Tell Me a Story is a short book (~150 pages) about Emma, a bookshop owner, and Caleb, a billionaire real estate developer. Emma participates in an event called the Story Brothel, in which men can pay to listen to her read her original works. Caleb is one of these clients and he pays Emma to read him some of her original erotica.
This is one of those books that I got for free for signing up for some kind of mailing list. I thought that the premise sounded interesting and I’m always up for a short, light, sexy read after a long day at work, so I decided to give it a chance one night. Unfortunately, while I wanted to like the book and I wanted to like the characters, I really found the premise to be too far-fetched to work for me.
To start, if the Story Brothel is supposed to be this innocent, reading-focused event, why does it take place in private cabanas with beds? Couldn’t it just as easily take place in a community room at a library? If you have it in private cabanas, it almost seems like you’re inviting your patrons to have sex, and what are the legal ramifications of that? I’m also unclear on how the readers and the patrons get paired up – did they choose each other or was it random? How do you know that the reader you get is going to read you something that you’d like? Emma apparently usually reads her steampunk fiction but chose to read her erotica to Caleb. Imagine if he wasn’t interested in her and this random woman started reading to him about bedroom escapades? I mean…
Another concern for me was that these characters didn’t feel like 33 and 40. They felt very young. Emma was afraid of a relationship and afraid to talk to Caleb about anything real. (Of course, this leads to a big, overblown confrontation that could have easily been prevented had Emma just used her words.) Caleb was actually pretty reasonable, but if he was really this drop-dead gorgeous single billionaire, what’s he doing looking to pick up women at a Story Brothel?
I just couldn’t suspend enough disbelief for this one to work for me.
Final rating: ★★☆☆☆