Saturday, July 17, 2010

Comfort Object by Annabel Joseph

I've been playing around with the idea of a blog dedicated to reviewing BDSM books for a while. I've reviewed some on my Book Series Review site, but mostly only those in a series that I felt were substantial enough to be listed over there.

Comfort Object touched me enough to finally get me to create a blog to review just this sort of book. I have a list of authors in my head that, if they write a book, I'm probably going to read it: Joey W. Hill, Molly Weatherfield, Sean Michael - to name a few. They know how to get the mechanics and the emotions of a BDSM relationship into the story. I'm now adding Annabel Joseph to that list.

Honestly, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that Annabel Joseph is yet another pen name for Molly Weatherfield - the writing style and dialogue and even the emotions protrayed are very similar to Molly Weatherfield's writing. I'm probably wrong about that, but the writing is on the same par.

As for the story -- I started out by not liking Jeremy very much. In fact, if we hadn't heard his viewpoint a few times, I'm not sure I could have liked him at all. He does a few reprehensible things to start out, and BDSM is supposed to be about trust. But, the BDSM here isn't so much about trust as it is about an arrangement. Here's the blurb:

Nell, an out-of-work professional submissive, is desperate to find a job when she meets handsome film star Jeremy Gray at the restaurant where she works. He says he needs a personal assistant, but the work contract he shows her details not organizational duties, but sexual ones. Jobless and homeless, Nell agrees to work for him anyway, on the promise that he will pay for her to finish her college degree when her stint as his “assistant” is complete.

The start of their formal Dom/sub relationship is rocky, but they soon fall into a mutually satisfying, highly sexual routine. They play vanilla boyfriend and girlfriend in public, while Jeremy uses Nell as his kinky comfort object behind the scenes. Then a stalker threatens their secret lifestyle, and their contract may not be strong enough to hold them together.

Basically, she's being payed to be his submissive. Bought and paid for, she does what he wants, and he pays her weekly. She can leave at any time, she stays as long as she wants the job. There is a good bit of objectification in that, and even the title tells us this. He sees her as a live blow up doll, an object, not a person. Or, that's the way he wants to see her, anyway. And it's the way she feels.

To break down what is in Comfort Object:

Bondage and Displine: Yes. Lots of both.
Dominance and Submission: Tons of it
Sadism and Masochism: Lots and lots of Sadism. Not so much Masochism, she's a service oriented submissive, she takes the pain because it pleases him for her to take it, not because she enjoys pain. She takes a lot of pain for him, though.

The BDSM is realistic. Jeremy has the intention of never punishing her when he's angry, but at a certain point he loses his control and does so. That was a problem for me, personally, but I totally understand why the author chose to write the story that way. 

On my Series Review site I have a number of items I go over for each book. I'll start out doing that over here, see if it's still relevant when reviewing erotica.

The plot in this case is mostly the BDSM relationship, and it's a good plot. The setup for their situation, for their contract, it's a very good one. The pacing is well done, the prose and dialogue are natural, both worked for me. Character development was good.

Heat Level: 5 of 5
Book Rating: Comfort Object: 10 of 10

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