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Saturday, July 25, 2015

‘Six Degrees’ by Honey Brown

Received from the Publisher

From the BLURB:

Emotion, seduction and passion wind through six intricately connected short stories, where strong Australian women embrace their most intimate desires, and men are more than just their suit and tie.

Apparent strangers are bound together by one tragic event, the effect of which is felt from the urban streets of Sydney to the dusty bars of Western Australia.

Six Degrees uses the allure, the action or the absence of physical connection to explore these everyday character’s flaws, quirks and strengths. For the first time, critically-acclaimed author Honey Brown has made sexual attraction the intriguing hero of each story.

‘Six Degrees’ is the new book from Australian author, Honey Brown. A departure from her usual horror/thriller/suspense writing, ‘Six Degrees’ is a collection of erotic-romantic short stories.

Honey Brown is one of my favourite authors writing today – I’ve loved all of her books so far, particularly for their scare-factor and an often disturbingly subversive underpinning. But I wasn’t actually all that shocked to realise that Brown had strayed from the genre that has made her one of Australia’s greatest new talents since 2009.

One of the reasons I love Honey Brown’s books is that she writes relationships and romance so very well and trickily … all of her crime-thriller book have a focus on relationships. ‘Red Queen’ may have been about a plague-outbreak, but the anchor of that story was a love-triangle between two brothers and a mysterious female survivor who comes to their isolated cabin one night. ‘After the Darkness’ was a crime-suspense novel about a couple who are captured by a killed and then escape, but have to live with their trauma in secret – that story had a big concentration on the changed dynamics of a marriage, after the husband is sexually assaulted in the ordeal. And ‘Dark Horse’ was about two strangers stuck by wild weather on a mountainside, whose attraction leads to revelations about what one of them was really doing in the mountains … so I was pleasantly surprised that in this short-story foray, Honey Brown would be concentrated entirely on the romance genre.

But make no mistake; ‘Six Degrees’ is no less complex for being romance-focused. Honey Brown isn’t “dumbing down” any of her writing for which she has been so celebrated by genre-lovers and critics alike. This short story collection may actually be a fine introduction for anyone who is under the mistaken impression that romance is a ‘lightweight’, fluffy genre of little importance. Au contraire!

In these six stories – loosely connected by the theme of a major/minor crises in all – Brown presents the many complications of the human heart. A man and woman who have never had the right timing in ‘Threesome’ may be about to get their act together, and a girl who witnessed a man’s death in ‘First Time’ finds herself connecting with his distraught son;

‘You didn’t talk too much.’ 
'I think I might have.’ 
‘And I would like to go out with you sometime.’ 
For a kiss that had sadness in it, it was good. It was perhaps the first honest kiss Emma had ever experienced. His lips were soft. No other body part touched her. Maybe it was Keegan’s first honest kiss too, because he pulled back and looked surprised by it.

There’s mostly an emphasis on female sexuality in these stories, and the book feels emboldened for that. Particularly for how Honey Brown explores the facets of attraction and sexual proclivities – her writing embodies honesty and non-judgmental celebration of sex and sexuality;

Sonya spent the rest of her adolescence on the hunt for that, with each new boyfriend (there hadn’t been that many) she had looked into their eyes to see if they might have it in them – the right sort of want, the maturity of wanting. Mostly, though, they wanted sex, no more than that. Or they wanted a girlfriend. It was almost as though they did not see the beauty in sex, the beauty of it. At that first party, against the rendered wall, she’d been given a preview of something better. Adult sex. But, thinking now, she wondered if anything had really recaptured that feeling.

I loved this collection; just as much as I have loved all of Honey Brown’s other books. This is a wonderful introduction to the romance genre for anyone who has never been brave enough to read. Brown’s exquisite prose and complicated stories will surely encourage others to further explore what this genre has to offer. I do so hope that Brown writes more of the like – either way, I will follow her wherever she goes.


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