Dear Ms. Aicher:
I’m not exactly sure why I tried this book because I’ve sworn off BDSM club stories. It’s become so de riguer for a BDSM story that I have nearly become convinced that it is part of the lifestyle, kind of like carriage sex in a Regency romance. Every BDSM practitioner everywhere must at some point go to a club and show off their predilection for pain, control, submission and dominance. I know instinctively that this cannot be true, but it is so prevalent that it makes a unique thing overdone, passe.
Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this version of the carriage ride sex. Cali Reynolds is an over 40 divorcee who made the difficult decision to leave her husband after twenty years of marriage. Her two kids don’t really understand. Her circle of suburban friends didn’t. But Cali felt that their appropriation was less shameful than the truth – that her husband hadn’t touched her in a sexual fashion for years.
Cali sets out to find herself a new and passionate life which brings her to The Den, an exclusive BDSM club. There she is introduced to a true bondage and submission experience with one of the owners, Jake McCallister.
Jake has one foot out of the door of the club that he built with his two best friends. They are pissed he is leaving and make no bones about it but Jake tells himself and them that this is how he is — someone unable to commit to anything for a sustained period of time.
Cali and Jake’s relationship takes place primarily inside the club, in part, because Jake lives above the club. However, their “scenes” are generally in a club room. I wondered how their relationship looked in the daylight, how they would interact outside the club. I felt that their relationship was built primarily on Cali’s newfound sexual joy. It was like a virgin falling for the guy who takes her virginity. I wanted to see Cali and Jake’s non sexual relationship.
I really liked the idea of the book, particularly Cali’s divorce and her struggle to communicate with her daughter. I also liked the twist ending and how Cali’s ex-husband wasn’t demonized.
I could have used more relationship building and Jake could have been more fully drawn out. His bad boy, no commitment schtick was very stale and transparent. Cali disappoints me at the end but her actions provide the Dark Moment. Some readers will have a problem with her actions and the resolution and denouement came hard on the heels of that Dark Moment. I could have used more space for the two to have worked through those issues. Still, given that I really dislike club bondage books, this worked out better than I expected, probably in large part due to Cali’s search for sexual fulfillment relatively late (40s) in life. C+