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The Waiting Room by Remittance Girl
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The Waiting Room

by Remittance Girl

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Showing 4 of 4
not really a romance but still really enjoyed it ( )
  ClaudiaGC | Sep 21, 2013 |
I like my erotica novels to have good writing, plot and characters.
The author seems to concur, judging by something she writes on her profile on the Goodreads forum. The way I understand her remarks is that she feels erotica, besides being romantic fiction and/or pornography, can also address how erotic desire shapes the lives of the novel's characters.

So I had high hopes.
And got somewhat disappointed.

Not in the writing: I find the author's writing to be good. I like especially its descriptive narrative. The Waiting Room is the third story I've read from this author. All three stories were set in Asia and the author makes this setting an integral part of her works.
Not in the pornography aspect either: the novel has plenty of titillating scenes.
As far as romantic interest goes, I am of the opinion that you need strong characters and plot to convey this aspect.
And this is where I found fault with the novel. In the character building and development and the plot.
To my mind the writer has done her best to add philosophical layers to the basic story of boy with kinky desires meets non-kinky girl. And I wish she hadn't.

Spoilers ahead:
The story revolves around two peole travelling in Asia: Alexander and Sophie. Besides this there are some chapters where Alexander looks back on what happened, talking to his friend Marcus.
Alexander is a medical doctor with something of a burnout. He is also rather kinky. When he sees Sophie at Angkor Wat, he immediately sees something special in her. So he follows her to the place where they meet. Creepy do you think? Perhaps.
He is fascinated though. Besides, she is broken, or sick, or suffering from a mental illness of kinds, something to do with 'existentielle angst' (the doctor only knows the german term) and Kafka. He sees this in a blink. Well, he is a doctor after all, he should know, right? Besides, he knows for sure when Sophie sort of has an out of body experience when he spanks her to make her feel better.
Yup.
He spanks her because of what happened when they met in a waiting room, looking forward to a night spent there on a bench, waiting for the next train. When Sophie sees the stranger Alex start to masturbate, she decides to join him, by starting to masturbate herself. Because this is obviously sensible behavior when you're a woman alone travelling abroad. Also, being the aloof, lonely, introverted person she is depicted to be elsewhere in the novel, this is a logical way to connect to another human being, right? Especially when he comes over to her bench to spurt his semen all over her. No, her dress didn't mucky, she opened the buttons already, don't worry.
But she feels bad about her behavior a bit later anyway. And so, when they are in the hotel room they have taken together as a result of their meeting, he spanks her. And she mentally disconnects. She also always does that during sex.
It's obvious now that there is something very wrong with her, right?
And Dr. Alex Haas sets out to cure her. He suggests she submit to his treatment for three days. That's right. Because kink is an infallible cure for mental illness. Didn't you know?
Well, Sophie has an epiphany as well, something *is* wrong with her, and she agrees to Alex's 3-day proposal. And because of it, we have all these pages in the book describing what happens between them (and to slowly find out what I have summarized above by the way).
End spoiler

Now I appreciate the author's attempt to write about the type of girl who is in general more in touch with the detached ratio in her head than with the touchy-feely emotion in her body. The ones who hang on to 'control' for dear life.
I really do.
But after reading the last page and taking several days to collect my thoughts on what it was that I just read, I just switched off. Just not believable, this particular character building combined with these particular plot mechanisms.
A crying shame, too, because the writing was really good and the steamy scenes really hot. ( )
  Bluerabella | Apr 11, 2013 |
Originally posted at Romance Around the Corner

This review on Dear Author caught my attention. The subject was daunting to me, but I usually enjoy the books Janine recommends
so I decided to check out the author. That’s how I came across The Waiting Room.

The book opens with Sophie getting ready to spend the night in the waiting room of a Cambodian train station. She’s not alone, there’s a man there as well. She falls asleep but a noise of a zipper lowering awakens her, and when she opens her eyes she sees him masturbating. At first she is shocked and doesn’t really know what to do, but instead of running or screaming she just stays and watches. She becomes aroused by him, the setting and something inside her, so she ends up masturbating with him. Afterwards, they decide to go to a hotel and spend the night and that’s when the story begins.

Explaining more would mean spoiling the plot but one thing you should know is that Alex, the stranger, is not a perv and neither is Sophie. He has been watching her for days and can recognize something in her, something akin to the man he used to be years ago. He can see that she’s broken and the fascination he feels is equal parts desire to help her and just plain greed. He wants to fix her for her wellbeing but also for the power that comes from it.

One of the aspects I found really interesting about the story is how the power progressively shifts from Alex to Sophie. Or maybe Alex was never truly in charge and I’m reading it wrong. But what’s obvious is that Sophie undergoes a change throughout the story. She goes from broken and just wandering, to broken but ready to fix herself. I don’t think she was a completely different person at the end of the story, but she wasn’t as helpless.

