Monday, May 9, 2011

Tender Mercies by Kitty Thomas


I read Tender Mercies in one sitting. It pulled me in and there was no way I could put it down until I'd reached the end.

What do I say first? I should probably warn that there is a great deal of non-consensual activity. It can be argued that Grace consented to giving up her rights, that she chose to put herself into the situation. And that piece of information does make things more palatable. But still, there is a great deal of activity that I don't believe anyone would ever willingly consent to.

But the titillating bits aren't the non-consent stuff. Or, not entirely, anyway. But that's about all I can say about that without giving spoilers.

Here's the blurb:

"Grace. That word that finally meant something again. Mercy. Favor. Good will."

Fed up with play kink, Grace Warner moves to an island that embraces erotic slavery to be with a man she met online. Within hours of her arrival, everything is ripped from her, and she quickly learns play is preferable to the realities of actual enslavement.

Asher Collins has spent the past year mourning and blaming himself for the death of his slave, Darcy. When Grace catches his eye at a showing, obviously abused, he becomes obsessed with buying her and finding a way to atone for his own past sins.

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 is a good one, and beautifully crafted to give us situations that make us think about the ramifications of slavery without a safeword - the good (i.e. exciting) parts and the bad parts. The pacing was beautiful, prose and dialogue were fine, and character development was superb.
  • Book Rating: Tender Mercies: 10 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 10 of 10
  • Heat Level: 5 of 5

Tender Mercies isn't for everyone. If you are sensitive to non-con BDSM and rape in a fictional setting then you probably want to pass on this one. However, Kitty Thomas writes non-consensual situations that make you think, really think, like nobody else. So if you can deal with it as part of the larger picture, then the story is a good one.

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