“People can never guess my age. They always think I am much younger than I really am. It makes no difference whether or not I wear make-up. It is partly because I am Chinese and partly because I just look baby-faced and innocent.”
For a brief moment, a very brief moment, I thought that the author was describing me to her readers. I know, of course, that Vanessa Wu is most likely speaking from her own experience, and that of mine, and that of many other Chinese girls in her protagonist’s shoes. Perhaps it’s in our genetic make-up, and perhaps the healthy food and all that physical exercise when we were at school. In all these years living in Europe, I have always been mistakenly judged as at least ten years younger. Consequently some of us got lucky, with ample opportunities for snatching toy boys at ease, as it had been the case for Valentina, the adventurous heroine in Love Has No Limits.
This erotic novella spoke to me on three different levels, personally, emotionally and intellectually. You see, not only have I got the same ethnic origin and cultural background as Valentina and her creator Vanessa, I also share some of their exotic experiences, whether it’s fictional or real, or both, in terms of breaking boundaries and forming intimate relationships with people from different cultures.
“Amsterdam is a city where it is impossible to shock people. They have seen everything there. In the two weeks I had been there, I had seen some very bizarre sights. Almost anything was permitted. Almost anything was for sale openly.”
The story opens in Amsterdam, where our protagonist set foot into a Gothic sex themed night club. Well, if you have been to Amsterdam, you would know what to expect and where the story could lead, couldn’t you? Before you ask, yes, I have been there, although I did not go by myself. Coincidentally, I actually went there with my boyfriend at the time, who happened to be German and quite a few years younger than me. I know, you’ll probably be laughing by now, if you have already read this fabulous book and knew what was coming next.
The next stop, Berlin, another city I have visited, twice. The scene in the German spa was vividly and expertly presented, and I could picture every single step Valentina and her friends took, as if I was there. Gosh, that really brought back embarrassing memories which had long been buried.
Anyway, let’s just draw the line as that’s where our similarities end, as I am in a real danger of revealing more about my private life than actually reviewing this book. I readily accept that I am no Valentina, whose dark fantasies and deliberate seeking of sexual thrills were both daring, dangerous and delicately delicious, however, as I read on, I became her, eager to explore the limit of her darkest fears, excited about the prospects of discovering new pleasures yet somewhat terrified of their consequences.
I discovered a few previous reviews of Love Has No Limits on GoodReads, as I was planning my review, and I found myself agreeing with what they have said about Vanessa’s books. I hope they would not mind me borrowing two words from them to describe her writing: Elegance and Sophistication.
Ultimately, it is Vanessa’s writing style that had me reading her stories one after another. It is a true but rare gift for an author to attract readers who are not her usual target audience. In my long reading experience, I can count the number of erotica I have read with the fingers on my two hands, and so far, the majority have been Ms Wu’s offerings. Her attention to detail is astounding; her characters charming and mesmerizing; her story-telling efficient and exhilarating; her writing is fluid, effortless, intelligent and compelling.
Perhaps the best compliment I can pay her is that I did not feel that I was reading a story by someone whose English is not her mother tongue. The words come so beautifully, perfectly precise and natural. Once you’ve picked it up, you just want to read on and on until the very end.
Then you want more.
Now tell me – do I sound corny if I confess that my Love for Vanessa’s books Has No Limit?