by Lady Carlton née Katie O’Roarke, heroine of “The Blonde Samurai”
Under ordinary circumstances there is no more pleasant time of the day that I relish than teatime. Though I am Irish-American by birth, I have adapted this charming and soothing hour as my own, fashioning its intricacies from the British and Oriental customs to fit my personal taste. Nibbling on iced sweet cakes and sipping sweet-smelling jasmine tea. Reading the scandal weeklies.
Not today. For on this afternoon, dear lady reader, the tea imparts a bitter taste to my tongue.
The reviews for my memoir are in. Though I received a stellar passage in The London Times (“Charming story, full of original characters, irradiated with wry humor and fragrant with the romance of the Orient”)—
Others have not been so kind. I shall explain.
The Blonde Samurai has been available for purchase but a scant few days and already I am besieged with fiery reviews from the corset régime,*** ready to tar and feather me for my scandalous tome about my love affair with the handsome samurai, Shintaro. And other savory details I deign not to reveal here.
May I present choice morsels of selected reviews for your perusal:
“Outrageous. Filled with barbaric rituals in a pagan land that will make a lady swoon. “
“A shocking book showcasing the intimacies of what happens when a married woman goes astray.”
“A romance containing lurid passages of a sexual nature that should be banned from every British home where decent ladies reside.”
These precipitous ladies of the corset régime are demanding that The Blonde Samurai be removed from bookshops all over London (except for the pornographic shops on Holywell Street, of which they purport to have no knowledge of whatsoever in their stodgy, stolid world. The hypocrites).
One reviewer was so insulted by the sexual tone of my novel they went on fearfully about it, detailing my liaison with my samurai in salacious detail. I dare say my memoir is naughty with ardent accounts of my goings-on in places where ladies do not venture, as well as encounters with my samurai so delicious I sigh with longing as I write this.
I must admit I glanced over the reviews with an amused eye. No writer wishes her work to be dismissed or worse, ignored. I dare say, no one has said that my memoir is the bore of conventionality. Rather that my story evokes a sense of independence and sexual exploration unbecoming to a lady of quality.
What do they know about sexual exploration? I imagine the majority of them have never even seen their husband’s poker.
Excuse my insolence, but I cannot again taste the sweetness of my tea until I have had my say.
And so, for better or worse regarding my literary standing, I present to you excerpts of the more lubricious reviews of The Blonde Samurai, penned no doubt by the ladies of the corset régime using male names. For I have no doubt they will stoop to any measure, dear lady reader, to restrict your access to my memoir.
I offer for your consideration:
Ladies of Mayfair, beware! You will have need of your smelling powders if you dare to purchase this book. Filled with the escapades of a titled lady of questionable background, the heroine runs away from her abusive husband to take up with another man. Unfortunately this reviewer can not report on what happens next since the copy in their possession mysterious disappeared.
This romance whisks you away to a forbidden paradise where taboo rituals titillate the reader to the point of exhaustion.
A novel that entices and teases the reader to do unmentionable acts that cause much anxiety to the lower anatomy. It is to be avoided by all respectable ladies.
I pray you have the fortitude to make up your own mind and not allow the corset régime to choose the literature you read. You would not allow them to choose a lover for you, would you?
I did not think so.
*** The corset régime is that stalwart group of Society ladies who shake their ample bosoms and rattle their tiny parasols whenever a new idea creates social upheaval in their ordered world.
February 2010: meet The Blonde Samurai
“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”