I first noticed this book a while ago when it hit Fictionwise and I was immediately conflicted. Usually, if a blurb or an excerpt doesn’t appeal to me, I shrug and move on. But Ms. Joseph is a damn good writer, and her scene depicted in the excerpt stuck with me, bothered me, DISTURBED me.
I made at least two comments about what I read and they weren’t positive. Ms. Joseph’s story about Nell, a professional submissive, demands reaction from any reader. But I committed the fatal error of judging the story before I read it.
Luckily for me, Ms. Joseph is a Diva and participated in a topic about Dominants. Her opinions made me change my stance on her story and I decided to buy it. I read it all in one night.
Nell is a paid submissive for a BDSM club (no intercourse, but plenty of play) when she comes to the attention of Jeremy Gray, a movie star with plenty of baggage. The thing about this story that disturbed me was the fact that Jeremy seems to strip her of everything–manipulating circumstance to FORCE Nell to be his “paid assistant” (his submissive). But what I didn’t catch in the excerpt was that Jeremy read Nell perfectly.
As a Dominant, Jeremy spotted a submissive who craved the kind of dominance he gave her. I think if Nell had been a different kind of sub, his tactics would have been different. As it is, she is a perfect match for him–turned on by the power he uses and the demands he makes on her.
Ms. Joseph doesn’t cheat the reader and gives Jeremy’s point of view in all its conflict, selfishness and eventual falling in love. Don’t mistake me. Jeremy is a complete asshole. Like Nell, I squirmed and shifted when he treated her like an “object” , like she was a paid whore with no feelings. And like Nell, I understood his reasons. Someone who has the kind of fame and rabid attention Jeremy has might not be able to form normal and committed attachments.
Plus, Nell is no “sex object”. She is damn smart and it’s very clear why her kink is her kink. I absolutely love how Nell accepts her own weaknesses, how she doubts her ability to be a true submissive. I even came to like Kyle, a secondary character who seemed, in the beginning, to be unlovable.
There’s a scene that will haunt me forever. I don’t even want to write about it because, if you read it, it’s important that it surprises you. But let me say that my heart was ripped right from me and I felt Nell’s pain in a visceral and tangent way. That takes talent.
So, this is me eating crow. Ms. Joseph has written a book that made me squirm, made me laugh, made me want to cry, even made me angry. Her characters are vivid, REAL. She shows that she knows her stuff and that story trumps. Always.
In one part of the story, Ms. Joseph mentions the story of the Celtic goddess, Rhiannon, who fell in love and married a mortal king. Rhiannon’s son disappears and the goddess is blamed for his death by all of her kingdom. Her punishment is to drag a carriage, carrying people back and forth across the land. When her son is discovered alive and well, having been left in a field alone and discovered by a passing noble, Rhiannon forgives everyone who trashed her.
I can only hope that Ms. Joseph is a forgiving author and doesn’t hold my big mouth against me.
There’s depth to this story and Nell and Jeremy are worth delving into. This book has convinced me that I need to read all of Annabel Joseph’s books.
“Comfort Object” is a book that gave me everything I love in contemp BDSM—characters who leap off the page, hot, imaginative scenes and, most of all, deep, emotional connections that keep me on the edge of my seat. Like Nell herself, the story has layers and the relationships within the pages aren’t cut and dried. And like Jeremy, the book isn’t one that will fit in a box. Everything I believed about this story was proven wrong and I don’t mind admitting that the author has convinced me that EVERY hero can be lovable.
BUY IT HERE