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Hysteria by Eva Gale

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hysteria (novella)
A free installment

Eva Gale
Historical Romance/Erotica
Published in 2009

H/h - Dr. Joseph Drake/Constance Gerald
Setting: England, 1860.

Read in Sept, 2011.
My rating:

                                                  [spoiler alert]

Ok have to admit the whole premise of this novella sounded weird to me but it was because I had no idea how a patient of hysteria was treated back in the middle or late 19th century. I haven’t read a review for this before reading, so I went back to Wikipedia and this is what I learned on female hysteria and it’s treatment:

The technique was difficult for a physician to master and could take hours to achieve "hysterical paroxysm." Referral to midwives, which had been common practice, meant a loss of business for the physician. The Chaise Longue and Fainting couch became popular home furniture to make women more comfortable during home treatment. Fainting rooms were also used for more privacy during home treatment.

A solution was the invention of massage devices, which shortened treatment from hours to minutes, removing the need for midwives and increasing a physician’s treatment capacity. Already at the beginning of the 19th century, hydrotherapy devices were available at Bath, and by the mid-19th century, they were popular at many high-profile bathing resorts across Europe and in America. By 1870, a clockwork-driven vibrator was available for physicians. In 1873, the first electromechanical vibrator was used at an asylum in France for the treatment of hysteria.

While physicians of the period acknowledged that the disorder stemmed from sexual dissatisfaction, they seemed unaware of or unwilling to admit the sexual purposes of the devices used to treat it. In fact, the introduction of the speculum was far more controversial than that of the vibrator.

Although it doesn’t give me a lot of information but now I got some grasp about the situation. Have to say, considering this is a novella, EG did a good job of capturing the mindset of a hysteria patient.

The girl, Constance, 25, lives with her parents. Her family from her father’s side is cursed with madness. It is presumed that she’s mad too. She never knew love. Her father, a madman, doesn’t care and her mother is a cold b*tch and treats her abominably. The narrative is from 1st person POV. It’s been a while since I’ve read a 1st person narrative in a novel. I liked Eva Gale’s writing style. It wasn’t complex or anything but the emotion is flowing through the paragraphs.

The story starts as her mother was getting her ready for her weekly treatment, to visit the Doctor’s chamber. It was painful to read, how she narrates her mother ‘dressing’ her up for this. Then they’re there, the treatment starts. It’s easy to see she’s stimulated by the Doctor’s treatment yet feels guilty of this. It’s not as if she fantasizes about this Doctor but she wants the release that the machine almost gives her. This time, the Doctor tells her he’d introduce her to someone new, a Doctor Drake for her further treatment. I’m not sure why this change but she agrees and waits in anticipation for the coming week. She even thinks about Doctor Drake and how he might continue with his treatment, would he be handsome or ugly etc. To ease the pressure that sprung from the treatment, she masturbates too.

The day finally arrives and she’s there but the old Doctor welcomes her into the chamber. Inside she takes her clothes off, waits for Doctor Drake. Oh but he’s a big and handsome man. Constance is now feeling uncomfortable because this time she knows she won’t be able to feign indifference because her body feels attuned to him. But Doctor Drake is very nice to her and gives her an orgasm with his hands. Constance leaves, planning she won’t be back again, even though Doctor Drake asked that he wishes to see her again.

I won’t go into the finishing since it’s a short story but I liked it. I really did, even though I had questions about certain things. I wish it was made a full novel. I would’ve loved to see their interactions and those two years she spent as Joseph, Doctor Drake’s ward. It’s revealed that from that first moment he wanted her to feel something special for him, something that is not brought on by the mechanical devices used for the treatment. Anyway, a good, quick read and not your usual erotica IMO. 4 stars. I think I’ll try more Eva Gale books in the future.

“Hysteria” is a free read, which has 3 long chapters and one sweet love scene. It’s available at smashwords.


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