Book Binge's Reviews > Hermes Online

Hermes Online by Rose Anderson
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's review
Jul 29, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: for-review

Does it feel too far fetched to think of today's connections through the internet as messages from the gods? Certainly it is now possible to get email from the farthest reaches of the planet in a matter of seconds. Perhaps it is our contemporary connection to the long-forgotten gods and their messenger Hermes. No more far fetched than some of the sci-fi fantasies that have become reality in just the past three or four decades. That being said, it certainly felt like a message from some benevolent god when Vivienne began experiencing the positive responses to an erotic short story that she posted on the net. She had been a different person when she wrote it, and even though she posted it with no expectation that anyone would pay much attention, she was especially drawn to comments by the illusive "S" whose response seemed to be more personal and self-affirming than the others. Even the words he used to address her as "V" began to call to a person within her that she had begun to believe had been crushed to death by the disregard and cruelty of her ex who had walked out on her, dumped her even as he blamed her dullness for his infidelity.

Now don't get the wrong idea that Vivienne was a gullible gussy and a woman who was so hungry for affirmation that she put herself carelessly in the clutches of an internet scumbag. As carefully as possible, Vivienne began to respond to S, limiting her comments so that he would have to reveal himself as much as he was asking her to do so. Little by little they expanded their comments to become erotic encounters, all of them slowly but surely peeling away the layers of self-doubt, hurt, unhealed wounds and the persona of a frightened and apologetic woman she had assumed. As their encounters became more and more personal, Vivienne experienced a kind of self-expression that even amazed her, and as she and S became more and more comfortable with one another, she agreed to opportunities for reveal herself, even to the point of meeting S halfway between their locations.

This is a story that is not necessarily intended to laud the romance possibilities of meeting someone online. I don't think any considerate person would be unaware that such opportunities should be carefully explored with an eye to the many cases of fraud and crime against women and teens that have become all too commonplace. Rather, I think this story is more about the way that the kindness and warm expressions of appreciation for Vivienne's writing and verbal skills began to unfreeze her from a self-imposed tomb of pain and self-doubt. That it slowly began to morph into a series of was almost more than she could have expected, but that it brought out the best in her, helped her to re-connect with the sensual woman she was, turned out to be a result she could never have expected.

Vivienne is like so many who have become the walking wounded and this story brings that to life in this character. Told in a poetic and creative way, this series of encounters seemed to tap into not only my love for a great romance and happy endings, but I was enthralled with the writing itself. Ms Anderson brings such a spirit of inventive thinking to this story and it reminded me that I had truly enjoyed her first book which I read some months ago. Once again she has envisioned a story that might not have been real, but may indeed be the kind of "romance" many would view as a fulfillment of a long-charished fantasy.

I have to admit that I would never have thought of internet email and chat as metaphors for messages from the gods. But for this character and for millions of others, email can bring a serious connection to people who feel disconnected from people around them. In Vivienne's case, it was a life-changing experience. And it is a testimony to the power of words that can arouse the true self as it did with her. Even those of us who are incredibly invested in the print media forget the power of words to hurt and destroy as they can do just the opposite. It was words that slowly tore Vivienne away from connection with her true self just as it was S's kind, loving, complimentary, and erotic words that gave Vivienne a new lease on herself, on love in general, and ultimately on S in particular.

This is unlike any story I have ever read and I appreciate the opportunity to read and review this book. I admit to being just a little concerned for Vivienne when she began this exchange with S, worrying that she was getting herself into a situation with this man that would further hurt her. I suppose that is the cynacism that has become the norm for many of us relative to the internet. But I was most pleasantly surprised and found the story one of those "feel good" kinds of reading experiences. I think romance fans will find this a creatively different and most enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.

I give this novel a 4.5 out 5 rating.

This review was originally posted on Book Binge by Judith.
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