Cover image for The bride stripped bare : a novel
The bride stripped bare : a novel
Publication Information:
New York : Fourth Estate, [2003]

Physical Description:
viii, 374 pages ; 19 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Library

On Order



A woman disappears, leaving behind an incendiary diary chronicling a journey of sexual awakening. To all who knew her, she was the Good Wife: happy, devoted, content. But the diary reveals a secret self, one who's discovered that her new marriage contains mysteries of its own. Inspired by a manuscript written by an anonymous Elizabethan woman who dared to speak of what women truly desire, she tastes for the first time the intoxicating power of knowing what she wants and how to get it. The question is, How long can she sustain a perilous double life?

In writing The Bride Stripped Bare, the author decided to remain anonymous so she would feel absolutely free to explore a woman's inner world. As she writes in her afterword, "That doesn't mean this book is a memoir; it's many things to me, fiction and nonfiction, fantasy and fact, a quilt pieced together not only from my stories but those of my friends."

Coolly impassioned, The Bride Stripped Bare tells startling truths about love and sex. It will make you question whether it is ever entirely possible to know another person.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

A series of diary entries charts the sinuous paths of marriage and sexual desire in this artful book, a bestseller in the U.K. The author of the entries, a nameless 30-something housewife, has disappeared, leaving behind what amounts to 138 "lessons," written in the second-person, for her fellow archetypal "good wives." At first, the gimmick is jarring, but as the protagonist's personality emerges and flowers, readers will be seduced by this sometimes subtle, sometimes overwrought novel set in modern-day London. At first, marriage equals safety to the woman ("it's a relief, to be honest, this surrendering..."), but the sex is humdrum, and Cole, her husband, is remote and fastidious-only oral sex offers a surefire way to orgasm and sometimes he'd just rather watch TV. To make matters worse, he may have engaged in an affair with her best childhood friend. Beginning work on her long-planned book might cheer her up-and so will an affair with lovely Gabriel, of the "cathedral-wide" chest and silky young skin. Thus she commences erotic adventures previously unimaginable. She also becomes pregnant, and the anonymous author is cannily perceptive about the vicissitudes of pregnancy and new motherhood; she writes strikingly of the surprising erotic passion, emotional upheaval and anger that can flare during pregnancy. This unusual but strangely compelling novel offers an intimate chronicle of change and self-discovery, of a woman who makes a final and unexpected choice. (Mar.) Forecast: Gallons of ink have been spilled overseas about this one-most of it on the question of the author's anonymity (she's gone public there-or has been outed, depending on whom one asks). But there's little here that's shocking enough to justify the secrecy, so it's hard to imagine that there will be quite the same buzz stateside. The sex is explicit, but still rather tasteful. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



The Bride Stripped Bare A Novel Lesson 1 Honesty is of the utmost importance Your husband doesn't know you're writing this. It's quite easy to write it under his nose. Just as easy, perhaps, as sleeping with other people. But no one will ever know who you are, or what you've done, for you've always been seen as the good wife. Lesson 2 Cold water stimulates, strengthens and braces the nerves A honeymoon. A foreign land. There you are, succumbing to the sexual ritual and remembering the day as a seven-year-old when you discovered water. You'd never been in a swimming pool before; there were none where you were growing up. You're remembering a summer holiday and a swimming pool with the water inching up your belly as you stepped forward gingerly and the slow creep of the cold and the breath collected in the knot of your stomach and your mother always there ahead of you, smiling and coaxing and holding out her hands and stepping back and back. Then suddenly, pop, you're floating and the water's holding your belly and legs like sinews of rope, it's muscular and balming and silky and the memory's as potent as a first kiss. As for the first time you fucked, well, you remember the sound, as his fingers readied you between your legs, not much else. Not even a name now. Lesson 3 Making a comfortable bed is a very important part of household work In the night air of Marrakech, on your belated honeymoon, the first scrum of morning birds sounds like fat spitting and crackling in a kitchen. It's still dark but the birds have taken over from the frogs as crisply as if a conductor's lowered his baton. The call to prayer has pulled you awake and you can't fall back into sleep, you want to fling the french doors wide, as wide as they'll go, and inhale the strange desert dawn. But your husband, Cole, will wake and complain if you do. So. You lay your hand on the jut of his hip and breathe in his sleeping, the sour, sweet smell of it, and smile softly in the dark. The tip of your nose nuzzles his scent on the back of his neck. You've never loved anyone more in your life. You slip on to the balcony. It's hot, 82 degrees at least. A wondrous child-smile greets a great spill of stars, for the vast orange glow from London's lights means you never see stars at home, scarcely know when there's a full moon. The night flowers exhale their bloom, bougainvillaea and hibiscus and magnolia are still and shadowy in the night. You feel fat with content. Cole calls out, plaintive, and you slip back inside and his arm wings your body and clamps you tight. Your feet maneuver free of the sheet's smother and dangle off the edge of the bed, as they always do, finding the coolness and the air. The Bride Stripped Bare A Novel . Copyright © by Nikki Gemmell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.