[. . .] In her novel The Tryst, Monique Roffey is writing for herself, the book forming part of a wider exploration of sex and sexuality which she also covered in a memoir, With the Kisses of His Mouth.
Erotic literature is vulnerable to a number of stylistic weaknesses. It is, by its very nature, repetitive, while descriptions of sexual ecstasy can become unintentionally comic if they try too hard to convince the reader of the power of sex to transport. Happily, The Tryst is no contender for the Bad Sex award: the sexual descriptions walk the line between transcendent and plain dirty with perfect judgment.
What delivers the novel out of the realms of pornography is that it is not a book of sex but a book about sex. Set in the familiar here and now, it focuses on the relationship between a sympathetic and believable couple, Jane and Bill. They are in their 40s, faithful, affectionate and supportive of each other, but their sex life has become dormant.
[. . . ] Like the best sex, the book has a happy ending; it rebalances the seething sexual energies released when Lilah seduces Bill and offers insights into the effects on men of women’s reaching towards equality. All three characters are changed by their experiences of each other and, although the sex succeeds in arousing the reader, the intellectual stimulus is the bigger turn-on.