Dear Ms. Leigh:
My good friend called me up and said that she wanted me to read your latest release, Forbidden Pleasure. I asked her when the last time it was when she read my blog and she replied that she knew that your writing hadn’t worked well for me in the past, but that I should give this a try, that I might really like it. She talked it up so much that I relented.
John “Mac” McCoy met Keiley and he was gone. He fell in love with her, married her, and took her to his childhood home in North Carolina. Mac took Keiley there to get away from the environment that he had reveled in for the years before, an environment of forbidden sexuality that involved sharing of partners.
Only 3 years into their marriage, the two are having troubles. Mac is becoming increasingly distant and their sex life, once the highlight of their relationship, is strained. Keiley had heard rumors of Mac’s darker sexual desires before she married him, but Mac never evinced any need for a third in their relationship.
Keiley was intensely curious, though, as to what drove a man like Mac to desire such a different lifestyle. She was curious and afraid, both of her own response and of what that would do to their relationship. She begins to question Mac about his past and he sees that as a sign to bring Jethro Rigg, his best friend, and previous partner, into the picture.
Jethro had always had a thing for Keiley. He met her first but felt that he wasn’t the right man for her and set her up with Mac. But giving ground to Mac was done with the belief that someday Jethro would have an opportunity to be part of the relationship. Over time, though, it appeared that Jethro as wrong and he would have to resign himself to a different lifestyle. Just when he had given up hope, Mac’s summons came through. Keiley is faced with her husband’s darkest secrets which just might ruin her life.
If the book had focused solely on the relationship; the romance; the menage dynamics, it would have been more moving. The trouble is there is an absurd suspense plot included with a few toss away scenes involving townspeople and gossip which seemed completely unbelievable. Each time I left the home that contained the emotional center of the story, I was jarred and distracted by uneven pacing, forced dialogue, and crude characterizations.
When you are writing about the nucleus and the menage dynamics, the story is at its best. All the right questions were asked and answered. Keiley wondered whether Mac truly loved her, for if he did, how could he possibly share her with another man. She began to question herself, her own morality, her capacity for love. She wonders how she can love two men and if she does allow herself to love two men, will one of them leave her?
The explanation for Jethro and Mac’s devotion to the “sharing” lifestyle was rooted in their childhood. Jethro and Mac saw themselves as somewhat damaged by their childhoods; that each one had relied so much on the other for survival that they almost were one person.
I was moved by the story of the three: Mac, Keiley and Jethro. I believed that they were better off as a threesome than they were as separate units. The psychological issues underpinning a menage were strongly explored in a manner I’ve not yet read in other books. I’m not sorry I read it. I debated heavily about the grade given that there were portions of the book that made me roll my eyes and sigh. But there were portions of the book were I was captivated. I think that a B- is about right.