Editor Tyler opens her intro with three lines of song lyrics specifically evoking "love," then admits in the 2nd paragraph that "amour" is a "vague theme." Okay, that makes "amour" for her a synonym for love. Okay, by me, pretty much. I've always thought of "amour" as a deeply sensual one-on-one relationship stoked by equal parts infatuation and love, and plenty of lust. My amour is highly romantic, very long on physical setting, texture and anticipation, reveling in every single aspect of the relationship, and of being in love. It's candles, beaches, dark bedrooms and rich linens, lingerie and flowers, crimson lipstick and tweed suits, all that stuff and a lot more. Amour is the entire package, the enjoyment of bitter-cold winter nights, thrilling in the downpour, the smell of the sea, all because of that mutually recognized and treasured attraction and requited love, its pervasiveness and its deeply realized effect on both parties.
But just to be sure, I looked up "amour" to find that its primary definition is an illicit or secret love affair or sexual relationship. So, boys and girls, "amour" can be love, but not necessarily.
It's not clear which amour Tyler is capturing in this book. If you're coming at the book from the notion of romantic love, this little collection (12 stories in 129 pages, in a 5" x 7" package) will kind of get you there. If you're focused on the illicit sexual relationship, you'll probably get more out of it.
That is not to say the content is bad here, not so. It's just that the theme is tough to nail down, and you should have the right expectations coming in. The stories are varied, mostly man-woman, although you do get a few woman-woman and one man-man. There are a number of the stories that are very much about the illicit relationship, including some adultery (which struck me as pretty solidly trampling amour underfoot). There are a couple of stories for the hip and trendy, with mention of tattoos and piercings.
I particularly liked "The Blonde in 1812," a very creative tale of fantasy and how to keep a relationship alive and fun. Good on Jeremy Edwards for penning "her transcendent feminine grip" in "Le Petit de Jeuner," which got the closest to my idea of amour. Then along comes "An Ordinary Love," which is anything but, with scars, a razor, and him giving her a smack in the face. I get the point of their love, sure, but that's really not for me, and was not erotic. The closer, "My Sometimes Girlfriend," was pretty obvious from the opening lines, but still an interestingly told tale.
In one story a guy has a smell of "butterscotch and Parliament lights"--gack.
Bottom line: The stories are all pretty well done, nicely edited, with none of the horrible sex writing I've noted in other erotica collections. None of them are duds, and the variation is modest enough to cast a wide reader net without alienating anyone with something really wild. If you're looking for explicit depictions of love, sweet love, this collection provides a couple of winners, but a few that really don't match up. But if you're expecting tales of illicit sexual relationships, true amour, then you'll be plenty happy with this.