He pushes her sexual boundaries . . . From the moment waitress Karina meets him in a New York bar, she knows James is different. Daring. Dominating. Though he hides his true identity from her, the mysterious, wealthy businessman anticipates her every desire and fulfills her secret fantasies. Awakened by his touch, Karina discovers a wild side she hadn’t known existed and nothing is off limits.
She aches for more . . . What begins as an erotic game soon escalates to a power play that blurs the line between pleasure and pain. Even as she capitulates to James’s sensual demands, Karina craves more. She wants his heart, his soul. She wants his love . . . and she’ll break all the rules to get it.
It’s a game, right? That’s all it is. It’s fun and it’s a great way to break up the boring nature of her life. Her roommate is a rock star fan, grieving over the end of the career of her favorite rock singer. But for Karina, meeting this mysterious stranger, a man who has been kind, who has begun to fascinate her, that is far more fun than going to fan club meetings or spending hours gushing over the end of some rocker’s career. Yet for Karina this gradually become more than a game, as “James” as he asks her to call him, ups the ante and thus the title, Slow Surrender. Karina isn’t into the BDSM stuff, or at least she isn’t into what she believes that lifestyle embraces. But James continues to fascinate her and slowly wraps her in his attention, the little things he does to make her feel safe and cherished, and the fact that he slowly increases his demands upon her as their sexual relationship begins to mature and grow. This is a fascinating story of one man’s seduction of a young woman who is clearly “out of his league” but who really begins to respond to him and care about him apart from his wealth and influence. It is also Karina’s story, a woman who is truly hungry for something more in her life, who wants to be loved and cherished and supported so that she can move beyond mere survival.
Ms Tan has always written stories that are really “on the edge” and this novel is no exception. I really don’t take on serialized stories very often because I get truly frustrated when we have to wait months and months to read the next episode. When I was growing up we had serials in the movies and on the radio and TV. But you only had to wait a week for the next bit of the story. Not so usually in the publishing world. And while it may make for a hefty bottom line for the publisher and author, it is the pits for us readers. Yet I am not sorry I have read this story in particular. I just wish I could have waited to start it when the other parts of the story were available. That being said, this is a powerful tale that isn’t all that overtly BDSM-related, but it is clearly about a Dominant who knows that Karina is searching and knows that she is a sexual submissive. It is also about a man whose privacy and the protection thereof has become obsessive and while he demands Karina’s trust, he is not willing to reciprocate in kind. That’s tacky on his part, but perhaps we readers will understand that better when we know more of his story. As it is, we are left to draw conclusions about “James” based on very little information, and it is only as this episode draws to a close that the reader is given a few additional tidbits. One really wonders if James’ obsession with privacy will win out in the end.
This is a wonderful character study that reads like a mystery and romance all mixed together. For Tan fans it will be great, while others who have not read her work are, I think, in for a treat. I am anxiously awaiting the continuation of Karina and James’ story.
I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.