Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd.
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes 4/5/1995
Summary: Mmmm. Right. There must be something else.
Republished from Crushies Book Reviews – Volume II Issue No. 4 – April 1995 – Copyright 1995.
And the china was “splendidly opulent” and exquisite. Mmmm. Right.
Sheri Heller, the Baroness Sheri de Borchgrave, relates the story of her marriage into the aristocratic families of Belgium. His name was Jacques–the husband, not the families. She met Jacques on a plane while on her way back to New York.
Soon after that meeting, she received a letter from Jacques asking her to join him for a two or three week vacation in St. Tropez. He had arranged for separate rooms of course. Of course. And the china was “splendidly opulent” and exquisite.
On the ride in his speedy white BMW 520 from the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, Sheri felt an overwhelming attraction for Jacques. As Jacques, his eyes flashing on her with sensuous warmth, rambled on about the beauty of St. Tropez’s semi-nude beaches filled with chic women and tarte au pomme, Sheri knew this would be a vacation she would remember for the rest of her life. No, wait. The St. Tropez beaches were not filled with tarte au pomme. Tarte au pomme is the hot apple tart served at St. Tropez. And the china was “splendidly opulent” and exquisite.
These romantic vacations of clothes, food, wine, beach, sun and sex continued for a year, two years, three years. What’s time when you’re talking about love. In any event, Jacques finally asked Sheri to marry him. But he also had a strange, eerie request. No, not that one, the other one. He wanted her to have breast surgery to have her breast enlarged. A whimsy, Sheri thought. He would get over it. Meantime, she said yes.
During their engagement, as she tidied up her life in New York preparing to move to Belgium and become Baroness Sheri de Borchgrave, she had second thoughts. Jacques was awaiting a divorce from his first wife. He had also hinted at a hushed-up family scandal in which a young servant woman had died and he was implicated in some way. Farther talks with her mother and prompting from Jacques lead her to go ahead with the marriage. After all, what are divorces for anyway and the china was “splendidly opulent” and exquisite.
Sheri met Jacques’s family of royalty and eventually discovered the secrets: the mother was cold and distant; an aunt seemed anxious to share all the family secrets; Jacques’s married and divorced sister who apparently had an ongoing sexual relationship with one of Jacques’s uncles. This sister also had a less frequent sexual relationship with Jacques. And the china was “splendidly opulent” and exquisite.
Well, to make 332 pages less breathless, the marriage didn’t go well. That breast surgery thing kept popping-up. Jacques would have these weird mood swings (a second personality) in which he would accuse Sheri of not keeping her promise. There was also the little matter of a dowry. Jacques’s mother assumed Sheri would be bringing money into the marriage to help with the expenses–about $10,000 a month just to run the Baron Jacques’ household. Jacques picked-up the dowry issues and quietly hurled it in Sheri’s face each time he had a mood swing. During one of his mood swings, Sheri heard him run upstairs. Jacques never ran anywhere. She assumed he was going for his gun. She ran for the door, her car and safety. From a bar, she called Jacques who agreed to let her return to get her passport and clothes. When she returned, he was standing near the fire-place, tossing all the clothes he had brought for her to the god Vulcan. Sheri eventually filed for divorce.
The divorce was never finalized. Jacques died in 1989. Though the divorce was preceding through the Belgium courts, Sheri was still Jacques’s wife when he died so she inherited everything including the title. And the china was “splendidly opulent” and exquisite. Right.