A professional violinist and a literature professor become embroiled in a seductive, manipulative romance in Eighty Days Yellow, the first novel in a trilogy by Vina Jackson, a pseudonym for two established writers. Summer Zahova is a well-travelled New Zealander living in London and making a living off waitressing and playing violin professionally.
Trapped in a loveless and relatively lustless relationship, Summer uses her love of Vivaldi to escape. After Dominik, a literature professor, happens upon her whilst busking in the London Underground, he makes it his mission to involve himself with Summer. Beginning with the promise of a professional violin to replace Summer’s after it was destroyed in a brawl, Dominik mixes the beauty of music with sexual intimacy, asking Summer to perform increasingly lavish acts.
This dominating relationship both enriches and ruins Summer’s life. Having been selected to be a violinist in a New York orchestra, Summer finds herself making up for her loneliness by submitting to worse and worse sexual acts performed by one of Dominik’s colleagues.
The growth of Summer’s character is a key theme in Jackson’s Eighty Days Yellow, as she discovers confidence she wasn’t aware she held, sinks to levels lower than she’d ever imagined, and eventually finds herself in a happy and equal relationship. Jackson’s sex scenes get rather graphic, in a generally positive manner, yet managing to demonstrate the destructive capabilities of some relationships. Jackson’s inclusion of music adds a pure beauty to the novel, managing to describe some things perfectly, in a way I never could have imagined.
Eighty Days Yellow continues the current trend developed from the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, incorporating intelligent, strong-willed, admirable characters.
Available now: Hachette RRP$17.99