Book 1 in the Finding Anna series
This book is, by far, my favorite BDSM story ever. Every page was emotional, filled with caring and compassion, uncertainty and thoughtfulness, fear and love. It was incredibly powerful, extraordinarily moving, touching and deep. So many times you go into a book expecting one thing and getting another – getting something more than you ever counted on or expected. I was looking for a good read when I pressed the ‘buy’ button on my Kindle. What I got transcended the realm of good books and transported me to the world of soul-searching, thought-provoking reading.
A quick recap of the plot before I once again decide to rave about the beauty of this book. Stephan is CEO of a non-for-profit, a caring friend, and a Dom – without a sub. Daren, a friend from college, asks to meet him for lunch one day to discuss ‘something serious’. A fellow Dom, Daren asks Stephan to help a girl in trouble - by buying her. The girl, Brianna, is a slave but Daren doesn’t believe she serves Ian (her current Master) willingly. Stephan is conflicted, but his desire to help a girl in trouble wins out and he goes and buys her immediately (*shudders* what a scary scene). Stephan has major issues buying a person, but knows there’s no other way to get her out of Ian’s clutches. He hopes, when he takes her away from Ian, things will be easier. However nothing is easy with Brianna. She hardly speaks and is emotionally damaged beyond belief. The question is – can this Dom help her regain any sense of self, and heal her tortured, battered mentality? He can, and will, try.
What I loved so much about this book was how it showed the true role of a Dom. Society focuses on the brutality of BDSM relationships, and the violence. They use that to label the subs as abused, insecure individuals with Stockholm syndrome or the like, and the Doms as cold-hearted, pleasure-seeking, power-hungry abusers. Anyone who reads this book and truly takes its messages to heart can clearly see how wrong that assessment is. Everything Stephan does, he does thinking of Brianna and how it will affect her - how he can help her. This book so clearly revealed the love, the caring, the tenderness involved in a healthy BDSM relationship. Stephan abandoned his own needs, wants, and desires throughout the entirety of the book, acting solely on what Brianna needed to heal. It’s very clear he doesn’t abuse her, and as her Dom is looking for her to heal, not for his own pleasure. That is what it means to be a Dom, and Hayes revealed that beautifully through Stephan’s patient consideration and thoughtfulness.
This book is written in first person, alternating between Brianna and Stephan’s POVs. Though I am not a fan of first person, it really worked for me in this book. I liked being privy to the thoughts of both so I could get a full, complete picture of the emotions and motivations of each character. It also gave further evidence to Stephan’s caring and to Brianna’s need for his kindness. Hayes writes a captivating, compelling tale as I watched both Stephan and Brianna struggle. A testament to Stephan’s love of Brianna is that he never gave up on her or lost his temper, even though I imagine it would’ve been very difficult not to. He ignored his own frustration in favor of helping heal her brokenness, and undergoes pain of his own for her as he watches her fear and mistrust. Used to trained subs that fully trust him, I’m sure dealing with Brianna was very hard on him and it made my heart ache that he worked so hard to make her happy. Brianna’s point of view was equally captivating, as we watched her go through nightmares, phobias, embarrassment, terror, confusion, apathy, hopelessness and hope. She was so sweet, so fragile and delicate, and so perfectly sad. It was heart-wrenching to read about her, all she went through, and all she keeps going through – the nightmares she has to relive. It made it all the more splendid to see how infinitely careful Stephan was with her.
Hayes fully introduces the reader to the softer, kinder, sweeter side ofa BDSM relationship that society often disregards or refuses to see. I shall conclude my review by saying that I have never waited in greater anticipation for the next book of a series to come out (except perhaps Harry Potter?) and I pray Hayes will write quickly.
Also, please read this blog posting, written by Ms. Hayes. It's a beautiful, yet fairly concise, explanation of how being bound can be freeing: Freedom
“Sexy”ness rating: Low (I know, it’s a BDSM but it’s low. They never went beyond kissing)
Overall Rating: A to A+
Bottom Line: This book was eye-opening, showing the beauty and love of a BDSM relationship and the gentle, thoughtful nature of a true Dom as he takes care of his sub.
Published: July 28, 2011
Genre: BDSM ROMANCE (not erotica really)