Thursday, April 5, 2012

Review- What the Mistress Did by Anya Delvay

What the Mistress Did
By Anya Delvay
Oct. 25, 2011
Historical/ Erotica/ f/f, m/f, f/f/m
45.8K words
Publisher: Samhain

Buy it Samhain, Amazon, B&N, ARe 

Oh, the delicious peril of deception…

Lady Marianne Gillingham has no intention of ending her affair with David Dunscombe, Earl Harrington, despite his pending nuptials. She craves his attentions, and he satisfies her deepest yearnings.

Yet, when his fiancée, the sweet, innocent and oh-so-very young Annabelle Frazier, appears on her doorstep to demand the end of the association, Marianne realizes she does not wish to be second in David’s affections. She also cannot resist issuing a warning. The earl will bed his wife with tedious regularity, but never reveal his more unusual desires.

To Marianne’s amusement, her prediction comes true, with a surprising twist. The countess is back with a new demand: repair the problem her prophetic words created. Taking pleasure in imagining the other woman’s fear and horror, Marianne rekindles the affair to demonstrate exactly how to fulfill David’s lascivious desires—while Annabelle secretly watches from the shadows.

She never expected Annabelle to prove so resilient and surprisingly easy—not to mention delicious—to corrupt. Or that the ensuing erotic tangle would be impossible to put right without heartbreak.

What a treat this book was. First, it’s extremely well written erotica. Written in first person present tense, the thoughts and feelings of the main character, Marianne, are deeply nuanced and expressed in a gorgeous way. Second, it’s a rare femdom D/s, BDSM story, which I like to read if well done. Third, it’s a historical f/f/m, which is also hard to find. What the Mistress Did was an all-around great read for me and lucky find.

The characters:

Marianne is an intriguing and complex character. I love getting in the head, very easy to do with first person present tense, of a character like her. On the surface she likes being in control of her relationship with David. She controls their sexual encounters and she knows he loves her. She’s a widow and doesn’t want to marry again, although it seemed any possibility of marriage was blocked from David’s side. When he becomes betrothed to Annabelle, Marianne knows they will not be able to continue, but deep down she’s not ready to settle on that idea yet.

When Annabelle shows up at her doorstep stating that David will be hers soon and that he won’t be coming around anymore, this becomes a challenge to Marianne to keep seducing and using her power over David. She’s not a generally good person on the surface, being deceptive and conniving and rather cool. However, as the story progresses and we get more insight into what Marianne is feeling and thinking, it’s clear that Marianne is an extremely passionate woman and she has deep, strong feelings of pain and conflict about her love of David and knowing that she will never totally be his. She’s also that rare self-reflective character who has a lot of insight into her own psychological motivations and takes responsibility for who she is. I liked that.

Marianne’s relationship with David: They have a rather complex relationship. It’s clear that they enjoy each other and he comes to her for comfort in a sexual way, although it seems more than just a sexual thing for him by their interactions. When they have sex, often Marianne won’t have an orgasm and it’s controlled but very intense sex they have at times.

I don’t know what David really feels because we don’t get into his head, but it seems that he’s not too clear how things will go once he’s married. He seems willing to let Marianne go on the surface, but keeps coming back.

Marianne’s relationship with Annabelle: Anabelle asks for help in pleasing David since she gets he doesn’t love her like he does Marianne. Marianne finds herself feeling strongly attracted to Annabelle as she teaches Annabelle about her body, what sex and orgasms feel like and how to please a man. They start a very erotic sexual affair on the side without David knowing. Over and above that, Marianne has Annabelle secretly watch through a screen when David comes to visit Marianne. It’s interesting that Marianne becomes more turned on by the idea of thinking about Annabelle watching, and fantasizes about sex with her when she’s with David.

Annabelle for her part grows and changes over the course of her interactions with Marianne. I loved her innocence and total trust and openness towards Marianne who in turn responds to that in deeply loving way.

It all culminates when David comes for a last visit and Marianne blind folds him, and she has Annabelle participate. The reaction to the deceit is interesting.

I think in most situations readers will not like the deceit part. But this is erotica, not romance, per se; it’s more about how these three people relate to each other within the sexual realm only. I felt a lot of love and passion from all of the characters was amply expressed, which actually made this story a much more positive experience.

The ending was my only complaint. Of course my expectation in erotica of an HEA or HFN is not there. However, it’s always a nice touch. In this case I felt the ending was appropriate to the people involved, but…they, all three, had an amazing chemistry, both in love and sex. I’ll leave it at that.

What the Mistress Did is a definite recommend from me. I would love to read some more (f/f, f/f/m) from this author.

Heat Level: 5  D/s, BDSM, Flogging, anal (f to m), Strap on- graphically expressed sexual situations.

Grade: Loved it!