. I was surprised at how easily I was sucked into it. I enjoyed following Bernice and the other various characters as they made their journey to blissful love making; yes, not just sex –love making. That is ultimately the main theme of this book, love so instinctual that it’s reached its maximum through unrestricted carnal expression.

The story also juxtaposes the current believes and the new openness when it comes to, well, almost everything, versus the ideas and moral values engraved in our subconscious by our family, our community and our culture. This is most evident by the town’s division in opinions when it comes to the bordello.

The bottom line is that I really enjoyed this book, and even though it’s just a fiction story, it makes you reconsider your notions and your stance on sexuality.

Some quotes:

This one:
“Bernice was fascinated by Trinket because she wore her sexuality as openly as a fragrant perfume. She was also amazed by the fact that Trinket found life so easy and satisfying.” (Kindle Locations 131-133)
In contrast with:
“She [Bernice] didn’t like anything that had an adult theme, with only one exception, her collection of erotic female memorabilia. They were all antiques, fragments of other women’s sexuality that was somehow easier to deal with than her own.” (Kindle Locations 143-145)
There is:
“It’s just as well,” she thought. “If I told them what I really think, they’d shit roses.” (Kindle Locations 159-160)
In contrast with:
“But Bernice also did not believe that hiding her true opinions and sexual feelings was dishonest. She thought it was similar to hiding a defect and Bernice felt that her defect was that she had too much sexual interest, too much excitability and far too much empathy for prostitutes. She never once considered that properly channeled, her sexuality might be normal or that her opinion might be right.” (Kindle Locations 245-248)
And this one simply because it’s pretty awesome:
“The erotic arts have the same goal as religion; to prevent men from acting like beasts.” (Kindle Locations 1430-1431)
This review also appears at Journe with Words ( )
  Soireb | Mar 30, 2013 |
This was one of the first ebooks I ever downloaded for free to my first Nook. I enjoyed it well enough. The ghostly aspects and naughtiness of it were rather silly (in a nice way). I would not consider it great literature, however. ( )
  Anna_Erishkigal | Mar 30, 2013 |
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