“Pain was his pleasure… pleasure was her pain.”

Daniela Reviewed By Rania M M Watts 

I’m so tired that in 2020 a subject like sex is still considered to be taboo in certain circles.  Well, I hate to advise you but, sex in art has been around since the dawn of time. All you have to do is check out the Kamasutra or even early Greek pottery.  In fact, the oldest piece had been carved 11,000 years ago, it was entitled \”Ain Sakhri Lovers\” you can see the simplicity in form, two entities ensconced with each other. The elements of sex and desire, are not new concepts, so why does society shy away from it? This was one of the thoughts that popped into my mind as I read Daniela by Georgia Melaris. The bottom line is that we are afforded a contemporary world where expression must never be rendered mute.  In order to achieve a momentum that permits us to move forward, we must open our minds to the possibility of a novel that offers romance on this high of a level and appreciate everything about it – especially the lexicon used throughout. 
Most people assume that an Erotic Drama would be raunchy or smutty – those words are so far removed as to how I would describe Daniela.  I would classify Daniela as a subterranean trip in the underworld, of being born and forced into prostitution and coming out on the other side a stronger human. Also, there are so many layers and types of love intertwined within that are explored. The scenes are so carefully crafted with creative phrases that allow one’s imagination to linger and truly get lost in the story. I would have to say that Georgia’s intimate scenes are similar to that of Sandro Botticelli’s depiction in his painting The Birth Of Venus. 

As with all of my reviews, hang on to your onto your chapeau because this is going to be long, and with a myriad of twists and turns of scenes — I’ve harvested from my notes that just make me adore Daniela. Let’s rewind a little bit, last Sunday I had contacted Georgia because I am very much interested in interviewing her for CCIQ Press, as the perspective and origin story of Daniela genuinely fascinates me.  I always discuss poetry and nauseum because it truly is my wheelhouse but, when someone introduces me to something that I find I can sink my teeth into — I will. To be completely honest there are a bunch of books on my bookshelf with numerous “page markers” (actually, I just want to quickly add a sub note, don’t you think that the word “page marker” sounds more refined than “book marker” that’s the first thing I noticed about Daniela, Georgia’s ability to utilize such lush language to line her sentences.) Now, where was I?  Yes, honestly, too many of my books house markers in them.  My mind is easily bored, mind you the majority of my poetry books have been DEVOURED.  Which makes this quite the unique case as I was able to feast on all of Daniela, and want, and am able to go back and read certain sections again. I actually tend to do that a lot. My greatest commodity is my imagination and oh wow, it just POPPED to life with Georgia’s conceptualised real world.   

I always feel sad when a book is terminated, as though I want more time with the characters. What happened in their lives, and how they moved on from: human atrocities, and tragedy.  More so with Daniela because this story is based on real individuals.  Daniela was respectfully crafted from the experiences of women and what they’ve had to endure throughout the course of their life. It is a story that takes the reader from mind trapped oubliette to another in a fashion that at times may be dark, but it is perfectly balanced with the level of light. And, furnished truly with the promise of a better tomorrow regardless of the path chosen.  

Daniela, broke my heart – I don’t want to give away too much of the book or the plot because honestly you should genuinely experience Georgia’s slow burn for yourself.  And, when I say slow burn take me very seriously because, that dipped in cold water feeling will completely annihilate your thought process.

Having read Daniela, I only have one criticism, and it has no bearing on Georgia as it is strictly for selfish reasons on my part. There is a character in Daniela entitled Franco, I totally fell in love him, he felt to me like an immensely kind old man who had understanding in his fibre.  So, here it is, I want more Franco.  You may think that it’s silly but, he is the one character I wanted to see more of as I felt all of the other personas had been equally spread out with their exit and entrances with a truly  appropriate balance.  When Georgia writes humans whether they be: men, women, or children, and even straight, or gay — Georgia writes a fourth dimensional human character. Carbon life forms overflowing with sentiment, flesh and bone, there is NOTHING generic or cookie cutter when it comes to the idiosyncratic characters that Georgia has so bravely honoured — woven within the intense tapestry of Daniela.  The three fates could not have done better themselves. And, if you think that I am just shouting out accolades, do me a favour, read the rest of this review then go and pick up Daniela. This book honestly should be read!! 

I must admit something to you, over the past week I’ve been completely OBSESSED in dialogue with Georgia herself. I’ve had the opportunity of a lifetime; I always discuss poetry books but, it has been a very long time since I’ve read a novel. I’ve been working so hard on poetry that I don’t tend to focus on anything else.  But, as I started to read and notice right away the little subtleties that occupy the entirety of Daniela, I instantly took that trip down the rabbit hole in the best possible. Discussing Daniela with Georgia every day, about how I felt with regards the characters, who I liked most and why really solidified my review in my cortex. I knew what would be required and was so ready to fulfill a review that will leave any doubters behind – pertaining to the caliber of this tremendously poignant read.  Especially revenge plots. It has been such a fulfilling experience to be able to ask a writer anything about their book and not shy away from difficult questions. You know what? Georgia answered every single one of them and did not shy away once.  I must appreciate brass balls on a human, although Georgia physically doesn’t have this attribute, she houses one of the largest proverbial pairs I have ever seen. Georgia rarely gave me spoilers and as I read she made sure to stay ahead of me – oh, did I forget to mention that Georgia ended up picking up her copy of Daniela and started to read right along with me? See what I mean? Pretty cool right? We would play a game, where I would guess the characters next choices. Sometimes I was spot on, a few times I was completely way off.  

