Dark Secret Love: A Review

Wow, the blog has strayed far from its original purpose, hasn’t it? Look at what my About section says: ‘I blog not only about my fiction, but also about the things that matter to me, both in the bedroom and out of it.’ My life in the bedroom is supposed to be secondary to my writing, and somehow it’s become the main focus. This isn’t leading to some big conclusion, or change of direction, it’s just a reminder to myself that the people in it are real and I should go steady here with what I write about them.

Anyyyway … this post is more about me doing something I’m uncomfortable with – reviewing someone else’s writing. I haven’t written a book review since I was in school, and honestly? I don’t really know where to start. Especially because, when it comes to erotica, I don’t always read chronologically, and some bits get, erm, much more read than others. But I do think it’s important. The erotica market, in the UK at least, feels to me like it’s in a bit of a mess at the moment, and surely if women want to see a range of high quality, well-written erotica, then we actually have to talk about the stuff we’ve enjoyed and recommend it to others.

Starting with something based on someone’s real life experiences seemed a good place to start – after all, it’s something I think I understand the motivation for. And the other thing I loved about Alison Tyler’s Dark Secret Love? The heroine has agency.

I think that’s a bigger deal than it might seem at first. I plan to review much more of what I read here, and I have no intention at all of comparing everything back to FSoG. But it’s worth doing here. In FSoG, Ana doesn’t have any submissive desires of her own – she desires Christian, and she wants to be sub because that’s what he wants.

Although in the UK edition, Black Lace have tried to suggest otherwise with the cover (‘It’s ok, bashful ladies, this is just a book about a rich guy with nice ties, nothing to be ashamed of’), there’s none of that in Dark Secret Love – Sam, the heroine, is very much submissive by her own choice.

The other thing I really liked is that she’s fundamentally monogamous. If you put FSoG and all its spin offs to one side, it can sometimes feel like erotica is dominated by people who are polygamous, and that, if you really love sex, you have to be having it with more than one person. Dark Secret Love proves that that’s just not true. Monogamous but filthy? Yep, that’s totally a thing.

For me, the only downside was that the type of BDSM Sam is into is the formal kind: whips, canes, spanking … whereas the type that gets me off tends to be more about psychological domination. That’s very much a personal thing, and if you prefer the former, there’s no doubt that this is a very hot book.

In the introduction, Alison writes: ‘This is meta-fiction, beta-fiction, masturbatory fiction.’ For me, it wasn’t the last of those, not quite. But for a lot of people it will be, and it’s good to know that Alison is happy for you to use it for that purpose.

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