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The Bride Stripped Bare

(Bride Trilogy #1)

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  5,236 ratings  ·  572 reviews
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. She has discovered a forgotten Elizabethan manuscript that dares to speak of what women truly ...more
Paperback, 371 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Harper Perennial (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.13  · 
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 ·  5,236 ratings  ·  572 reviews

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Jun 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: horny people
Shelves: itwasehhhh
This book was basically irritating. It starts off with a letter from the anonymous author's mom to the publisher saying that her daughter disappeared, with her infant son, and her car/baby's stroller were found atop a cliff but no bodies were found. She found this manuscript though. So does the manuscript give insight into the woman's disappearance? Der- not at all. It's just this woman who is basically an asshole telling of her dissatisfaction with her brand new marriage (it starts on their ...more
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know there’s a lot of controversy around this book. Firstly, let me just say – this book is not about sex, it is about sexuality. It is not about the act; but instead, the thoughts behind it.

Yes, this book contains explicit scenes – but unlike most general fiction novels (cough, The Bronze Horseman, cough), we are given snippets of boldness to accommodate a softer understanding. I suppose it just has discourse, I suppose it’s something close to literature. As a reader I felt encouraged to
Jun 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: burnthisbook
I absolutely hated and possibly despised this book- so much so that I will have to re-read it to reassess my harsh judgement of it (in the hopes that I was just being a young, inexperienced and intolerant sod at the time). What I find appalling (gee that's a strong word) is that the book sells itself on being unashamedly honest- and this may be so in its efforts to express forbidden sexual desires. But in the areas that really count for something, it uses brazen sex to shock and blind the reader ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Raw. Painfully honest. Unflinching. Unbearably beautiful. I devoured The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell in one day.

Since this is my first foray into erotic fiction, I had very little idea of what to expect. Lots of "sexy sex" I imagined. But The Bride Stripped Bare absolutely floored me from the very beginning. Sexual descriptions aside, which were not cover to cover as I had preconceived, The Bride Stripped Bare had every element I desire in any novel:

Literary writing of high caliber -
This was the first book with any type of erotica theme that I'd ever read. I remember being absolutely scattered as I followed this woman's journey of her seeking something that was just so simply destructive. She was an effervescent woman looking for something more, that elusive high that kept the bar being raised so much after every encounter. Too dangerous as it cannot have a never ending satisfactory and successful 'high'. It will all fall down, and she will have to pick herself up. This ...more
Tabitha at
Mar 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
Whilst my initial expectations behind the concept of this book were that it promised to be a revolutionary and original chronicle about a women's journey of sexual awakening, I was very quickly disappointed, and amazed myself that I managed to persevere until the end, considering that turning every page and chapter felt like a chore. For me, the author spent far too much time trying to create a book that is different, just for the sake of being different.

The book is laid out in a complicated mix
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
I found this book kind of confusing. I had trouble deciding what it was supposed to be - erotica? chick lit? mystery? And yet it didn't seem to be quite any of those things. It wasn't erotic enough to be erotica, had too much sex to be chick lit, and wasn't mysterious enough to be a mystery.

There were parts of it that I did like. I thought her husband was a real jerk, so I could see why she would be looking for more, and I was glad when she met Gabriel. This is where I think it would make good
Mar 01, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my.

First off, I had no idea that this book was basically written porn. I usually base my book selections on covers, descriptions, and a page or two of the book.

This one has an odd cover. Or, I should say it had an odd cover. The newer editions seem to have more flesh. The description included so much raving about the book and it was a bestseller. The edition I had said it was written by an anonymous author. Anonymity is always intriguing. Finally, the first few pages involve a woman and her
Jul 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
I should say, I skimmed the sex scenes.


