Content warning: Sexual Slavery, Non-con, Bad BDSM behavior, Dubcon, and general WTFBBQery
I don’t often feel the need to drop trigger warnings before going into a review, but boy howdy does this book need them. This is like a general how-to guide of what not to do when writing romance. Boy howdy, where do I fucking start?
You know what? Fuck trying to describe this trainwreck in a professional way.
The core of the story is Brianna is a sex slave in the very not nice version of the word of a really shitty human being who bought her from her parents when she was underage and beat the ever-loving shit out of her. When this hemorrhoid on the asshole of humanity got sick of she gets “saved”/bought by Stephan because that’s what heroes do in this story: they buy traumatized barely legal women.
Then, because this wasn’t WTF-enough, Stephan doesn’t take Brianna to see a psychologist or hire a lawyer or do anything else that reasonable person would do. No, instead he decides the best way to handle this beaten, broken, and traumatized woman is to make her HIS slave and show her the good side of BDSM.
BDSM is supposed to be Safe, Sane, and Consensual. What this book shows is none of that. Let’s break it down.
It’s not safe. The situation Brianna is in is not really improved on her prior situation. While she’s not beaten, she’s still punished for very minor transgressions… like not giving Stephan her full attention at all times. I mean seriously What the actual fuck! This is not safe. This is not okay. This is very opposite of Okay.
Okay… Do I even have to explain sane?
This woman was abused. This woman was raped. She’s18, maybe 19. He’s in his thirties. He’s a dom who is used to getting what he wants when he wants it, but he apparently didn’t learn the fucking rules of his own lifestyle. The BDSM community can be fine for some people. It might eventually be fine for Brianna. But the problem, and Stephan should fucking know this, is that what he did was illegal.
It’d be like if the neighbor who found the three kidnapped women being held by Ariel Castro and instead of calling the cops he decided that he’d just move them into his house and keep them there as his slaves… just feed them better, clothe them better, and not rape them until they had serious Stockholm syndrome.
This wasn’t. Brianna couldn’t make a choice. And while there was thankfully, gratefully, no sex in this book. That doesn’t mean that Brianna didn’t have her agency and choice taken from her.
She didn’t agree to be Stephan’s new live-in maid and servant. And even if she had, she didn’t have the mental headspace to be able to give full and enthusiastic consent. The power dynamic between them alone was too much. But Brianna couldn’t say no to Stephan because if she did, he might send her back to a worse hell.
It’s bad. Really bad.
I admit I went into this book with minor reservations. I’ve seen some good hurt/comfort women regaining their agency books, but this isn’t one of them. Part of me wanted to stop when I realized what Stephan was going to do, but by then I was so angry that I basically hate read this thing.
It almost got a Faleena Hopkins-esque review… except I’d read this book so long ago I’d have to go reread it to get the shitty passages… and nope… Not even if you paid me.
So because this book is wrong is so many ways and because I still want to hurl it off a bridge. And because this book glorifies sexual slavery, kidnapping, and coercion and has no way of redeeming itself… ever… Even in the 3 sequels
Oh… and it has a cliffhanger… if that weren’t bad enough.
You can get it here… For Free… but it’s really not worth the price.
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#sherrihayes #bookreview #onestarreview #triggerwarnings #contemporaryromance #bdsm