🔞 Contains adult themes 🔞
Erotica can be a difficult genre to review. After all, what is it’s purpose? Let’s not be coy, it’s purpose is to arouse, and what arouses each and every one of us is slightly different and deeply personal. Something that arouses you might bore me and vice versa, and I suspect that generally, men and women will be looking for something slightly different. And what are it’s boundaries? Many mainstream books contain explicit sex scenes but are they erotica? Many books are erotic without being explicit.
I guess that it’s also difficult for authors. Imagine trying to write an erotic novel that will be appealing to enough people to make it successful. I’m sure most of us think we could do it; just put one of our fantasies down on paper, and wham (bam?!) you’re done. If only it were that simple. I’ve read many erotic works over the years, and a lot were, for me, awful. Indeed, I don’t normally search them out, and only pick one up if I see more than one unrelated recommendation.
That’s what led me to this book. I happened to see Kristina Lloyd’s name in two or three places over the course of a week or so, and this book was also mentioned, so I thought I’d give it a try, particularly as all the people recommending it were women.
It’s the story of one woman’s exploration of her fantasies. Natalie has played in the world of submission in the past, but now single (sort of), she wants to go further. She meets a man online who seems to fit the bill, and she slowly falls under his spell, even though she’s aware she knows nothing about him. The rest of the story is about trust, consent, control and danger. I won’t give away too much of the plot, as it might spoil your enjoyment!
Although Natalie is exploring submission, she is the one who is normally in control. As anyone with knowledge of BDSM will know, this is the reality; it’s all about trust and consent. Anything else is abuse.
Against my expectations, I enjoyed this book. The main characters are believable and most are well rounded. It is a tale of domination, submission and sex and is as explicit as you would expect. But it also asks questions of the reader; would we have allowed ourselves to get into the situations Natalie does to satisfy our desires? What is the basis of sexual and emotional attraction, and how closely related are these two things?
All this doesn’t mean that the book is a deeply philosophical work, it isn’t. But it’s more than just a simple sex story.
For me, it achieves this by being both a linear story and a commentary. The unfolding plot is interspersed with long passages looking inside Natalie’s head; telling us what she’s thinking, and also giving us images from her past, explaining why she is as she is. Some may find this frustrating, thinking it gets in the way of the drama. But for me, it’s what turns it from the mundane into something that holds your interest throughout.
This is a review of the Black Lace 2013 Kindle edition.