Silk - erotic fiction by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Annemarie

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Smooth as Silk

Is it a good read? Yes. Is it erotica? Well... no. Silk, by British author Rupert James is an exciting, easy to read, sinfully delicious book, but is truly lacking in the erotic department. Descriptive scenes of sex are few and far between, and, while diverse, they left me desiring more.
Diverse sexual encounters, a quick read, discreet cover.
Not really erotica, characters are generally unlikeable, possibly confusing typographical style.
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review

About author

Rupert James is a British author, as well as celebrity and fashion journalist. He lives in London (of course!). Other than that, there's not much known that I could find. His website is here.

He is also the author of Stepsisters (link goes to, which will also be published by Cleis Press in the US in August 2012.

Despite not knowing the author at all, I found his writing to be straightforward, simple, clear, and lucid. It's refreshing not to see the words "manhood," but instead "cock."
    • British
    • Engaging

Content / Style / Audience

Ladies, Silk is unequivocally meant for reading on the beach, under a huge umbrella, with a margarita or daiquiri nearby. In Britain, they call this sort of book a "bonkbuster," which is a slang term meaning a contemporary novel with frequent, explicit sexual encounters. Beyond that, Silk is chock full of drama, fashion, power struggles, love, loss, humor, and, well, some sex. It's complete fiction, and I'd probably put it under the heading of trash reading, but it's not as bad as your Danielle Steel or other contemporary romance author. There is nothing idyll about this novel.

I wouldn't call it smut from cover to cover, but the encounters, while few and far between, are pretty hot. They kind of "fade to black," though, which I found slightly annoying. I don't know what it takes to get women hot in Britain, but it takes a bit more than that for me.

Silk is split into three parts, chapters therein, and within the chapters, often quite brief (less than a page) sections pertaining to the character at hand. This is a full-on novel, not short stories or anything like that, so you can't skip around. You follow three women, who are interconnected in ways which come to light during the reading of the book. To these women, Silk mean very different things.

As for the sex, there's quite a wide variety. There's casual hetero sex, lesbian sex, voyeuristic sex, gay sex... There's just not enough of it to consider it erotica.
  • Who / How / What
    [ ? ]
    Who might this product be best for? How is it best used? What are the best circumstances or situations for using this product?
    • Women
  • General
    [ ? ]
    Other tags that are useful and descriptive for this product.
    • Fiction
    • Humorous


'Silk' will look unassuming in any woman's bookshelf. The cover is discreet, looking like any normal modern paperback, really, and quite eye-catching. The only indication that there may be sex in it is on the back cover, with the line "Money, sex, power: some things are always in fashion." and even then, it's not any indication that it's sex from cover to cover. I have one tiny problem with the cover, though, and it's very minor. The white silk dress that the woman is wearing has a really bad wrinkle in it.

This is a large book. It's about 9" tall, 5" wide (so not "mass market paperback" sized), and it's slightly under 500 pages long, with only 3 pages of "buffer," a title page, acknowledgments, and the tiniest blurb about the author you can imagine.

Pages have decent margins, measuring 3/4" on the sides. Text is a relatively good size and clear, though it might be a little small for some who cannot read up close. The binding holds up well, and I haven't found a need to "break it." The pages are a little thin--you can see the text from the other side of the page but not read it, so it's not super distracting. Overall, the book is well made.
    • Discreet cover
    • Soft cover
    • Well made

Personal comments

This book, while published and printed in the US, is written in the British style. That is, it uses British spellings, using single quotes (') instead of double quotes (") around dialogue, some British terms for which there aren't real equivalents in American English, and some British slang. It's a little unusual at first, but you get used to it. None of it is super relevant to the plot, I've found, so taking things in context is pretty easy.

I found the main characters unrealistic. I don't mean that they're idealistic, but, they seem one-sided and shallow. Christine is only concerned about her career, Isabelle is only concerned about being a designer, Victoria is only concerned about having the affection of the beau du jour... (See next section.)

As a novel, I rate it 4 stars. I found it enjoyable overall, despite its few flaws.
As erotica, I think it's unrate-able. It's impossible to categorize it as erotica, given the small amount of actual sex in it. There's more sex in the first quarter of Fifty Shades of Grey than there is in all of Silk.


You follow three women along three paths that intertwine, mingle, and ultimately, knot.

Christine Fairbrother is a barrister (aka lawyer) who knows nothing but her career. She's well-known in divorce courts, and she has only one ambition: to take silk, to join the Queen's Court, which is the highest one can go as an attorney in England.

Her daughter, Isabelle Cissé, is a budding fashion designer, who is fresh out of fashion school. She's full of dreams, full of desires, and will stop at nothing to pursue each and every one of them, even if it's to her own demise.

Victoria, who, at first, seems to be the odd one out, finds herself in Christine and Isabelle's presence soon enough, enjoys her lifestyle as the mistress of the very married Massimo Rivelli, the owner of a very large manufacturing company of couture fashion. Though, of course, as mistresses do, she wants more. She wants to be his wife. And, to do that, she will stop at nothing, even if it ruins everyone around her.


I, actually, enjoyed this book once I put aside all desire to treat it like classic literature. If you can put aside your brain and just enjoy the revenge and drama, it's a very easy read.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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  • Zombirella
    Thanks for the details on this. I don't think it would interest me though but I was curious to see a review on it.
  • SMichelle
    Great review.
  • BG529
    i love to read
  • unfulfilled
    Thank you for sharing!
  • Jenny Smith
    Thanks for the review
  • TheSinDoll
    Really good review! I enjoyed reading it!
  • Joshua Summers
  • Blooddragon
  • ViVix
    This doesn't seem racy enough for me. Thanks for the warning!
  • PassionCpl
    Thanks for the great review. Think I'll skip this now
  • olboy
    Great review, thanks!
  • LoveBug721
    Love the review!
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