The Passion of Mademoiselle S – What Will You Do For A Lover?


Goodreads Synopsis: Paris, 1928: two lovers are conducting a secret and deeply erotic affair.

Charles is a married man with a respectable office job when he embarks on a journey of wild sexual discovery with Simone, whose voracious appetite for the erotic is not confined to the bedroom, but is poured into the illicit letters she writes to him over the course of two years.
This extraordinary collection of letters, found in a dusty cellar decades later, reveals not just a carnal relationship but an obsessive and destructive love that pushed the boundaries and was, in many ways, ahead of its time.
The Passion of Mademoiselle S. paints a vivid portrait of a violently passionate love affair that evolves in astounding and unexpected ways. Framed by illuminating insights from its discoverer, Jean-Yves Berthault, this correspondence opens a window on another time and an exceptional woman whose voice echoes down the century and still resonates today.

Find on Amazon and Goodreads.

Well this was quite the book! I was intrigued by this book because of when it was set, the 1920′ and  I loved the idea of someone finding these letters and this being a true story. I was super excited to read it.

This book was not what I expected. I expected the letters to be love letters, what I didn’t expect was erotic letters. Maybe I was just being naive but I wasn’t expecting to read something so graphic. But it was definitely an interesting book. Simone, the woman whose letters we read is an intelligent well-off woman. I found myself sympathizing with her a lot. The whole situation of the affair is screwed up. He’s married and she’s desperate and willing to do anything to keep him.

The one thing I didn’t like about this book was the notes from the editor (he also may have been the translator?) I was frustrated by his sexsist treatment of Simone, he frequently talked about her emotional letters and said that she was “hysterical”. Or at the end of the book, when it ends with them breaking up, he seemed to be placing all of the blame onto Simone and saying that a lot of the problem was her fault for being needy, emotional and crazy jealous.  I wished he would have been a bit more fair to the situation. No one was free of blame in this relationship, Charles was cheating on his wife and dealing with the guilt and blaming Simone for things. Simone was in love and jealous and digging herself deeper and deeper into a hole (no pun intended).  That definitely made me take a star off this book.

These are strange letters, at time twisted and deeply erotic. But it’s also an interesting look into Paris in the late 1920’s. The editor makes a lot of cool notes about Paris pleasure houses, society and homophobia and other historical notes.  I will probably never read this book again, and I’m not even sure I can recommend it to anyone. I gave the book three stars on Goodreads and I was given a copy of it from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.


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