Author: Alexis Hall
Cover Artist: Simone
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 06/01/2015
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
Genre: BDSM, Contemporary, M/M Romance
Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.
Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.
Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.
The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.
It can’t be real.
First of all, let me say I loved this new release from Alexis Hall. So why am I not awarding For Real, 5*?
For me this novel is a paradox – I love it, but some aspects don’t work for me and yet the bits that don’t work make me love For Real, in a different way…
It is easier to begin with what I love about this story of a May to December relationship. For Real revolves exclusively around two characters Laurence Dalziel, a thirty seven year old trauma consultant, an Oxford man through and through, and Toby. Toby is nineteen, intelligent, neglected by parents and adored by his ‘Granddad’. Their route to each other, initially, is the need /desire in one to submit through BDSM and the desire in the other to Dominate through BDSM. In both, this desire is restricted mainly, to sex.
Being Alexis Hall, he reverses the obvious dynamic, and gives us an adorable, fearless teenage Dom with acne, and a self-possessed, wealthy, older Submissive. The writing, as always, is exquisite and this author never fails to include pithy, perceptive observations on life, which almost have me gasping from the truth behind them.
Granddad’s resting at the moment. He sounds all wheezy, but not like he’s in pain, and I kind of find myself breathing along with him, like I’m helping or something.
Half-naked always felt so much more naked than naked.
Plus, the obvious 🙂
…Mary Berry who is like the best person ever.
There are many wonderful observations in this novel. I didn’t cry, but very near the end I let out a spontaneous painful sob. All I will say is that it related to ‘Frog’, and the pain of that sob has stayed with me.
The author’s attitude and approach to BDSM is very believable, and again very Alexis Hall. I love the ‘make do’ elements, which highlight the psychology and joy behind the BDSM scenes rather than the paraphernalia. One very successful scene, regarding a Lemon Meringue pie, is very inventive and sexy. I am going to steal the recipe as well
I hope the review reveals how much I love this book. Now the hard bit – the negative parts that removed that half star – for me. I completely believed in Laurie as a submissive. The psychology of a person in a high stressed ‘life and death’ job desiring to submit and let go – it all felt right almost visceral.
I loved Toby, as a character, he was adorable in his teenage – ness, but I couldn’t believe in him as a Dom, and I feel bad for Toby saying that. I respect what the author was saying and trying to do, but Toby felt too much like a ‘baby-Dom’ for it to feel like true sexual domination. Having said this – there is a ‘flogging’ scene towards the end that really did work for me, and did have me believing that Toby would grow into his dominance.
My last negative observation is that for the first time, in my opinion, there were too many superlatives and adjectives. Alexis Hall’s writing really comes into its own when he picks just that right word, or phrase, to decimate the reader. In some parts, I felt awash in the descriptions of emotion and feelings and (for me!) it kept some of the BDSM aspects from being sexy or truly emotional.
Rather than a BDSM novel – For Real is a love story – with BDSM. I am dying to read it again so what does that say…? I told you a paradox.
This novel has actually caused me to have an epiphany regarding my rating of books 😉
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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