Genres: Erotic Romance, Romance
Published by Grand Central Publishing on November 6, 2012
Purchase Links: Amazon ✦ Barnes & Noble
Book Links: Goodreads
You’ve devoured The Fifty Shades Trilogy. Now it’s time to lose yourself in the… Haven Of Obedience.
Twenty-something Londoner Natalie Bowen is envied by many, but her personal life is a disaster. Men can’t cope with her career success and Natalie thinks she’ll never find real happiness.
Then she hears about an exclusive weekend retreat called The Haven, a place that specializes in introducing people to pleasures they could never have imagined. Shocked at the idea, but unable to resist finding out more, Natalie decides it’s time to put her fears behind her.
Once at The Haven, Natalie meets the enigmatic and disciplined Simon, a man who is used to getting what he wants. And Natalie may very well have met her match…
First impression? I kind of wish a place like this really did exist, as it would most likely help people, single or couples, improve their sex lives and, subsequently, their life’s happiness. Also, for those who would never go to a place like this – this book may provide some various techniques and ideas that would help them out as well. Beyond that? An overwhelming feeling of “…meh”.
I’ve read The Fifty Shades Trilogy – and it has its merits, though it’s quite obvious that it started as Twilight fan fiction. But I get that. Wanting more of what you like. This is why so many more books in this “shocking” genre are being published. It’s not so shocking, really, unless you went from E.L James to A.N. Roquelaure (a.k.a. Anne Rice and her Sleeping Beauty Trilogy) – talk about going from baby aspirin to crack. I have read many books in this particular genre, ranging from realism to fantasy to sci-fi. I enjoy them because I like seeing if there is anything new… but I did not find that in this book.
The main character, Natalie, I mainly wanted to throttle the majority of the time. Natalie somehow manages to be a wimp and a bitch at the same time. And it’s a conundrum. Her character doesn’t necessarily stick. She feels confusion at her warring need to be in control all the time with the knowledge that submitting will actually bring her more pleasure – her entire reason for being there, paying the money and doing this. But her confusion only confuses and frustrates the reader – or at least it did for me.
Oddly, I very much liked Simon. Yes, there were a few times when I wanted to cause him mild bodily harm as well, but I feel that way about most of the heroes in the books I read.
Natalie does eventually learn (and I’m not spoiling anything here because a. there’s not much to spoil – it’s very predictable and b. I’m not actually giving any details) and I suppose I begin to like her for the last 10 pages or so… but my dislike of her for the rest of the time kind of ruins it for me. I need to feel a kinship with the character I’m reading and Natalie isn’t very relatable – unless the reader also happens to be a hugely successful business woman who always likes being on top, in every way.
I give this book a 2 because it’s the first book in a while that I’ve almost not finished due to either frustration or boredom. I dislike giving bad reviews because I know that the author has put their heart and soul into this, not to mention much of their time and effort. I would hope that, should I read other books by her, I would enjoy them. But this book was a 2 out of 5 for predictability, lack of excitement and the aforementioned feeling of “meh”. Redeeming quality: new ideas for those bored with their sex lives. This book can serve as a guideline on how to spice it up a little.
Rating: 2 Flowers, Sensuality Rating: 4 Flames