Control Paperback – Jan 3 2011
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'One of the best erotic-romances of 2009' Michelle Buonfiglio, Barnes and Noble (for The Things That Make Me Give In)
About the Author
Charlotte Stein has contributed to numerous erotic anthologies, and her own collection of short stories, The Things That Make Me Give In, is out now in Black Lace. She lives in West Yorkshire.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
I loved that the story took place in a bookshop that sold erotic novels, and that these inspired so much of the action. It felt very cheeky!
The only real downside of this novel, for me, is that I disliked Andy, one of the two men who apply to work at the bookshop, so much. Gabe grew on me, but Andy... did not.
Pick this one up to broaden your horizons beyond what's popular in current mainstream erotica!
I received this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Madison Morris's naughty bookstore, Wicked Words, seems a strange place for repressed Gabriel Kaufman to take up employment, especially when Madison's training techniques evolve to a kinky threesome with aggressive Andy Yarrow. But Gabriel is up for the training, and they all get a lot more than they bargained for.
'Control' is a novel full of kinky, naughty heat with a plot that grabs you from page one and doesn't let go until the very last satisfying sentence. 'Control' is sexy, funny, romantic, poignant, and always compelling. But it is the magnificent chemistry between her characters and the delicious interplay amongst them that makes Charlotte Stein's novel truly unstoppable. Absolutely a must read.
A first-person, almost stream-of-consciousness, narrative allows the reader to form a visceral connection with Madison our (anti)heroine. Unashamed of her sexuality, but unsure of her "feelings", Madison makes mistakes, lies to herself and is possibly the worst(or best, depending on ones proclivities) boss ever. Not-quite-torn between Gabe the submissive and Andy the aggressive, Madison explores the many aspects of control: taking it, losing it, and perhaps most pivotally relinquishing it. In agonizingly, pearl-clutchingly, sordid, graphic detail. I often find menage unbelievable, but in this novel the encounters with Madison, Gabe and Andy aren't an end unto themselves, they serve as a real catalyst for character/relationship development.
More D/s than BDSM, Control focuses on the emotional impacts rather than the commercial trappings of a "lifestyle", which was refreshing. Also refreshing, a dominant woman with real sexual agency.
Control is Madison's fumbling journey towards ecstasy and the resulting Happily Ever After, stripped of saccharine, was so rewarding. I loved it.
*I received a review copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review*
All of the sex was sort-of so-so for me. It was still well written, but I just didn't care for a lot of it. It's very filthy and pushes lots of boundaries, but who else could write sex almost cover to cover and have it all mean something so important.
Madison and Gabe are totally messed up characters. And we don't exactly know why. We get little teeny bits about their issues and we're left to infer the rest through the sexual activities. In this book, with this author, that totally works. Most of the Charlotte Stein books that I've read have been fun romps that are absurd and fun, this one was on the more sad side. So often I wanted to cover my mouth and cry and the characters just can't bring themselves out of their fears.
Gabe was sheltered and isolated as a child, but he's got a secret erotica/kinky addiction. For him, "...ordinary life is a privilege, not a right". Madison, I'm not too sure about. She's messed up, but we're not given too many details of why. I couldn't stop thinking about these two. I had no idea how they'd make it through and I kept feeling like it was going to be a very unfulfilling ending, but it all worked out beautifully.
One of the best things in the whole book:
"Don't live through me, don't wait for me to tell you exciting stories, before you go for it. You don't need someone to persuade you into exploring everything there is about yourself, and even if it scares you...even if you're terrified - and probably about all of the wrong things - it's still more bliss than whatever nothing you were living before."
Charlotte Stein so effortlessly grabs me and makes me see myself in each of her characters. I'm so happy to see them working through their issues and accepting themselves. This wasn't one of my favorites, but definitely a worthwhile read.