If you're looking for a quick fix, an easy source of titillation, TROMPE-l'OEIL is not for you. Following the erotic hook of Chapter One (1,200+ words), this novel requires almost sixty-five pages of character development. In other words, not for the weak an weary. 'Just warning.
If E. L. James (of FIFTY SHADES fame) was in any way a disappointment to you as a reader, TROMPE-l'OEIL may be a suitable antidote—maybe even an elixir. Its author, Russell Bittner, finished this book in 2004—years before the FIFTY SHADES trilogy was born. It's not the product of fan fiction or of any such collaborative effort; rather, it's the author’s own work—start to finish—conceived, developed and executed in his own Brooklyn, New York garden. As is every work of fiction, it's in part the product of his imagination, in part the product of his experience. The languages (with English translations), he feels, are integral to the story and are his own—the product of ten years’ study on the Continent. They're not meant to impress or annoy, but rather—he hopes—to enhance. And, he feels, they will bear up under the scrutiny of any native speaker.
DANEKA SØRENSEN is a Danish transplant to NYC, where she manages her life from an Upper East Side apartment building by night and from the top floor of a mid-town skyscraper by day—ostensibly, all under tight control. KIT ADDISON is a fashion photographer with a sideline penchant for flora and poetry who lives on the Lower East Side. The distance between them, however, is about much more than a mere hundred city blocks.
The first sixty-five pages (other than the "erotic hook" of Chapter 1) are devoted to setting and character development. From that point on, all hell breaks loose.
That said, Russell has always believed that a woman’s most erogenous zone is between her ears. Whatever hell breaks should break only between each such pair of ears.
That’s as much as you need to know about the two principal characters and about the “nature” of this book. The rest will reveal—and unveil—itself in the eighty-two chapters of the story whose journey, incidentally, takes us from New York to Paris, to Lisbon and the coast of Portugal, to Rome and Positano, to Copenhagen and to Bornholm (an island in the Baltic Sea), then finally back to New York City.
The thirty-three reviews (as of today, September 11, 2013) should tell you the rest.
Caveat lector! This is not a story for lovers of the work of Jane Austen—except for what MIGHT have existed in that author’s imagination. Unfortunately for her, however, Jane Austen didn’t live in our more liberal times.