There is one necessary scene that must be shared, which has been the forefront of my mind since I read it. Let me just set it up for you, Daniela is basically left in a hotel room to rot, over the course of her special weekend away with her lover. While he worked and utterly ignored her, upon her return home a revenge plot beings to take form.  One of the funniest scenes in the movie, (I mean to say book, the reason that I said movie is because everything played so clearly in my mind.) I am sorry, I don’t mean to sound cruel, if someone leaves you like that and doesn’t even communicate with you as to when you will finally be able to see them next — pretty much ghosting them is enough to upset anyone! Let’s say Daniela took her revenge but it was at a price – one you will have to read to find out where it’s going.  But I will give you the quote to correspond with it so that you know it when you finally get to that part in the novel. “The bastard number you have f*cking dialed is not f*cking available at present. You f*ck! Please try later.” No word of a lie one morning last week I woke up with this quote in my head and could not help but cackle. 

Georgia has a little habit I picked up on that was so creatively executed, while I read Daniela there were certain scenes that I had felt had origins steeped in foreshadowing.  Georgia, however, does not do this in an obvious way, Daniela will force you to think ‘what is going to happen next?’ You know, when you get so involved with a book that all five of your senses simply want to absorb it into your pores? That is how I felt, with the addition of the sixth sense of instinct.  I don’t know about you, but I have tried many a time to write a novel, I had so many details and everything was layered.  When it came time to actually sit down and write, I was not able to.  I have no idea why, but it was not coming out, you know what did though? A whole series based on the novel I wanted to write, steeped in poetry.  That fact right there makes me appreciate the banyan tree even more.  Let me explain, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a banyan tree? When I was in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii — I saw one firsthand.  It spans 1.94 acres in circumference and houses 16 trunks. I say this because I want to illustrate to you how so very layered Daniela really is. For you to comprehend with a visual example how many branches of story there genuinely are.  I would literally have to take all the characters, their traits, connection and put them on an image board to see how everyone is very steeped in each other’s lives.  By the time you are done connecting the dots all that will remain is a spider web and a wonderful tale woven within a pair of spinnerets that render you to genuinely fall on your knees. 

Daniela, is a unique fortified structure on it’s own.  However, if I had to compare, I would say that it is a combination of: Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald, Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe, and Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. I don’t know if you noticed but both Moll Flanders & Madam Bovary are classics that have surpassed the test of time which I know in my heart – holds a similar fate for the longevity of Daniela.  My dream is for readers to put aside their sex bias and understand that they are not reading a triple x rated book, they are reading a story that ensconces within it’s pages various levels of love from: romantic, self, and friendship. People take love for granted they think that it is just a common thing that people do.  As an adult I can tell you that true love regardless of the manifested form can change the heart of many an individual if it is genuine. Most individuals feel that love has metamorphosed into a cliché. But you know what? It is not, it has got to be one of the most universal subjects as everyone on this earth regardless of who they are loves something or someone dear to them. Nevertheless, along with hate it is quite powerful, in our world and can force humans into fighting hard to honour the truth behind the love in their optics.  Don’t get me wrong, hate and revenge are equally dynamic. I guess what I am trying to say in my own convoluted way, love and hate are universal, the ebb and flow traits and the way Georgia has taken her long piece of thread and all of these remarkable stories of weathered lives that required tremendous care and literally handbound this book with it’s fate! 

Have you ever seen the artwork by M.C. Escher entitled Drawing Hands from 1948? This is exactly what Georgia has managed to do in 309 pages.  Georgia took all the stories, from all these humans who had endured so much and with respect fashioned a world that occupies a myriad of themes and especially consequences.  If you had not guessed as I mentioned in my pre poem review “Daniela goes beyond the five star allotment on Amazon.. ” and have clearly outlined why in everything listed above which illustrates my point perfectly. I feel that if society were to put its bias towards the word erotic, they could and would actually appreciate Daniela for it’s artistry, of a myriad of lives with such authentic class.  

If Daniela were a painting it would be a gorgeous nude, tastefully forged from colour and brushes. The only difference is that Georgia used a quill and ink to scribe a tale worthy read.  Which I find to be refreshing, as the manner in which Georgia writes is quite fearless. It’s all there for the world to see carefully penned and stimulating. With most books, I tend to get bored by page 5 – I was on pins and needles right up to the very last page, hence the numerous page makers in unfinished books that are rendered in their own book graveyard. To have read all 309 pages and so quickly should give you an indication that I will not just read anything.  It has to be convincing to me, if I feel anything inauthentic about the script I stop.  I could not stop reading Daniela until I was finished. It honestly deserves proper readership respect, as it was an exceptional read riddled with every single ride at the amusement park merged into one MASSIVE rollercoaster.  You are transported up so high and brought down quickly, then once you feel this calm, an ever-present loop de loop will leave you reeling in quiet contemplation of WOW! 

My suggestion, now that you are finished reading this review go and check out Daniela! It’s so worthy of all your multi-hued optics.  And, an added treat my forthcoming interview with Georgia will be posted soon. And luckily for all of you Daniela now as a permanent home http://www.danielathenovel.com/ 

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