Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair

TITLE: Master of the Mountain
AUTHOR: Cherise Sinclair
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 60k)
GENRE: BDSM contemporary erotic romance
COST: $6.99

When Rebecca finds out her boyfriend belongs to a swingers club, she agrees to go with him on a long Memorial Day weekend in hopes that it will spruce up their love life. What she discovers is more than the fact she hates watching him have sex with other people. She learns, from the powerful and overwhelming co-owner of the mountain resort Logan, that she isn’t as frigid as she’d feared she was. She just needed a strong Dom to recognize the submissive hiding inside her…

I have to confess that I started chapter one of this book with a little annoyance. It had nothing to do with the story I’d chosen to read, or anything external. Rather, it had to do with the author’s note, a letter to the readers (200 words long, so not something overly brief), reminding them to be safe, sane, and consensual in regards to real-life BDSM practices, as well as containing this, Know that I'm hoping you find that special, loving person who will understand your needs and hold you close. Let me know how you're doing. I worry, you know., with the author’s email address after her signature. It bugged me because a) I’m not interested in the whole feel-good, huggy nature of an author I don’t know personally “worrying” about me and encouraging contact beyond feedback regarding his/her work, and b) I’m well aware I’m reading a work of fiction and feel rather talked down to when reminded of how to practice certain things in real life. An author is not my parent, nor my partner, nor anyone else in my life I need dictating my actions, and so I started the story a tad resentful and annoyed.

However. The author’s words lingered in the back of my head, not necessarily those but the reminder at the start that this was compressed into a short time period like most romantic fiction. And every time I started thinking about how quickly Rebecca’s relationship with Logan was escalating – too fast for me to be entirely comfortable with, considering its BDSM nature – I heard that reminder, and the niggle of doubt went away. When I was done, I had completely forgotten my original annoyance until I went back to the beginning to start my notes for the purpose of this review, and I realized that it was because of that author’s note that I was able to enjoy the story as much as I did. Because it accomplished what I’m sure the author intended, and focused me on the escapism of the moment rather than the so-called reality of it. For that, I apologize for leaping to judgment too early.

So onto the story.

Rebecca is a professional woman who isn’t a stick figure, and though her boyfriend satisfies nearly all the checkmarks in her perfect partner column, their sex life is pretty sad. She fakes half her orgasms and has never been blown away, so when he tells her that he’s a part of this swingers club, she decides to go with him in hopes that it will spice things up. I’m not entirely sure why she’s so tolerant of only finding out about this now after they’ve moved in together, but I went along with it anyway since generally speaking, I liked her. She came across as genuine and smart, though I really questioned her taste in boyfriends. (This is the second boyfriend I’ve read recently who seems to be in love with calling the heroine “babe.” Ugh.) She’s quickly turned off by the sight of her boyfriend with another woman, and when she goes off in search of someplace else to sleep, she gets discovered by Logan. He takes her to his apartment to warm her up, and the attraction that had been simmering between the two heats up even more.

Logan is the one who introduces Rebecca to the notion that she has submissive tendencies, and he’s amazingly careful at introducing her to BDSM practices. It’s hot, though painstakingly orchestrated, and the two develop a real relationship within the confines of the compressed time period. I was really rooting for them, especially since I never understood her “real” boyfriend’s appeal. I encountered one small problem, though. Logan suffers from nightmares ever since his stint in Iraq. They’re so bad that he almost killed his brother once when his brother tried to wake him up. These nightmares stop Logan from thinking he’ll ever have another relationship. He just can’t trust himself around another person, and refuses to be responsible for hurting them. This needs to be overcome before he can commit to anything with Rebecca. Yet, the way it gets dealt with in the story made me feel cheated. To the author’s credit, she didn’t resolve it in the confines of that long weekend, but the manner in which it was handled felt too easy for the problem’s supposed depths. Her note gave me permission to excuse away the lack of realism in how quickly this BDSM relationship developed, but not in how swiftly his trauma was handled. Perhaps it’s my own experiences with personal traumas that color my reaction to this, but it ended up sucking away some of my pleasure in the last quarter, when I wanted – needed – to be swept up in the romance. It eventually turns this from an amazing read to one I just liked a lot, passionate and engaging for the duration of the weekend, not so much for afterward.


8/10 – Engrossing, though I started to drift a little toward the end


7/10 – I really liked him, but I just couldn’t get over how glossed over dealing with his trauma felt


8/10 – Warm and genuine

Entertainment value

8/10 – Surprisingly satisfying, and probably would’ve rated higher if it weren’t for my quibbles

World building

9/10 – All of the elements felt authentic…except for the trauma



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