Reviewed by my website Escapology Reviews
A sexy and very honest portrayal of a woman awakening to her role in a BDSM relationship. A roller coaster of thoughts and emotions struck me as I read this book: one minute lust then frustration, but one things for sure, I didn't put it down!
“Do you know what the ultimate sign of trust is for a submissive?”
“No, what is it?”
“They trust someone enough to let them have full control.” page 60
I wasn't sure what to expect from a BDSM story, and this very much falls into the category of 'beginner'. The sex depicted is an introduction as the story relates Rebecca's first BDSM relationship. As such it often reads like a 'vanilla' love story and most of the erotica is this (but it's still hawt!). Rebecca's emotional awakening into this new relationship is complex and involves discrepancies in age, affluence, and real life power dynamics (she works for his father) as well as the BDSM element.
I was often annoyed at what seemed like Rebecca's desire to 'cure' Heath from BDSM with her vanilla love. However, as the novel went on this turned out to be part of her awakening, and ended up being part of the complicated emotions of a person discovering their self and their relationship. The link between BDSM and emotional brokenness in the character of Heath also pissed me off a bit. This is an apocryphal stereotype the lifestyle already finds hard to shake. Here though, Baker uses it as a plot point to introduce the wonderfully hateful villainess Jessica Blake. Baker contrasts Blake's psychotic 'love' of Heath to the realistic love of Rebecca as an ideal Dominatrix who understands the emotional connection of a BDSM relationship.
This is perfect, as for those who have awoken to it, BDSM is as much a part of their sexuality as a person who is attracted to red hair or big boobs or even homosexuality: it's not a choice, it just IS. So a portrayal of this awakening done right is not only good hot reading: it's essential to the community.
I just wish that Rebecca had of been better at voicing her inner desires. For example, this inner thought:
“The arousal that hit me then was none like the other times I had felt it. I wanted to dominate this man, I wanted to have his submission. I wanted to be in every thought and every breath. I wanted to be the one that would be able to break and put him back together. I wanted to be the cause of his happiness and satisfaction. I wanted to be the reason he existed.” page 118
When voiced to Heath becomes:
“Are you okay with the fact that I like this?”
“I wouldn't have done it if I didn't want to and anyway I like the idea of you being at my mercy.” page 120.
I kinda felt her response should have been the honest, 'are you kidding, I have never been more turned on than by my roll in this relationship and the fact that you like it too makes us fit like jigsaw pieces!'. This is a bit of a let down, especially as a BDSM relationship involves LOTS of talking about desires before they are played out.
Also, I wasn't convinced that the present-tense narration worked though. Or rather, I got what Baker was trying to do but it needed to be better edited as it slips from past to present tense jarringly throughout.
So, yeah: I ended up really enjoying this book. The frustrations I had all boil down to one thing: this is level one. It's the first of more books – I'm not sure if it will become a series. The things I was not convinced about were integral to the book being the first of a burgeoning relationship. What mattered most in the end was that I couldn't put this book down. And I look forward to Level Two!
Rating: 7 out of 10. Definitely a matter of personal taste. I'd love to know how you would rate it.
(review of free book)