Not my usual reason. The bride was just so alien to me - a woman who married her husband because she could be herself fakes her orgasms? I just didn't grasp the idea of a woman who lets her husband wipe his cum on her face, but doesn't mention any of the dissatisfaction she feels with him to him. It was akin to listening to a dead fish that no one notices it doesn't flop any more. She was unsympathetic from the get-go, because she was supposedly
Labeebah Hasan
The best second person narrative I have read, ever! This is languid and beautiful and biting, tragic and edge of your seat. I started the book and within the first chapter I was committed. The litany on loop in my head? "This can't end well." It is the story of a woman's search for herself. Discovering and then re-discovering identity in the face of and in reaction to other people's expectations. What is, perhaps, even more horrifying is her own complicity in the architecture of her life. She is ...more
Apr 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ok you can read the blurb and other reviews for the story line.

An intense story of one woman's journey from a marriage, that i can safely say was not made for the 'right' reasons; and that is the whole point of this story, me i've been married for years and this is how many of them crumble ,so like many who gave this 5* i identified and that's all i need to say...It struck me all the way through that only someone who has lived this 'experience' would know how to write about it...the
Apr 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
I don't really know why I picked this book, it's a best seller, so I figured that it would be a good read. OMG, it's not. It's about a new wife who, in a way, gets bored with her marriage, so she cheats on the husband, does a bunch of dirty things, decides that she wants to have a baby, so she and the hubby have a kid, and as most people think 'having a child will make things so much better'. The reason I didn't like it, was because it was just very graphic as far as the 'bedroom' fun goes. I ...more
Lori McD
I tried... I honestly tried. The blurb sounded good, especially the part about the "bride" discovering an Elizabethan manuscript. But I just couldn't get more than 49 pages in without being simultaneously bored and being a little nauseated.

For one thing, the context of the "chapters" of the "lessons" aren't clear. It feels like I'm going back-and-forth in time, from their delayed honeymoon to days before they were married to days long after they're married. It's simply the CONTEXT question of
Melanie Garrett
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an ambitious and affecting novel and I don't know how I missed all the hype about it when it first came out. Normally I find novels written in the 2nd person a bit too much like hard work, but Gemmell really makes her own. Although it was billed as a daring piece of erotica when it was first released, oh how quickly fashions change. I suspect it might disappoint readers of the current trends in 'erotica' who are used to getting a shag-fix every 1500 words. There's a lot more going on ...more
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
(The author is Nikki Gemmell.)

Although the book is pitched as a no-holds-barred intimate journal of a woman coming into an awareness of her sexuality, not much is fully laid bare here. There is hardly anything enlightening regarding the complexities of the female body or the intricacies of the female mind.

This is neither a diary nor a novel. It’s an amalgam of female gripes, frustrations, and obsessions that one is likely to encounter as filler content in women’s magazines and self-help books.
Jan 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. This is a hard book to rate/review. There were parts of the book that I thought were very good. The protagonist is an English woman who marries the man of her dreams only to find herself completely out of sorts and unsatisfied in the role of a *good wife*. I found her thoughts and feelings about her circumstance compellingly raw and honest. And then it just gets strange. She becomes convinced that her perfect husband has been cheating on her with her best friend and decides to embark ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I really found this story to be quite interesting and a quick read. While I've never been married, I think that all can relate to how relationships change, grow stagnant, evolve as you as a person grow and change- as a person and sexually. I found it fascinating that she would bounce between her husband and gabriel as perfect and a brief stint with taxi drivers and then back and forth between her husband and gabriel. I found the ending to be slightly confusing though. Did she disappear with the ...more
I can handle reading a convoluted tale with a protagonist I dislike but this took the biscuit. For the main character telling her story, making the reader complicit in her inner dialogue and conflict, the experience feels intimate but I wanted to shake the spoilt bitch and tell her to grow up. It's all so fey, what the hell is wrong with these characters, don't they know how to talk to each other. They are educated - so should be capable of expressing themselves. What the hell furtive little ...more
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are a woman, read this book. I think that almost every woman will be able to find something that resonates with them in this intensely personal story. I read this as a teenager, and again last year as a 21 year old, and it meant different things to me at different times. It's almost as if experience enhances it's meaning in the story. I'm sure if one day I choose to have a family, I will be able to find new meaning in this story. It's about sex, yes, but it's more. It's about being a ...more
Kyle Wendy Skultety (
The author had the main character think things about men that I've thought many, many times. I had no idea where the book was going to go, and as I got deeper and deeper into it, I found myself nodding and saying "exactly!".

