Disclaimer: I am friends with the author; however, I purchased this novel at full price.
This was my second official foray into the erotica genre–this time, without the cushion of the paranormal to root me in something familiar! I also normally stay far, far away from novels where the protagonist is also an author. However, a conversation with author Rachell Nichole convinced me to give her book a shot.
I have not read any of the Fifty Shades books, but I’ve had enough conversations with fellow authors to be wary of the author’s depiction of the BDSM subgenre (mental and emotional abuse aren’t sexy, kids). Nichole told me that in a way, To Sir was her reaction to that craze.
The main female protagonist, author Elizabeth Clark, is NOT a wish-fulfillment stand-in for author Rachelle Nichole. Instead, Clark initially follows a journey that perhaps another erotica author should have taken in researching her own BDSM fiction. Nichole does not shy away from showing us the realities of the subculture, including the not-so-sexy bits. Instead of a rich businessman with questionable ethics, the male protagonist (Chase Masters) of To Sir is a small business owner struggling against the other side of the Fifty Shades craze–the vocal minority who believe that no sex should be fun.
The initial clash between Clark and Masters is delightful, and the growing relationship, and then romance, between them is cleverly played out among both external and internal conflicts for the characters. Nichole lets her readers visit the inside of both character’s heads in such a way that both sides of the relationship are portrayed equally, along with subtly educating readers that both sides of a BDSM are equal.
The ending is one that many readers probably see coming from about halfway through the book, but definitely in such a way that we are pleased to be proven right rather than disappointed by any use of cliche. I’m actually looking forward to eventually re-reading this novel for the story line alone, and not just for the excellent steamy bits.
I highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a quality representation of BDSM erotica, regardless of whether you have personal experience with the lifestyle or are just interested in educating yourself. This novel treats the culture with respect and intelligence rather than exploiting misinformed public stereotype.
Rating: 4.5 (out of 5) stars.