I often find that when I sit down to write about a book that I have read, I forget all sorts of reactions that I had while actually reading the book. Sometimes, I remember to take notes, but often I don’t have any paper with me when I am reading. Today, when reading Jane’s review over of Sweet Persuasion over at Dear Author, I realized that she brought up a very important point. While I did love Sweet Persuasion, it was definitely an uncomfortable read – and that was something I should have put in my original post.
One of my initial reactions was surprise that such a hardcore BDSM relationship was being portrayed in a book published by a mainstream publisher. I definitely read a lot of BDSM fiction, a great deal of which is published by smaller publishers and/or ebook publishers. My impression has been that in books put out by the big name publishers, dominant/submissive relationship are often portrayed in a kinder/gentler manner – a manner intended to appeal to the widest range of readers. This certainly isn’t the case with Sweet Persuasion.
Damon certainly has a softer side. I thought his growing feelings for Serena came across rather clearly. There is no doubt this is a romance novel. I felt that we saw this romantic side of Damon while he and Serena were visiting his mother – we saw them more as people in a relationship rather than dominant and submissive. But he definitely demands total submission from Serena – 24/7-type of submission. He makes her sit at his feet several times in the course of the story. He demands public displays from her. And, there were other uncomfortable situations. I was made most uncomfortable by the way he expected Serena to be naked even in front of his household staff, kneeling between his knees while he pet her.
I think that I loved this book more because it was uncomfortable. Serena had good reason to be worried about whether or not she could be what Damon wanted. And, I was glad that this didn’t seem to actually be resolved at the end. This was in issue with which I felt the two would still need to deal.