But.....then the madness for a baby got in the way, and just annoyed me. Not everyone wants kids, and I'd love to have seen this story in an alternate universe where her biological clock was NOT ticking. That's all I'm going to say, no spoilers here.

Oh, and if you try to
This was actually fairly enjoyable. I was emotionally affected when the main character was, at least until I started hating her, hahaha. My only major issues was the sex in the book. I think it is a little too wild and out there so that kind of bummed me out, and the strange "Elizabethan" quotes thrown into the the book made me roll my eyes every single time. Not going to continue on in the series...didn't know it was a series when I started it so I am just going to act like it isn't.
meh! Kate Millet did it better.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reviews
Originally published in 2003 under the author “anonymous”, The Bride Stripped Bare is an erotically charged tale about a married woman’s sexual awakening. Written in diary form as a series of lessons numbered from one to 138, it tells the story of a young woman who has never felt sexually fulfilled in her marriage and then acts, somewhat foolishly it has to be said, on her impulse to take a lover.

Her relationship with Gabriel, a handsome older man who turns out to be a virgin, gives her the
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of the author Nikki Gemmell before I purchased "The Bride Stripped Bare", but I'm very glad I did. It's about a suburban housewife who feels stifled in her marriage and yearns for something more. Sounds familiar and trite, but the book is not. In diary format it tells the story of her journey of self discovery of her sexual needs and desires and is beautifully, even lyrically, written. As I read I kept thinking, "Yes, this rings true, I recognize these feelings." There are ...more
Paperback Princess
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, library, own
Originally posted at Paperback Princess to view in it's entirety pls click here.

A Mother produces a manuscript apparently written by her Daughter, a Daughter that has recently disappeared, the manuscript is "The Bride Stripped Bare". This is a very gripping introduction that had me thinking from the start if this is actually true, not so much the novel but if the Anonymous writer had in fact gone missing. This grabs readers immediately and the attention doesn't diminish either.

This book is very
Andrea Guy
Dec 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This book wasn't an easy read, but looking back to when I read Nikki's With My Body, I recall that that one wasn't an easy read for me either.

My problem is with the female character...who seems nameless, though her husband has one (Cole) and so does her best friend (Theo).

As the story goes on...the lead character finds out her husband is having an affair (possibly) with her best friend.

From that moment on...I just get more and more frustrated with the heroine. I can't deal with a woman who won't
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
I read this in a couple of days, but it wasn't because it was such a great book--it had more to do with the flight delays I had between Colorado and the East Coast.

I didn't really find the structure of this book that appealing. I thought maybe there would be a lesson and then a more narrative chapter, but the ridiculous number of lessons got boring. I didn't feel that anyone was developed much in terms of characterization.

While we're supposed to get a good look at the secret self of the main
Sara Cole
Oct 19, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Why does this book polarise opinion so much? 3 23 Jun 14, 2013 02:14AM  

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Nikki Gemmell has written four novels, Shiver, Cleave, Lovesong, The Bride Stripped Bare and The Book Of Rapture, and one non-fiction book, Pleasure: An Almanac for the Heart. Her work has been internationally critically acclaimed and translated into many languages.

In France she's been described as a female Jack Kerouac, in Australia as one of the most original and engaging authors of her

Other books in the series

Bride Trilogy (3 books)
  • With My Body (Bride Trilogy, #2)
  • I Take You (Bride Trilogy, #3)
“There were the endless birthday nights and New Year's Eves of just you in your bed and no one else. There was the welling up at weddings, the glittery eye-prick, when all the couples would get up to dance. Sometimes it felt like your heart was crazed with cracks like your grandmother's old saucers. Sometimes the sight of a Saturday afternoon couple laughing in a park would splinter it completely.” 17 likes
“You're living your days at the moment how a sheep grazes, meandering, not engaged with anything much.” 13 likes
More quotes…