As She's Told - Anneke Jacob My bottom line for this book was not that the lifestyle was too extreme for me to appreciate. It was that the depiction of the lifestyle and the relationship between the couple failed to communicate a great deal of erotic passion. Once in a while Jacob allowed her characters to express their pleasure, especially at the beginning of the story, but it was all too brief and (for the most part) not richly described. Perhaps Jacob wanted her audience to feel as frustrated as her 'heroine.' That was certainly the case. In my opinion, the lengthy descriptions of the minutiae of the kink flipped the switch from titillating to tedious before half of the book was read. The writing was elaborate but, on balance, cold.

As to the story, there isn't much of an emotional arc either because from the beginning, Maia, the female lead, stood ready and eager for anything Anders, her master, could dream up to dish out. She reminded me of an Helena looking for a Box (or maybe Total Recall's Kuato in need of an obliging torso). That, in and of itself, would have been okay if the emotions and enjoyment of both parties had been more of a focus. The only real arc in the story is that in which Maia starts out thinking her kink is about sex but "discovers" that it's not all that important to her. No matter how you slice it, there is just no way to conclude that Maia's lifestyle is sexual from her perspective. And Anders' sexual enjoyment, considering the way he has arranged matters, ends up being the real abuse in the story.

Jacob, and her characters, are obviously smart, which I appreciate. But even in that area, the esoteric references were so prevalent as to tip into arrogance. I liked Anders and Maia and, where it happened, their connection and pleasure was somewhat enjoyable to read. It just got drowned out by the mundane (and Anders' rather inexplicable attitude toward Maia's pleasure). I'm sure the threat of the mundane is a danger in real life kink, but it's not what I want to read about. I guess I'm not as willing to be thwarted as Maia. I need my erotica to have more climax.

A final thought... If the pure physicality of Total Power Exchange (strictly a description of bondage...not sex) is of interest to you, you might enjoy this story more than I.