Sunday, July 15, 2012


AUTHOR: Delphine Drayden
Pages: 136 (approx)
Date: 15/07/2012
Grade: 4+
Details: Received from Carina Press
            Through NetGalley / Kindle

Camilla has been watching (or is it stalking?) her neighbour Ivan for a while now. Ivan is a scientist who lives for his research, goes through his daily routines on a strict and very predictable schedule, doesn’t appear to have a social life and seems ignorant to the fact that Camilla is an interested female.
When Ivan approaches Camilla with a request, it isn’t for the date she wouldn’t mind having with him. Instead he asks her for help. He is expected to go to an important fund-raiser for his work but hates events like that and is well aware that he is like a fish out of water when it comes to small talk and socialising.
When Camilla agrees to give him a few lessons in social niceties she sees it as a chance to get a bit closer to him, and although she tries to get him to pay attention to her while she’s teaching him, she doesn’t get her hopes up.
But, there are these small, almost hidden smiles she occasionally sees on his face. Do they mean anything? Could they mean that he might, after all, be noticing that she is a woman, or is she imagining things?
On a night out with friends, Ivan seems to change and when he asks her to let him be in charge, Camilla accepts, especially since she enjoys the feel of his hand on her legs.
What happens next is not something Camilla could ever have imagined. It turns out that Ivan doesn’t only need to be in charge of his life, he also needs complete control over his bedroom and the woman he takes there.
As Camilla is discovering a submissive side to herself she never knew she had she can’t stop her feelings for Ivan from deepening. But is this socially awkward man feeling the same, or is this only another experiment for him; one that will end when the fund-raiser has been dealt with?

This was a nice romantic story with interesting characters.
While Camilla is a more or less run of the mill girl, in love with an apparently unattainable man, Ivan makes for fascinating reading. As the reader learns more about him it becomes clear that he isn’t just socially awkward but may well suffer from some sort of autism like disorder. This is not something that is explored in any depth, but the suggestion is there and it gives the reader something to think about and adds an interesting dimension to the book.
Although there were times (early on) when I felt this was a bit of a silly story, I couldn’t stop myself from smiling and even softly laughing at times. Ivan’s apparent social inaptitude and the way Camilla reacted to it, was on several occasions very funny.
I enjoyed the way the reader has as little insight in what is going on with Ivan as Camilla had. I had my suspicions about the man, but as he keeps on surprising both Camilla and the reader this book is never as predictable as it could easily have been in the hands of a lesser author.

There are quite a few erotic scenes in this book as we follow Camilla’s introduction to the BDSM scene. But, this is more than just a book filled with erotica. Before we get to even the suggestion of intimacy the author has established the setting and the characters and by the time our two main characters do get together the reader is as eager for it as Camilla is.
The descriptions of Ivan and Camilla’s adventures in the bedroom, while steamy and sexy, are never offensive or even shocking. Yes, this is a book about a BDSM relationship, but first and foremost it is a book about intimacy, pleasure and two people getting together on a level they are both comfortable with.

I saw somebody describe this book as “the Big Bang Theory goes BDSM” and that is such a good description of this book that I just have to borrow it. How good a comparison this actually is may be demonstrated by the following quote:

“To me, all this is just a way to experiment with our own bodies and minds. To test the boundaries of what we can do with ourselves, what we’re willing to do. A chance to be both observer and subject.”

Overall I’d have to conclude that for me this was a nice, easy to read, at times funny erotic romance. One that may well lead to me checking out other titles by this author.

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