Monday, January 3, 2011

Mercy by Annabel Joseph


Mercy is another story of a submissive ballerina, but while I didn't love Firebird, I really enjoyed Mercy.

Lucy is a 29 year old ballerina working for a ballet company, with a very close friend she's partnered with on stage for around ten years. He's gay, so there is no sexual tension between them, it's a good solid friendship... but more than an everyday friendship, because they know each others rhythms and bodies so well, having danced together for so long. There are some rough parts to the story, and Lucy needed a good friend.

When Lucy first sees Matthew she is fascinated by him, but it still takes a while for them to have a conversation. This is not one of those books that goes from just-met to happily-ever-after in a month's time -- and if you've read many of my reviews you'll know I appreciate it when an author creates a more realistic time frame for her characters. 

Here's the blurb

Lucy Merritt has always defined herself by her body, whether dancing in a small avant-garde company or posing for art. But she has always felt as if something is wrong with her, as if something is missing. She has never been in love. Suddenly, in the darkness of the theater wings, a strangely affecting man enters her life. Matthew Norris, rich, handsome patron of the dance company, has decided that he wants Lucy for his own. He makes her an offer that both frightens and compels her, and they soon begin an affair characterized by only two requirements, beauty and truth. But how truthful are Matthew and Lucy? How much of Matthew's strenuous brand of love can Lucy endure? And how long can their rigid Dom/sub relationship stay frozen in time, never growing, never moving forward? 

Publishers Note: This novel contains explicit scenes of dominance and submission, discipline & training, bondage, group sex, oral sex, anal sex & double penetration, menage a trois, dubious consent, and both harsh and loving bdsm scenes.

I didn't like Matthew for portions of the book. Sometimes the difference between stalker and fan can be net worth of said person, and I felt like that came into play here. Also, I'm not entirely sure he deserved to be forgiven for some of the things he did. Even though he didn't have evil intentions when he did those things, they were still things that I'd have had a hard time forgiving him for. I appreciate the way Ms. Joseph had Lucy react though, she may be submissive but she's not a doormat. Or, perhaps it might be more accurate to say she is a doormat in certain situations, but she has her limits to what she'll roll over and accept.

Matthew had his good points too - a lot of them, actually. I had some questions, at times, about whether his good points outweighed some of the poor choices he made, though. I get that he had his own issues he was working through, but a poor choice is still a poor choice.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: 3 of 3.
  • Dominance and Submission: 3 of 3.
  • Sadism and Masochism: 3 of 3. 
  • Extra Point: Yes
As for the writing elements -- the plot had twists and turns and was very engaging and entertaining, pacing had a few issues but nothing major, prose and dialogue flowed smoothly, character development was exceptionally well done.
  • Book Rating: Mercy: 10 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 10 of 10
  • Heat Level: 5 of 5
I've commented before that Annabel Joseph's writing style is similar to Molly Weatherfields, and I had the same feeling as I read Mercy. I'm not saying Annabel is Molly, because now that Pam Rosenthal is out of the closet as Molly Weatherfield I doubt she'd pose under a different pen name. But the writing is certainly of the same caliber, and the conversational style of writing has some similarities.
    Mercy was a very moving story, one that I couldn't put down. It's not a comfortable story, nor is it always easy to read, but if you enjoy the more extreme versions of BDSM that also show the emotional stuff around forming this kind of relationship, then this is one you won't want to miss.

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