So, a couple of weeks ago, I stopped in at Barnes & Noble in the Pruneyard. Right near the entrance were two female authors promoting their new books. The last time this happened, I ended up buying a fantasy for young (female) adults called Wyndham's Cloak - and loved it. I had pretty much made up my mind that any time I come across an author at B&N, I was going to buy, and read, their book. It's an easy way to try new authors.
I got to talking to them, gave them my Book Sage business card, and bought each of their new books. One author, Adina Senft, wrote a book about an Amish widow with two children. I have just started that one. The other author, Jasmine Haynes, writes in a genre that I had never heard of before, called Erotic Romance. I assumed that it meant cheesy romances with more explicit sex. Boy was I wrong. Yes, there is definitely explicit sex, but it's so much more than that. This is not a book with Fabio on the cover.
A husband and wife, both around 40, have had an unspeakable tragedy in their lives. A year later, they are still trying to cope with it. Erin has completely shut down emotionally. The way she handles it is to have sex with Dominic late at night (hence the title). There is no talking, no cuddling, just sex. It helps her forget for a short while. Dominic spends much of his time trying to get her to open up to him while still dealing with the tragedy himself. His way of doing it is by creating sexual situations that are designed to cater to Erin's fantasies. He doesn't know any other way of getting through to her. As the story progresses, and Erin and Dominic engage in sexual activities that most of us would never consider, you feel as if the situations make sense for them.
Here's what completely surprised me. I didn't expect the explicit sex to be between husband and wife, let alone a couple that is grieving and trying to come back from the abyss. This is a love story. This is about a husband who wants to get his wife back. The book is powerful. You root for them to figure out a way to reconnect. Along with the main theme of the book is a sub-plot regarding the high tech company they own and a possible leak among their employees. Even this part of the story resonates.
WARNING/SPOILER ALERT: If you can't read a book in which a young child dies or in which there is VERY explicit sex, then stay away. If you can deal with these issues (one is easier to deal with than the other!), then I highly recommend Past Midnight.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I have been with my wife now for over 45 years. She is the most beautiful, smartest, talented person that I know. And, yet, I feel that I have not spent enough time showing her how great I think she is. Jasmine Haynes' book has made me more aware of letting my wife know what I feel. For that, I say a personal "Thank you."