Warning: The booklet reviewed in this post, Swinger Hunt by Natalie Lou, contains sexual situations and depictions of swinging. If you wish to avoid such depictions, proceed with caution.
As I promised in the previous post, I am bringing you the review of another booklet in this post. Unlike the first one I reviewed today, this book/booklet falls under the category of erotica, along the same lines as 69 Shades of Nashville, although much briefer with less tension. This booklet is called Swingers: Swinger Hunt by Natalie Lou.
We all have secret fantasies. We might even have fantasies which we don’t tell our partners. When we also like to read and write, where else will our fantasies manifest than in our writing? Such is the case with Jen, who writes and publishes erotica under the pen name Lili Von Shtupp. But what will happen when her husband discovers her dirty little secret? Will it lead to an awkward conversation that changes their relationship? Or will it lead many nights of ecstasy as fantasies come to life? (Hint: the answers are “yes” and “yes.”)
Told from the perspective of Jen’s husband, Swinger Hunt begins with him discovering that his wife is not working from home as an accountant as he had been told. Rather, she has been moonlighting as a fairly popular erotica novelist, paying her share of the bills and letting out her hidden fantasy of extramarital one-night stands for both her and her husband. Counter to what you would expect in fiction and in reality—and perhaps a little refreshing for that reason—her husband does not grow angry or jealous but aroused. What follows is a whirlwind of sex and passion.
While the sex scenes are detailed, they are also tasteful. Anatomies are explicitly discussed, male and female fantasies explored, and yet Lou keeps the language mature and sensual. The f-bomb is dropped often, but that’s as much of a sailor’s mouth as you’ll see in this book. The rest are just necessary details to give the reader a tantalizing experience without being disrespectful.
Lou develops an appropriately diverse cast of characters, from the eclectic group of women at Courtney’s bachelorette party to the twins that Jen uses for her own pleasure while on vacation. Given the very few pages that Lou worked with (approximately 38 in total), these characters could not be developed in very much detail. She utilizes appearance to her advantage in developing these minor players, but I still wish that she had spent more time exploring the relationships of at least Jen and her friends at the bachelorette party.
I appreciate that Jen and her husband thought to create a list of rules before engaging in any extramarital activities. It’s something that does not often come up in erotica but that made this story feel much more real. I expected the list to play a bigger part in the story than it actually did, though. It dances at the back of Jen’s husband’s mind but, other than occasionally checking that they’re following the rules, that’s about it. I’m glad that Lou didn’t go down the predictable plot of someone breaking the rules and ruining their relationship, but a little bit of tension in regards to the list would have enhanced the reading experience.
I suppose that the heart of most issues I have with this book comes down to its length. Lou pulled me into this couple’s story and then it came to an abrupt end. She set up so much emotional development and tension, from the list to the sex therapist at the bachelorette party, and yet she focuses only on the sex. Even Jen’s writing career could have blossomed into a larger plot, more complex plot. While I understand if Lou was aiming to just show a couple having happy sex adventures, I felt empty at the end of the story because so much else in their lives could have also been explored but weren’t.
Lou’s main characters have the potential to be very interesting characters. I’m especially intrigued by Jen’s husband. He’s so open and secure in his sexuality. What is he like in other aspects of his life? How do the sexual adventures affect other areas of his life, like work and friendships? Do he and Jen keep it all a secret from anyone who does not participate, or do they brag about to see who else they can snag? Jen and her husband are so confident and happy in their marriage, something rarely seen in erotica, that I want to see the possibilities pursued.
Unfortunately, another downside to the story is that it hasn’t been edited very well. The typical missing, misused, and/or misspelled words occurred through the book. However, I could have tolerated that better if it weren’t for the sections during which Lou inexplicably switches between first person and third person narration. This issue did not start until about halfway through the book, but once it did, it annoyed me a bit. All of these issues could be fixed with more editing.
All in all, I think that Swinger Hunt is a promising start for Natalie Lou. The main characters are compelling, the scenario is unique, and the sex scenes are well-written. I just want to see the work expanded, perhaps including more of the swinging which the narrator mentions at the end of the book. I would also like to see more of their lives outside of the swinging, especially given that their first escapade involved some of Jen’s friends. This book has the potential to be more complex and satisfying than many erotic stories, the same sort of potential that Blackmail and 69 Shades of Nashville have, but it hasn’t met that potential just yet.