Sunday, September 30, 2012


Pages: 416
Date: 30/09/2012
Grade: 5
Details: # 2 Original Sinners
            Received from Mira/Harlequin
            Through NetGalley

What to say? There is so much wrong with this story and yet this is such a wonderful book, I just don’t know where to start. I’m afraid that summarizing the story may put people off this book just because of the various taboos it tackles. And yet, allowing preconceived ideas of how people should behave and act to stop you from picking up this book – or its prequel, "The Siren" – would mean missing out on a very well written and fascinating story. Here is what it is all about:

Nora Sutherlin, author of explicit erotica and accomplished dominatrix has been back with her Master and long-time lover Sǿren for over a year, delighting in the way her sadistic Priest hurts her while yearning quietly for Wesley, the young man she sent away because she couldn’t return his need for a vanilla relationship. When Sǿren’s name appears on a short-list for a potential promotion to Bishop, Nora needs to disappear from his life while an investigation into his life and suitability for the job is being conducted. Nora will spend the summer with Griffin Fiske, a very rich, uncomplicated and carefree man with a penchant for short and steamy love-affairs. Travelling with Nora is Michael, the “Angel” from the title. Seventeen years old, Michael is a troubled young man. After discovering his need for pain and domination as a younger teenager he tried to kill himself when he was 15, convinced that he was abnormal and unworthy. After Father “S” saved Michael’s life he took the young man under his wing and this summer will be Michael’s introduction into the world of kink and life as a submissive. When Michael and Griffin meet sparks fly, but an order from Sǿren as well as the younger man’s insecurities combine to keep them apart. And Sǿren and Nora have more to worry about than just his possible promotion to Bishop. A journalist called Suzanne, on a quest against Catholic priests who she blames for the death of her brother, is determined to dig up and expose the dirt on the Priest. This will be a summer during which all these characters will have to face up to their feelings, their own needs and those of others.

I’m sure there will be a lot of people out there who will consider this story, or at least parts of it, blasphemous. I mean, for starters there is the Catholic Priest who is also a sadist and in a dubious (to put it mildly) relationship with an erotic author. Some of the characters are so young that it makes you shudder to think about them being exposed to all the kink described in these pages. And yet, for me, the story worked. While the characters in this book may live a life-style which is completely foreign to most of us they are all fascinating and completely convincing as well as impossible to dislike. The dialogue in this book sparkles, the characters come to life and their issues are recognisable, even if the context might be foreign to us.

What I really like about this book, apart from the characters, the story and the steamy scenes, is that we are getting to know more about the background of all the main characters. Through the investigation conducted by Suzanne and the bits of information other characters share with each other we get a much better idea about who these people are, what they are feeling and what motivates them.

This is an amazing book. Yes, it is an erotic piece of fiction and quite graphic and unorthodox at that, but it is so much more. In this book the sex comes with a real and intriguing story. There is the threat of exposure for Sǿren’s inclinations and his relationship with Nora but that doesn’t really take centre stage. This story is about the characters and the (internal) conflicts they are dealing with. It is about Michael having to come to terms with the fact that he likes to be submissive and hurt, it is about Nora coming to terms with having lost Wesley, about Suzanne coming to terms with the loss of her brother and it is about all of them learning that in order to live an honest life you have to be true to yourself and your needs.

Today I discovered that Tiffany Reisz’s website offers several free short stories all featuring characters from this series. The stories take place prior to events in “The Siren” but come with the advice to not read them until you’ve read that book. I haven’t yet had the time to do more than discover those stories but am delighted that I will be able to read more about Nora, Sǿren and all the others in the time between now and November, when “The Prince”, the next book in this series is due to be published.

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