This book covers so many emotions. Tymber Dalton nailed it.
- Review by Kazza K
I posted this review on GR ages ago and I kept meaning to post it here because I love it and I like to put my favourites on here -
I have wanted to read this book for ages, my new Kindle let me do just that. There were a myriad of reasons I wanted to read it, it sounded interesting and, for both personal and professional reasons, it seemed a must read. I can see from the comments that it can be a polarising experience, for me it was a beautiful book. The story outline has been well covered by others, this is my spin.
Yes, it is about BDSM, yes, it is erotic in content, yes, it is about a woman who has suffered past abuse, yes, it is about friendships. Most of all it is about love, deep, longlasting love and selfless sacrifice. Seth and Kaden's friendship has spanned 40+ years, which in and of itself is amazing, seeing how easily people can cast aside friends. Kaden has always been there for Seth, through 3 marriages/divorces, through the melt down of the construction industry, which affected Seth both financially and personally. So, Kaden has always been supportive, Leah has also been along for the journey for the last 20 years of her marriage to Kaden. She looked after Seth post hernia surgery, post marriages, she used to enjoy riding on the back of his bike, before one of Seth's wives made sure she took that pleasure away. Basically, crisis or not, Kaden and Leah were always there. Now Kaden is dying and Seth, although very unsure of his friends (Master/slave) lifestyle, is asked to step up to the plate, actually he is shown how and why he has to step up to the plate, then he truly understands what is required. He reluctantly, at first, takes the ball and slowly starts to run with it; and then continues; after a few doubts. It is beautiful how you discover that Kaden, though the materially and professionally successful one, has highly valued his friendship with Seth, Seth never asked for money, never expected Kaden, although a Lawyer, to handle divorces for him, he always saw Kaden as Kaden - his friend, not as a meal ticket or social ladder. As Kaden stated "he could be a bum and Seth would still love him as a friend," it was never about what he could get out of him. I loved seeing the relationship develop between Kaden, Leah and Seth as a caring, loving menage. I loved that Seth never thought that it was OK to just 'jump' Leah and have sex with her, she was his dearest friend's wife, and he had strong principals. As the story unfolds we learn that Leah has always loved Seth, he has "starred" in some of her naughtier fantasies, she never believed Seth's wives were right for him. Kaden made sure Seth knew this and that Kaden was more than OK with it. Seth needed to know this, hear this to start on the journey of creating a strong, physical/loving bond that Seth needed to have with Leah to keep her on an emotionally even keel. It was both a turn on and a frightening feeling for Seth to be desired by this (amazing) woman, he does not want it, though, at the expense of Kaden's life; it is handled tastefully.
I must stress there is a slow coming together for Seth with Leah. The sex is never gratuitous, the feelings the three have for one another are beautiful and heartfelt, it just felt right. Even though the subject matter is sad, death is never at the top of most people's to do list, it is not bogged down in misery or self pity. Seth has realistic moments of grief and confusion, Kaden is true to life in his characterisation, that he has to control everything to the end, and beyond; but in the nicest, most caring of ways. Seth is very much needed for Leah after Kaden's death, as is Leah for Seth, they are both losing a massive part of their lives and a huge hole is being left in their soles and psyche.
Here I would like to put my two cents worth in about concerns re: seeing BDSM as a cure for past abuse. This book obviously is not a psychiatrict or psychological manual, it is a fictional piece, but I have to say that it covers abuse, and the use of BDSM as a therapy, well. I do understand the dynamic of abused children/youths who are now adults, and there is no perfect model for how you deal with someone wading through this complex and far too common problem. Counselling, when you see the right person, and sometimes medication, can most certainly help people, but everyone is different. The BDSM in this book was on the lighter side and Ms Dalton addressed the fact that there are people who abuse the practice. However, Kaden was far from an abuser, he used routine and structure to help Leah's anxieties - an excellent practice. He also used other methods to help, such as swimming, emotional release, eg crying at appropriate times, and diversion. He learned all he could to help his wife, he knew her triggers better than others could have, as he loved her deeply. There is no investment like love to guide you. He made sure, while setting Seth up as Leah's new Master, that Seth learned all he could in a short timeframe to take over. Seth understood his best friend, also knew Leah, as much as one can not living with someone prior, and what he didn't know he would learn; as he, too, was emotionally invested, and was a good, caring man. Kaden ultimately left Leah in the right hands, a great sacrifice given the fact he was dealing with his own mortality. Excellent writing.
I liked who the "Reluctant Dom" was, it says so much when Tony has his first person chapter near the end. This book is not an easy read, the "heartbeat, Kaden's dying" eerily permeates most pages, but it is an honest, heartfelt read, one where you feel deeply for the characters. I must say I just loved Kaden, couldn't help it, and I really had such soft spots for both Seth and Leah as well. This book is not bogged down in the mire of death, rather it is about true love and enduring friendship, these are beautiful things. Thank you Tymber Dalton, The Reluctant Dom was a wonderful, heartfelt read