Monday, November 14, 2011

REVIEW: Story of L by Debra Hyde

Story of L is, as you might expect, a lesbian retelling of The Story of O. It’s the erotic tale of Liv, a woman who is surprised to discover ultimate satisfaction through an act of submission, and Cassandra, the woman who obtains her own satisfaction through the submission of others . . . but who does not easily offer up the pleasure of her dominance.

Before you get the wrong idea, however, this is not a sex-for-the-sake-of-sex slice of erotica. This is a story with some real depth to it, one that forces us to explore our own ideas of dominance and submission, even as Liv learns about hers. It’s a story of dark romance and wish-fulfillment, but definitely with a be-careful-what-you-wish-for theme.

Liv is a switch, a woman who prides herself on being both dominant and submissive. It’s a tough role to play, both wielding the power and giving it up, and you get the sense early on that there’s a choice to be made. It’s the appearance of Cassandra, who pushes her to the edge (and beyond), that forces Liv to begin questioning her role, and to seek out a return to the deeper, perfect submission she experienced at Cassandra’s feet.

Cassandra is a dominant, but an unrepentantly romantic one. She is looking for that perfect submissive, that one loyal slave whom she can love, and be loved by. She’s not content with a plaything who slips in and out of a collar, a woman who comes by to be whipped when it’s convenient. No, Cassandra seeks nothing less than complete ownership over Liz’s life.

Before ever allowing Liz to return to her place at her feet, Cassandra tests her newfound love, pushing her to explore precisely what it means to be submissive, and forcing her to make a series of sacrifices, so that the two can better understand one another. Liv’s best friend, Quinn, serves as something of a focal point for the reader, keeping us at arm’s length from the power exchange, while cautioning Liv to be careful of just how deeply she should commit herself to Cassandra’s demands.

This is a story about the intersection between fantasy and reality, and the ways in which one can accommodate the other. It’s both a story of the honest demands of a true BDSM lifestyle, and the honest commitments of a lesbian relationship. You get the sense that Debra has truly done her homework, and that she has a true passion for the characters and the lifestyle. Physically and emotionally satisfying, this is definitely a story worth exploring.

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