I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Red by Tiffany Reisz
Published: July 11th 2017 by 8th Circle Press
Genres: Erotica, Romance, Paranormal Romance
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I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. I’m 16 books behind on my Goodreads goal, and have been having a hard time getting immersed in books. In an attempt to get out of my slump, I hopped on NetGalley and downloaded The Red: An Erotic Fantasy by one of my favorite authors, Tiffany Reisz. I wanted a book that was like candy… no, I lied. I wanted the book equivalent of salty kettle-cooked potato chips, the kind of thing that’s satisfying and delicious and easy to devour in one sitting but makes you want more. That’s exactly what I found in The Red.
The color red becomes a constant theme throughout the book. Mona, the book’s protagonist, is a redhead. Her mother recently died, leaving behind a host of bills, and now the art gallery (called the Red) that Mona and her mother ran together is in the red. On her deathbed, Mona’s mom made her promise to do whatever it takes to save the gallery. Mona realizes that saving the gallery is impossible, and resigns herself to losing it.
Then one night as she’s closing up shop a handsome stranger appears in the shop, seemingly out of nowhere. And while Mona’s a bit freaked out, she rolls with it, and decides to hear him out. He makes her an offer–if she sleeps with him and submits to his desires once a month or so over the next year, he will pay her more than enough money to save the gallery. Against her better judgement, Mona agrees.
Each month, Mona finds a note from the stranger, a famous painting which he desires her to enact. And the first couple nights they end up acting out the BDSM-type fantasies that Mona was expecting. But then shit starts to get weird, not in a kinky way so much as a blurring-the-bounds-of-what-is-real-and-what-is-a-dream kind of way, and the book begins to resemble magical realism as much as it does erotica. And that’s where my summary will end for fear of giving anything away.
I enjoyed The Red tremendously. It’s artsy and trippy and sexy and most of all is the kind of book that you can dive into and escape from your own reality into a world where anything is possible. Through her monthly encounters, Mona embarks on a journey of self-discovery, and what started out as a way to save her art gallery ends up teaching her about what she wants and expects from a lover and partner. And seeing Mona move from grief to joy suited my mood so well, given that I’ve experienced loss in the past few months and am still trying to process my emotions from it. The Red is kind of book that reminds you why you fell in love with reading in the first place, and it came into my life at precisely the right moment for me to appreciate it most.