Sophie isn’t a likeable character, but I found her compelling, equal parts weak and strong. There were many things about her that remain a mystery. When she has sex she disconnects herself from the act so her body feels but her mind doesn’t. The reason for that is never clear, although at one point she assures Alex that she wasn’t abused or anything like that, so she is as clueless as we are. But is that true? Was she suppressing memories? I needed more answers, although I’m not sure the story would benefit from them.

Alex was even more mysterious and half the time I saw him more as a tool to help Sophie than anything else. It’s not until the end of the book that you realize how complex he was, just in a more subtle way than Sophie. His character arc was about accepting mistakes and not being so cocky. As I said, he wants to help Sophie, but he also wants the power and feeling of ownership that comes from it. I don’t think he was a good person and yet I liked him very much.

It may have all begun with his arrogance, but he was not so blind that he couldn’t see that it had ended with his need—to be needed.

“I didn’t say you should have dismissed her, Alex. But I want you to consider what you were in love with—her or her illness. Do you really think you could see through it to the essential Sophie?”

This is a BDSM story and I’m not an expert on the subject -I’m not even a fan- so my interpretation is probably wrong. But I like that it’s not just about sex but about the mind. It’s about rules, control and discipline, so sexual preference is part of it but not all. BDSM is a key element of the plot but the sex scenes are not heavy. You won’t find chains and whips here. But again, I’m not familiar with the subject, so for all I know chains and whips are just my ignorant view based on a stereotype and not at all accurate. What I do know is that I’m willing to read more stories like this one.

Finally, I must warn you that this is a highly erotic book, but not a romance. So don’t expect a conventional happy ending. I though the way it ends was fitting to both Sophie and Alex and exactly what they needed and deserved, but if you are looking for romance and HEAs you won’t find them here. The story is raw and gritty, and the content and language used may not be for everyone.

Grade: 4.5 ( )
  Brie.Clementine | Mar 31, 2013 |
Originally posted at Romance Around the CornerThis review on Dear Author caught my attention. The subject was daunting to me, but I usually enjoy the books Janine recommends so I decided to check out the author. That’s how I came across The Waiting Room.The book opens with Sophie getting ready to spend the night in the waiting room of a Cambodian train station. She’s not alone, there’s a man there as well. She falls asleep but a noise of a zipper lowering awakens her, and when she opens her eyes she sees him masturbating. At first she is shocked and doesn’t really know what to do, but instead of running or screaming she just stays and watches. She becomes aroused by him, the setting and something inside her, so she ends up masturbating with him. Afterwards, they decide to go to a hotel and spend the night and that’s when the story begins.Explaining more would mean spoiling the plot but one thing you should know is that Alex, the stranger, is not a perv and neither is Sophie. He has been watching her for days and can recognize something in her, something akin to the man he used to be years ago. He can see that she’s broken and the fascination he feels is equal parts desire to help her and just plain greed. He wants to fix her for her wellbeing but also for the power that comes from it.One of the aspects I found really interesting about the story is how the power progressively shifts from Alex to Sophie. Or maybe Alex was never truly in charge and I’m reading it wrong. But what’s obvious is that Sophie undergoes a change throughout the story. She goes from broken and just wandering, to broken but ready to fix herself. I don’t think she was a completely different person at the end of the story, but she wasn’t as helpless.Sophie isn’t a likeable character, but I found her compelling, equal parts weak and strong. There were many things about her that remain a mystery. When she has sex she disconnects herself from the act so her body feels but her mind doesn’t. The reason for that is never clear, although at one point she assures Alex that she wasn’t abused or anything like that, so she is as clueless as we are. But is that true? Was she suppressing memories? I needed more answers, although I’m not sure the story would benefit from them. Alex was even more mysterious and half the time I saw him more as a tool to help Sophie than anything else. It’s not until the end of the book that you realize how complex he was, just in a more subtle way than Sophie. His character arc was about accepting mistakes and not being so cocky. As I said, he wants to help Sophie, but he also wants the power and feeling of ownership that comes from it. I don’t think he was a good person and yet I liked him very much. It may have all begun with his arrogance, but he was not so blind that he couldn’t see that it had ended with his need—to be needed. “I didn’t say you should have dismissed her, Alex. But I want you to consider what you were in love with—her or her illness. Do you really think you could see through it to the essential Sophie?”This is a BDSM story and I’m not an expert on the subject -I’m not even a fan- so my interpretation is probably wrong. But I like that it’s not just about sex but about the mind. It’s about rules, control and discipline, so sexual preference is part of it but not all. BDSM is a key element of the plot but the sex scenes are not heavy. You won’t find chains and whips here. But again, I’m not familiar with the subject, so for all I know chains and whips are just my ignorant view based on a stereotype and not at all accurate. What I do know is that I’m willing to read more stories like this one. Finally, I must warn you that this is a highly erotic book, but not a romance. So don’t expect a conventional happy ending. I though the way it ends was fitting to both Sophie and Alex and exactly what they needed and deserved, but if you are looking for romance and HEAs you won’t find them here. The story is raw and gritty, and the content and language used may not be for everyone.Grade: 4.5 ( )
  Brie.Clementine | Aug 8, 2012 |
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