Every now and then I like to stretch myself by reading something outside my norm. Sometimes it’s poetry, sometimes it’s a dense book about finance. This time it was Concubine, a male on male BDSM novel by my friend Jill Knowles.
While there was plenty of bondage and discipline, I don’t think S&M is an accurate descriptor. The emphasis was more on dominance and submission, and that’s where I had the most trouble with it. I just couldn’t quite accept that the sub in this relationship, a prince and a warrior, could happily be the sub, no matter how good the sex was. I’ve talked with Jill about this. I’m the only reader who has expressed having a problem with it, and since Jill did a fair amount of research on Stockholm Syndrome (and knows that some psychologists don’t believe in it) I’m inclined to think that this may be more my problem than a deficiency of the writing.
It was fascinating to watch how the author created a situation where romance developed between two people who were so very unequal in power. It’s rather disturbing since the story is told almost entirely from the sub’s point of view. Had I penned this tale, I would have done it very differently, but then it wouldn’t have been the same story. 🙂
And that’s why it’s good to read things that fall outside our comfort zones. They make us think, and squirm, and then think about why we’re squirming.
If you enjoy reading male/male romances, give this one a try. Many of the descriptions are richly textured, and some of the secondary characters are delightful.