Author: Lilith Duvalier
Title: The Promise of Silk
An airship pirate who ran away from his soul crushing London life, finds himself at an infamously decadent carnival out in the English countryside. A fellow pirate does his best to convince him to go and sample the lovely women of The Row, but Buck isn’t sure he ever wants a woman again.
That is until a mysterious woman in a red dress and mask sits down across from him, entrancing him instantly. He follows her back to her red silk tent, where she puts him through his paces, whetting his appetite for more erotic delights. Each time he returns, she brings him further beyond his boundaries, while learning that he can help her break her bonds.
What I Thought
The positive points:
The writing was smooth and rich, as silken as the title promises. The first scene between the hero and the heroine is intriguing, particularly as it comes out of nowhere, illustrating the magnetic attraction between the two. Jane/Anisette is, mostly, consistent, and her behavior mysterious and alluring. The hero's sweetness is a good counterpoint to her sour. The steam-punk Victorian setting is also deftly sketched. Alaric's doubts about submitting to Jane/Anisette, too, are well-done. The ending was ... happy.
The negative points:
I understand that in writing a romance between a dominatrix and her sub there are many difficulties which must be resolved, but still, the resolution was incomplete. Jane's attitude toward the hero is insufficiently detailed, insufficiently explored. Even up until the last she is thinking of herself rather than Alaric, of how his (supposed) departure will affect her future plans for herself. This led to the ending feeling hollow, unsatisfactory, and unbelievable in that Jane is suddenly being kind to Alaric. In addition, her previous experiences in pretending to be a widow apparently led only to her being considered a "whore" by the neighborhood because of her lack of a husband. This attitude clashed with the otherwise well-done steam-punk Victorian setting. In a Victorian setting a widow without a man would be considered an object of pity perhaps but no one would automatically assume she was a loose woman. This aspect of Jane's background seemed contrived, and it clashed with the overall smoothness of the book.
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