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The yearning by Kate Belle

The yearning

by Kate Belle

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It would be easy to write off The Yearning as a book in the vein of Fifty Shades given its frequent steamy sex scenes. But if you continue reading, you are rewarded with a novel that explores deeply the effect of previous relationships, the power balance between men and women and how idealism can ruin your future.

The novel begins as a new teacher, Solomon Andrews moves into a country town in the height of a hot Aussie summer. His next door neighbour, an unnamed student, watches him move in…and continues watching. At first, she is forced to by a school bully, but then watching Solomon go about his daily tasks becomes a lovesick ritual. When she witnesses an act in Solomon’s study, she decides to start sending him letters expressing her devotion and yearning for him. Solomon (who has been in some ‘trouble’ at his previous school) is entranced by the letters, being a firm believer in good sex but no love. Things start to get dangerous when he invites her inside his house – nothing stays secret in a country town for long, and nothing will be the same for either of them…

Belle evokes a hot, never-ending sense of Australian summer in the initial part of the book – the heat, cloying and unending, is almost like another character of the book. The weather acts as a force to exemplify how ‘hot’ (read: sexually attractive) Solomon is and how he sets all the women’s hearts aflutter. The sticky weather also serves to intensify the depth of our heroine’s feelings for Solomon and when things come together…BOOM! It’s like a summer thunderstorm, drenching the thirsty ground.

You might have wondered why so far I haven’t revealed the female main character’s name yet- that’s because that’s something you have to look forward to because Belle doesn’t name her until the very end of the book (I’m not telling you which page as you might cheat). I thought it was an excellent choice and brought a wry smile to my face given the events that took place. At first it seemed a bit odd that she hadn’t been named, but I got used to this – this character is (generally) an everyday woman, prone to making mistakes, having good and bad times, which made her easy to relate to (except for her initial relationship – that was unique). Her journey seems somewhat the wrong way round – from the ultimate to the mundane, but it’s an important one.

Now, what about Solomon? Even though I personally don’t care for the long hair and skin-tight jean look, not being a child of the 70’s – Belle creates a character who is hot Hot HOT! In more modern terms, Solomon is ‘sexy and he knows it’. He prides himself on giving pleasure to women when it was uncool to do so, knowing the Kama Sutra and never giving into love. This takes on a whole different twist when we find out his motivation for this, plus one of his final scenes has a pitying, almost laughable conclusion.

This book has a myriad of themes and insights into the human psyche that I could go on and on about (rather like Solomon *wink*) – please don’t dismiss it as erotica; this is an insight into human relationships (positive and negative) that should not be missed.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and The Reading Room for the copy of this book. ( )
1 vote birdsam0610 | Jul 15, 2013 |
" I need your eyes to see, your hands to touch, your spirit to acknowledge that which I hold most deeply and secretly in my heart. My yearning for you."

A shy teenage girl writes scented letters of longing to her new high school English teacher and neighbour, the handsome and charming, Solomon Andrews. From her bedroom window she watches and hopes for him to notice her.
Solomon is flattered by his young student's attention, and though wary of another scandal, he finds himself unable to resist her passionate adoration.
While Solomon justifies their affair as his "ultimate and ecstatic gift" to her, the girl believes he is her soul mate, her one and only true love.
When they are discovered and separated she clings to the to the idea that she and Solomon are destined to be together. It is a belief that she cannot relinquish, and well into adulthood the yearning for him remains.

The plot of The Yearning extends beyond the scandalous affair between a teacher and a student, even beyond the a sensual coming of age story of an unnamed teenage girl in love with with a twenty something year old man. It is a compelling exploration of the nature of love, of lust, of longing and desire and how our early experiences with these emotions affect the way in which we resolve them as adults.

For the girl - now a woman, the affair leaves her endlessly searching for a lover able to stir the same feelings within her. It's an obsession that sabotages her relationships with other men, and even when she submits to Solomon's absence and marries Max, she is not free of their decades old connection. If she can't find some way to relinquish her teenage fantasy happiness will always elude her.
For Solomon, whose introduction to sex was divorced from love or even affection, the craving for attention, physical satisfaction and control of his emotions has him at the mercy of his libido. The value of an emotional connection, love if you will, escapes him not only in his relationship with the girl but in all his relationships to follow.

Belle's lyrical prose ensures The Yearning avoids becoming a tawdry, sensationalist tale of sexual exploitation. Both Eve and Solomon are able to give voice to the motivation behind their feelings and desires. The author captures the excitement and confusion of lust and love with raw honesty. Eve's letters and diary entries are the romantic, sensual ravings of a young girl in the throes of intense infatuation. Solomon's musings, though indisputably self serving, are thoughtfully revealing. It is important to know that the descriptions of various sexual unions are at times explicit but not without purpose.

Beautifully crafted, The Yearning is an evocative, sensual novel exploring the connection between love and desire. ( )
1 vote shelleyraec | May 10, 2013 |
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It's 1978 in an Australian country town and a dreamy fifteen-year-old girl's world is turned upside down by the arrival of the substitute English teacher. Solomon Andrews is beautiful, inspiring, and she wants him like nothing else she's wanted in her short life. Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon easily wins the hearts and minds of his third form English class. He notices the attention of one girl, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until the erotic love notes begin to arrive. Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. He has longings of his own, although they have nothing to do with love, or so he believes. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. They must make a decision, and its consequences will haunt them until they meet again twenty years later.… (more)

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