Review (+ a Giveaway): Letting Go by Maya Banks

Posted January 29, 2014 by Holly in Giveaways, Reviews | 12 Comments

Review (+ a Giveaway): Letting Go by Maya BanksReviewer: Holly
Letting Go by Maya Banks
Series: Surrender Trilogy #1
Also in this series: Taking It All
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: February 4th 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
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Series Rating: four-stars

In her sensational Breathless Trilogy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks tested the boundaries of desire. In her new trilogy, there’s only one thing left to do: cross them. And never have the consequences of erotic exploration been so irresistibly inviting, so shockingly intimate, and so totally unexpected…
Josslyn found perfection once, and she knows she’ll never find it again. Now widowed, she seeks the one thing her beloved husband couldn’t give her: dominance. Lonely, searching for an outlet for her grief and wanting only a brief taste of the perfection she once enjoyed, she seeks what she’s looking for at an exclusive club that caters to people indulging in their most hedonistic fantasies. She never imagined that what she’d find would be the one man who’s long been a source of comfort—and secret longing. Her husband’s best friend.
Dash has lived in an untenable position for years: in love with his best friend’s wife but unwilling to act on that attraction. He’d never betray his best friend. And so he’s waited in the wings, offering Joss unconditional support and comfort as she works past her grief, hoping for the day when he can offer her more.
When he finds her in a club devoted to the darker edges of desire, he’s furious because he thinks she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Until she explains in detail what it is she wants. What she needs. As realization sets in, he is gripped by fierce, unwavering determination. If she wants dominance, he is the only man who will introduce her to that world. He is the only man who will touch her, cherish her…love her. And the only man she’ll ever submit to.

I am not a big fan of BDSM. Though there are exceptions, I generally shy away from novels that center around that lifestyle. I have no problem if others want to indulge (in either the stories or the lifestyle), it just isn’t my cuppa. I said I wanted to read outside my comfort zone this year, however, so I decided to give this one a try.

Joss has spent the past 3 years mourning her late husband, who tragically died in a car accident. The veil of grief is finally lifting and she decides it’s time to get on with her life. She can’t mourn forever. She also can’t continue to deny parts of herself, like her need to be dominated. She decides to visit an exclusive, upscale BDSM club called The House to finally begin exploring the darker side of her sexuality. The last thing she could have anticipated happening was seeing her dead husband’s best friend, Dash, at the club. Or that he would hustle her out of the club like it was on fire. Mortified and confused, she allows him to take her home, expecting a lecture. Only Dash doesn’t want to lecture her (well, okay, he kind of does), he wants to dominate her.

Dash has been in love with Joss since the day he met her. It was hell being in love with his  best friend’s wife, but he kept his feelings hidden because he had too much respect for his best friend to make things awkward. In the years since his friend died, he’s been biding his time, supporting Joss while she grieved, waiting for her to be ready for him. Now that she seems ready to break out of her shell, he wants to be the one to pick her up.  He figures he’ll have to deny the dominate side of himself to be with her, but he knows Joss is worth any sacrifice…until he spies her at The House. He’s shocked to learn she’s always craved a dominant man and he wants to be the one to lead her into the lifestyle.  With the ghost of her husband between them, and the disapproval of their friends, can they weather the storm enough to find their way to a happily-ever-after?

This started out really strong. Joss accepting that she needed to move on with her life rang true to me. Three years is a long time to grieve for someone. That she would decide on the anniversary of his death to explore the parts of herself she’s been denying held a bittersweet irony. Her journey back to herself was one of the better parts of the book for me.

I felt Dash’s pain when it came to Joss. To be in love with your best friend’s wife? Ouch. Especially when said best friend dies and the woman you love mourns him for 3 long years. His struggle to overcome his insecurities about his place in Joss’s life since her husband is gone was realistic. I can see how the ghost of his best friend was between them.

What I found problematic were the BDSM aspects of the story. Dash didn’t read as a Dom to me. He may have dabbled in the lifestyle, but he didn’t come across as particularly dominating. She asked several times for him to take over her completely, in all aspects of her life (inside the bedroom and out). Yet he never did. There were times the sexual play got a bit kinky, but I didn’t consider what they did BDSM (though I will say, again, I am not an aficionado. You can take my opinion or leave it).

My other complaint is how disconnected the characters felt. I would have preferred to see more of Joss’s actual grieving and the part Dash played in helping her overcome it. They seemed very uneasy around each other in the beginning, almost as if they didn’t know each other well. Some scenes with them read like strangers finding their way. That didn’t ring true considering their history.

Though I had some problems with this, I am anxious to read the next story. It features Joss’s best friend and sister-in-law, Kylie and Dash’s business partner. The snippet in the back left me wanting more.

3 out of 5

Giveaway We have a print copy of Letting Go available to one lucky winner (US Only). Enter using the rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway

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This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


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12 responses to “Review (+ a Giveaway): Letting Go by Maya Banks

  1. Interesting.

    I actually prefer the idea of BDSM confined to sexy times rather than taking over the entirety of a couple’s life (I always wonder at the practicalities and feel that taking that outside the house is involving strangers who have not consented, but that’s just me), but I guess it depends on how the fantasy is written.

    I haven’t read anything by Ms Banks recently, though there probably are a couple of things in the TBR Mountain, but I remember liking the first of her Sweet books well enough.

    • I really struggle with the humiliation that often comes with tales of BDSM. I don’t find the degradation of women to be sexy. I know there are BDSM books written without the humiliation, but I’ve yet to read one that took the fun outside the bedroom.

      • I can’t take humiliation scenarios, period, no matter who’s the subject, and yeah, degradation doesn’t spell romance to me.

        I’m sure there are people for whom it hits all the right buttons, but I’m most absolutely not one of them.

  2. Kristine R

    I love all of Maya Banks books. She does BDSM themed books well. The House is owned by Damon Roche I think from the Sweet Series

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