Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Something Unexpected By: Miranda Heart
Title: Something Unexpected
Author: Miranda Heart
Publisher: Freya's Bower
Reviewed By: Emily Ryan Davis
Score: 4 out 5
“Something Unexpected” is an erotic historical BDSM romance novella (how’s that for a descriptor?) set in the Marquis de Sade’s France. Isn’t every erotic historical BDSM romance novella set in de Sade’s France, you ask? Yeah, I was a little dubious myself. I persevered, however, and am glad I did. The book blurb does not do the tale justice.
At night, Beatrice fantasizes not about her husband to be, but instead about the Marquis’ rumored “adventurous” proclivities. She craves something more than a traditional grandmother’s bride’s bed, and sets out to obtain it before she law and propriety tie her down (no pun intended). Beatrice arranges an opportunity to express her desires to the Marquis, who, with his own motives in mind, agrees to an assignation. The evening with the Marquis leaves her unfulfilled (read it yourself to find out why; true to the title, it’s something unexpected), but the story itself leaves neither Beatrice nor the reader wanting.
Ms. Heart has a good story in “Something Unexpected.” It’s not a perfect work, however. I am not a fan of scenes wherein the heroine masturbates, especially not when she’s doing it as part of a fantasy. I always find myself scoffing and thinking, “That’s not the way I do it.” (But maybe I’m doing it wrong?) Masturbation habits are only a minor thing, though. I’m more of a language person, and I found the language in “Something Unexpected” rough and unsophisticated in places, but in others, the author’s potential for a great handling of words manages to shine through.
The “good story” part shows up in what actually happens to the characters, and between the characters. Ms. Heart packs a wealth of emotional change into “Something Unexpected,” and she successfully nails Beatrice’s insecurity where insecurity should be, fear where fear should be, uncertainty and second-thoughts where they should be. Perhaps more important, however, is that she infuses the hero with the ability to provide reassurance, display strength and harbor concern - all three qualities necessary to distinguish a lovingly dominant man from a carelessly or abusively dominant man.
“Something Unexpected” really is a romance, and not erotica. We don’t see boy and girl meet, but we do see them through a convincing dark moment and a convincing emotional commitment to one another. What I loved about “Something Unexpected,” that had me teary at the end? Beatrice’s hero promises to be everything she never knew she wanted in a man, and everything she thought she would only ever have through secret liasons. She found somebody who completes her.
Love makes me weepy.
In a less powerful, less original story, my nitpicks would have made me a more harsh critic. “Something Unexpected” gets a 4 out of 5 based on the strength of the story itself, the author’s premise (which promised to be unique after all!), and its capacity to make me really stop and think about why it worked.
Posted by Miranda Heart ::
6:40 PM ::
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