Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Dark Collector by Vanessa North
Jeffrey Kuyper was a once-in-a-generation talent and I was his muse.
Jeffrey's death shocked the art world and upended my life. His last portrait is an intimate reminder of our final weeks together. Now it's up for auction and I want it more than anything. When a cold-mannered man in a dark suit outbids me, I'll agree to anything to buy it from him--even a weekend in his bed.
Where to Buy
This book is pretty amazing, and very...raw. In a good way. Oliver takes us on a psychological journey with him that is as fascinating as it is painful and raw.
At the beginning of the book Oliver is broken and desperate, willing to do anything to obtain the last, very personal painting that his lover did of him. When he agrees to spend a weekend as the Dark Collector's sub in exchange for the portrait, he considers it to be a simple transaction, one that will involve his body but not his heart or soul. He learns fairly quickly that such will not be the case as the Dark Collector begins to open him up almost from the start. Over the course of their weekend together he'll have to finally face and deal with all of the emotions that Jeffrey's death created. It's intense, it's heartwrenching in many ways, but never is it depressing or angsty, and it could be argued that by the end he's more whole than he ever was, even before he met and loved Jeffrey.
I always have to respect authors that can get me to enjoy a genre or subject matter that I wouldn't normally care for, and this book is no exception. While I don't mind M/M scenes in erotica I read, I rarely go for something that is exclusively M/M because it's not really my thing. The relationships in this book were handled so beautifully however that I couldn't help but be moved by them, because by the end of their first scene together at the Collector's house you can't really see them as anything except two people coming together and discovering a connection where they never thought to find one. Gender becomes irrelevant in the face of the beauty they create between them.
I'm not entirely certain that I would really consider this to be a romance, for while there are definitely a wealth of caring emotions brought forth in it, overall it seems more like the prelude to a romance than the romance itself. This is largely because Oliver is not really in a mental place at the beginning to be ready for another romance. A physical relationship with someone else? Sure. But not really a romance. So what would I consider it to be? I'm not sure really, for it's definitely more than simply erotica, for there is a strong story here, and far more emotional content than erotica typically has. Is Romantic Prelude a category?
Fans of M/M romance and/or erotica will definitely enjoy this, but I'd also recommend it for anyone who simply enjoys a good, emotional romantic/erotic story, or those who like stories about self-discovery and mental/emotional growth and don't mind there being a strong erotic element involved as well. There is much here to appeal to anyone who isn't wholly opposed to homosexual relationships, and I could see this being a great place to start for someone who's interested in trying out M/M stories. Five glowing stars to a book that moved me, made me ache, made me smile, and overall provided a wonderful few hours of reading.