Sunday, March 14, 2021

"Morpheus Eugenia" and Gemini Rising - A Not-So-Literary and Perhaps-a-Little-Biased Comparison


By chance, have you read “Morpheus Eugenia”, a novella by A.S. Blatt, published by Random House in 1993. I read it long ago, and it impressed me…more than I knew. Years later, under the pen name Bianca Swan, I wrote Gemini Rising, and I believe this novella was the inspiration for my taboo dark fantasy.  The novella is not a dark fantasy. It’s niched as “Historical Fiction”.  Let me tell you a little about both the novella and the book. They are not alike, but the underlying theme is the same.

“Morpheus Eugenia”:

Impoverished naturalist William Adamson, traveling back to Victorian England, stays with his benefactor Sir Harold Alabaster. Sir Harold’s eldest daughter Eugenia is still in mourning over her fiancé’s death and emotionally vulnerable. Soon, William falls in love with quiet but extremely beautiful Eugenia. Sir Harold approves of their marriage, and they are wed. Sir Harold seems happy, but no one else does

Eugenia becomes pregnant very shortly after their marriage. She has intense mood swings from frosty and distant to avaricious and wildly sexual.  One day, while William is teaching the children in the woods, a servant calls him back to the manor, saying Eugenia wants him. He bursts into the bedroom and finds Eugenia and her brother Edgar having sex. Eugenia explains that her fiancé had found out and killed himself.

I know this is a spoiler.  I’m about to give you the blurb on Gemini Rising, which is a spoiler in itself. Now, there are no story similarities, but I imagine you’ve guessed the underlying theme.

Blurb—Gemini Rising:

The Alastair twins are a scientific impossibility. To parents who’ve tried every way to have a child, their male and female identical twins are a miracle.

Isolated in their island castle, the Alastair twins Alain and Alina turn to each other for friendship and love. But when their love shifts from fraternal to frighteningly deep, they’ll each dance with their lust in their own way.

A dark fantasy of forbidden longings and midnight pledges, spoken to be broken or kept. How can these phenomenal twins possibly unleash their innermost desires? The answer will shock you.


Despite the theme, Gemini Rising is a poignant love story, running the gamut of emotion from laughter to tears. The novella, which I recommend, is a bit distant, and I don’t remember feeling a connection with the characters, even William or poor Eugenia, but it was a powerful story (must have been for me to remember it decades later). Still, neither the book nor the movie delved into the characters’ feelings as I recollect.  I did see the 1995 movie titled “Angels and Insects” based on the novella. Because the actors performed the actions, it was easier to see their feelings, but they all seemed distant, except maybe Matty, the housekeeper. Perhaps, because it was the Victorian Era, they were just reserved.  I’d have to read it again, which I might just do. “Morpheus Eugenia” is a Nightingale-Swan recommended read.  haha


Gemini Rising Buy Link:

Angels and Insects Buy Link:

With Code TR2Z44E4 Gemini Rising, as a new release, is on sale for 20% off. 


Originally published by Random House!  I couldn’t find a publisher for my little baby. Taboo fiction is taboo.  Amazon will take it down if they discover it.  So, finally in the end, because the publisher left a comment on Bianca’s blog with a link to her glowing review of The Gate Keeper’s Cottage, I looked into Black Lotus Books.  In a matter of weeks, I had a contract. Black Lotus publishes only taboo fiction. Perhaps, if I’d written Gemini Rising in 1993, I could have been published by Random House.  If wishes were horses…

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Excerpt of Gemini Rising:

 Alain tucked the in-flight magazine into the seat pocket and gazed out the window. The distance from one life to another vanished with the clouds fleeing beneath silver wings. The new  aircraft transported him from a sunlit future to a misty past…from a black-haired beauty to a fair-haired princess. Sunlight broke through cloud striking steel, blinding him for an instant.

Someone was going to get hurt.

Already he hurt—a low throbbing like a toothache. If he returned to Portugal, Alina would be devastated. His father would disown him. If he picked up his discarded heritage, a part of him would die and Maritza would grieve. For a time. He wasn’t vain enough to think she’d pine for him forever. Alina would. It was that way twins, and their bond was even greater because they were identical.

The choice lay in his hands.

Damn, life got complicated when he tried to declare independence from The Keep. He shifted his long legs cramped beneath the airline seat. He preferred not to think, but fragments of memory plagued the corners of his eyes.

A vivid picture of Alina supplanted images of recent days drenched white-hot by a Portuguese sun. His twin’s presence was more corporeal than the woman sitting to his left. Welcome or not, Alina was there inside him, the mere thought of her a compulsion. He sensed her anticipation mounting as the miles melted. Expectation tingled over him. In self-defense, he grasped at a memory of riding the splendid Lusitano stallions, their beauty and majesty a temporary refuge. Like Maritza. As he pictured his lover framed in an arbor of roses, his heart dived. Grief mingled inseparably with the mounting excitement.

His seat mate muttered something. He smiled vaguely at the tiny movie screen where imaginary figures acted out their roles. The film would end happily; every desire fulfilled. He hated the silver screen people. Things never turned out right—except in the movies.

The roar of jet engines and the spattering of conversation became a distant echo. Alina was journeying. When his sister took flight, despite the distance, she’d lead him down the path her imagination chose. Alina had always been the leader. Or is that a cop out to ease my own guilt?  He laid his head back on the seat and closed his eyes. Why fight the inevitable?

The rumble of the sea surrounded him. July sunshine warmed his face. The light of home was different from any other place, diffused, like sunlight filtered through a special camera lens. He stood on the top tier of the formal garden, looking down to the wide flagstone terrace below. A brisk waterfall sprang from an aperture in rock to feed the swan pond. Even in summer the water rippled clear, green, cool.

The warp and woof of the present unwound, trailing satiny threads of the past over him. He exhaled a sigh only slightly shaded by regret...



Diane Burton said...

Wow. Taboo subject, indeed. Ancient stories tackle all kinds of taboo subjects. I'm curious, what is the appeal? Obviously, there's a market. I'm glad you found a publisher for your story.

Nightingale said...

Black Lotus Books publishes only taboo and that which no one else would dream of touching. Gemini Rising is a love story with incest as the draw. yes, there is a market. we'll see what my sales say.

Maureen said...

I've not heard of that story- thanks for sharing!

Nightingale said...

It was just released last week by a new publisher, Black Lotus Books.

Mary Morgan said...

Intriguing, Linda! Thanks for sharing.