Being a successful owner of a magazine, Natalie is a professional when it comes down to take control, including her bed partners. This makes her partners uncomfortable and as they run away as fast as possible, it leaves her unsatisfied. It isn’t until Natalie talks to one of her friends, she’s let in on a secret to get a better sex life: Haven of Obedience – a club specialised to teach its students how to be submissive.
Let it be a warning to all of you: whenever you come across a book saying “Devoured Fifty Shades? You’re now ready to enter the…Haven of Obedience” and you also come across a sticker saying “buy one, get one half the price” – I hope it alarms you to never, ever buy that book! There’s a reason why this book was half the price and needed stickers saying Fifty Shades.
I would have been able to live with the bad writing skills if the basic idea of BDSM had been explained correctly. However, that was not the case and ruined everything. I don’t intend to say I’m an expert, which I’m not. Far from even but I would expect a club like Haven not to jump to conclusions on what one might (dis)like. The club assumes that everyone checking in for a course is a natural submissive. They don’t check for hard limits nor give a chance to discuss on a safe word. Which is so fundamentally wrong in so many ways that it not only made me annoyed throughout the story, it made me even angry that someone wrote within this genre and not have their basic facts right. A lot of things felt forced and not at all consensual and I always thought, within this kind of lifestyle everything has to be consensual? If things in reality are different, I pardon myself but based upon reading this genre quite often, I can assure you the author lacks fundamental knowledge of this genre.
Without going too much into this, I also hated how Marina Anderson literally forced her readers to accept a relationship that is non-existent. There is no lead that might suggest there’s something going on unless you follow Natalie blindly and thoughtlessly without having your own opinion. Apparently, she sees things I never noticed. Simon ignores all personal insinuations Natalie makes by changing subjects or by simply ignoring her. If that’s not the biggest hint he doesn’t care then I don’t know. Yet, somehow, you are forced to believe it even if it’s the most ridiculous assumption in the book. There was nothing between them and the whole book even focused on nothing but sex. Then please don’t force a “love” relationship upon your readers. I never felt connected to them, not once.
On that note, I’m going to leave this as it is. I’m a strong believer that once you decide to write in a specific genre, you are aware of what is expected from you in order to make it work. If you can’t accomplish this (it’s like writing Harry Potter without there ever being magic) it’s not worth reading. I can only ask for authors to make their homework first before they decide to write within a certain genre because making fundamental mistakes will ruin everything!