Run to You by Charlotte Stein
Rating: No Rating
Alissa Layton leads a dull and ordinary life, safe in routines, with no plans to escape. But when she meets businessman Janos Kovacs, and is introduced to his kinky lifestyle, Alissa’s entire world changes…
She uncovers a hidden world of secret assignations and kinky meetings between like-minded high fliers at an exclusive hotel. But the businessman Alissa spies on seems far too handsome, sexy and worldly for someone like her, and he’s into the kind of things she’s not sure she can do.
Janos Kovacs has spent so long indulging in emotion-less dalliances that he’s forgotten what real passion is. But the more time he spends with Alissa, the less control he has over himself. By the time he’s finished teaching how deliciously naughty sex can be, he might be the one learning the lessons …
This is a hard to rate book for me. Because it’s a good book. In fact it’s a lot better than a lot of exploratory BDSM books I’ve read. I have to give it a lot of props. It’s sexy and well written. It explores the feelings behind the heroine’s discovery and her growth as a character. It’s a fascinating character study.
And that’s the problem for me. It’s so much a character study, and that’s just not what I’m looking for right now. We’re so deep into Alissa’s (I think that’s her name, we’re in her head so much we barely know) thoughts, emotions, and feelings that I’m having trouble pulling out the story.
Because what I want right now is a romance. Pure and simple. I think there’s probably a great romance in this story somewhere, but we’re buried in Alissa, and her journey, that I’m not sure I can see it. I can’t see enough of the hero to follow along, and – no matter Alissa’s growth – her responses to his callous and disregarding actions makes her seem like too much a doormat. That probably changes by the end of the book, so I don’t really hold it against her (or the book), but it’s hard for me to read.
I spent a lot of years being a doormat for a man. He conditioned me that way – to always look towards pleasing him, to always structure my life to his wants, needs, and whims. Alissa consistently says that she can’t possibly know his thoughts, or responses, because he’s so self-contained, but she constantly makes assumptions about what he’s really feeling.
Like, he had sex with her, then before she even turned around walked out and left. But he must really be having some incredibly strong, unsettling feelings for her that he just can’t deal with and that’s why he left. Yeah, he probably is, because this is a romance, but honestly. Actions speak. Listen to them. Listen to the words he speaks. LISTEN.
This review makes me sound more frustrated than I am. I’m not. I think this book is an excellent look at one woman’s journey to self-discovery and empowerment (probably). And I was (mostly) enjoying myself while reading it. It is fascinating. But it’s not what I need or want right now.
I’m going to leave a star rating off because I feel any rating I give it would be disingenuous.