- File Size: 2138 KB
- Print Length: 323 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Visconti Press (June 23, 2016)
- Publication Date: June 23, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01GKEOU4Q
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #736,295 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Constraint Kindle Edition
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I found Constraint to be beautifully written and a compelling story. Part of me is disturbed by it as well. Linnea goes from one captor, Alex, to another, worse captor, Klee, then back again, and now willingly kneels to Alex. One reviewer mentioned it would be interesting to have a book about Klee. To me, the only interest I would have in such a book would be if what Klee did to Linnea were done to Klee. Sure, he's the lesser of 2 evils, and he does a few things to indicate she's free to go when she returns to him. But even in fiction, relationships that begin with kidnapping don't sit right with me. Or perhaps it's when the fiction is as real as this feels that it's problematic? So much of the dub-con/non-con stuff that's around is so obviously fantasy and lightweight as far as the writing goes that I don't feel like I have to take it seriously. (I'm talking here about the stuff that has an HEA, as opposed to the stuff that's really far down the con to non-con continuum.) But Constraint feels so real to me, because of the writing.
Otherwise, I wish someone had done a better job with the proofing/line editing. I found it needlessly distracting at times. Also, it's very expensive, which probably contributes to its few reviews which I interpret as low sales.
Despite its initial premise, Constraint delivers if you are concerned with the mutual satisfaction of both characters. God, does it ever. I’ve seen several references to Stockholm Syndrome in reviews of this novel, here and elsewhere – the wearing down of a kidnapping victim’s resistance, their eventual identification and bonding with their captors. But I think that misses the point, in this case. It becomes apparent early on that Alex, the wealthy financial trader (no, this isn’t another billionaire erotic romance) who has desired Linnea for a decade after losing touch, actually gives her what has been missing from her meandering and unsatisfying, though in many ways successful, life, despite her anger and resistance.
Linnea is no submissive fragile flower, and the complex emotions she experiences, and her own ambivalence toward them, is what makes her and the novel appealing and unique. She is strong, mentally and physically, and she resists her situation – and yet she is powerfully aroused by it all. How will this contradiction resolve itself?
I was powerfully aroused as well. Constraint is an incredibly erotic novel, yet it approaches poetry in its delivery, in the pure skill of its writing, in its knowledge of the characters’ past experiences that make them attracted to this situation.
If dark erotica, realistically and beautifully written, is what gets you going, Constraint is the book you’ve been looking for. It is a masterpiece of its genre, by a truly gifted writer.
It's not perfect; there are some minor irritations in terms of editing problems but when a book is this good, they are easily overlooked. It's a vast canvas, filled with a myriad of kaleidoscopic events; some huge; mostly not, but all fitting together beautifully. The cement of an otherwise dull gray wall suddenly takes wings and breathes. Extraordinary. The detail is marvellous; I loved it.
The writing is beautiful; in places poetry, lyrical and melodic as only great writers can achieve. The tell-tale for me - was my reading aloud. That's when I KNOW. Constraint; does not constrain the reader. On the contrary; my mind was on overdrive with sensation.
"But he has stained her to the bone with their mingled desires, the games and rituals their natures decree— and more than that, deeper, to the heart, with himself, the color that is Alex, a dye richer and more precious than indigo. She stands, walks to him. Stops a pace away. “Alex, do you think you know me?” He gives a twisted laugh. “I don’t know. Do I?” And she says, “Yes,” and she thinks, you and no other. And she kneels to him, a gesture as sudden and graceful as a leopard folding her legs to come to rest, a falcon resettling her wings after a long flight."
Ousdahl, Siri. Constraint (Kindle Locations 4252-4256). Visconti Press. Kindle Edition.
The relationship between main protagonists - Alex and Linnea (Linn) - starts from what at first appears to be just a passing acquaintance of many years ago. More is revealed like the onion layers being exposed; one by one. There's so much to like about both of these characters, but also much to be concerned about. It's all so very fragile and easily broken. It's worrying for the reader, and I love it when a great writer has that ability. To worry me and make me think - deeply. Alex may just be one of the best Alpha’s I’ve come across. He has it all – almost.
I've never really felt the urge to ask an author anything specific about their writing, but I have a question for Ms. Ousdahl. How do you make your 'love scenes' (excuse the triteness) so lush and delicious between A & L; how did you put it all together like that? These scenes aren't 'free-standing' in my mind, as other authors make their scenes between lovers; here they’re part of a huge tapestry of scenes. Think Bayeux; linear but also not linear. They're part of everything else that's going on, and you'll have to read the book to understand what I mean. They do not individually - stand-out. They are out-standing within a complex story full of colour, depth and emotion all going on in the narrative.
I read a Review where the writer didn't enjoy the ending so much; thought it was too abrupt. While understanding what they meant, I believe it was the same Reviewer that said it could be because WHO wants a great story to EVER end? Not me. It wasn't abrupt imo; not at all. It was a beautiful ending; the right outcome for me. I felt satisfied at its conclusion, while feeling bereft that we were parting company. A Reviewer mentioned 'Klee' (a brilliant secondary character); that K could have taken a bigger role at the end. I'm relieved K didn't. K would make an interesting 'book', if the Author inclined to write it.
If you love abduction/kidnap/capture kink with a serious side order of non/dub-con, angst and lots of emotional roller coasting - read it. If you need a story to take you right along with it; in the mix, a fly on every wall - read it. You won't forget or regret it. ;-)
“But you know what I really missed?” he continues. “Everything. Yeah, my marks on you and the whips and ****ing you and the way you taste. And how ****ing beautiful you are when you’re tied up, and your courage. And the takedowns. And the books, the Indian takeout. The way you pull your hair back and stick a brush in to hold it when you’re painting. The way you laugh sometimes and I don’t know why. I love you, *that all*. I just wanted you to know."
Ousdahl, Siri. Constraint (Kindle Locations 4245-4248). Visconti Press. Kindle Edition.
* “…, that all” Should read ‘’…, that’s all’’ Or maybe not. Like I said, not a big distraction.