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Sashenka by Simon Montefiore

Sashenka - Simon Sebag Montefiore

I am setting this one aside 30-odd pages in for two main reasons:


1) Pacing within scenes seems off and characters not quite believable.


2) Holy male gaze, Batman! Literally the first thing we learn about the (16-year-old) protagonist is her breast size. They are, in case you wanted to know (I didn't), "the fullest breasts in her class." As we are told from her own POV. Meanwhile her governess is off ogling the headmistress, or so I presume by the fact that when the author writes from said governess's POV, the headmistress's "bosom" is her only physical characteristic described.


With such a beginning, it seems just that this book was shortlisted for a bad sex award, though not based on those particular passages.


Okay, guys, here's a rule of thumb for writing from a female point-of-view: consider how often and in how much detail you would describe a male character's penis, from his own POV or that of another man. Write no more than that about your female characters' breasts when your POV is female.


Also, check out this article on "omniscient breasts", because it is really good.