ATTENTION WINNERS! So far I've only had 1 of 3 winners contact me with their mailing address, so if you see your name below, please contact me ASAP (and check our spam folder for my email). If the other winners do not get in touch by Friday, I will have to redraw some new names).
The Companion is a refreshingly realistic, sometimes even romantic, look at the realities of a BDSM lifestyle. It's not about a dabbling in a scene, and it's not about playing games. This is a book about serious, life-long commitments, and about the social repercussions of choosing to enter into such a lifestyle. Michelle Knight herself has said this is a bit of an introductory book, one aimed at intriguing and educating those who may be curious about the BDSM lifestyle, but it is also strong enough as a story to satisfy those who already live it.
Susan is a wonderful character to serve as our guide into the world of subspace, a slightly sad, innocent young woman who is suffering under the stress of a life spent trying to make everyone else around her happy. It's a situation with which I suspect many readers will identify, making it easier for them to follow her on her journey. She's curious about this new world, but also terrified of what it involves, and concerned about the thoughts and feelings it evokes in her.
It's a slow journey, one that begins with some frank discussions, continues through some part-time sessions with a professional dominatrix, and culminates in three-month audition for a permanent lifestyle change. I absolutely loved the character of Mark, a professional dominant just getting back into the scene after a heart-breaking loss. He's entirely human, vulnerable and unsure of his situation, and that's what makes this so real. Even as he teaches, guides, and instructs Susan in her new role, he's questioning whether he's ready. He's patient and loving, but he's also quick to anger when her poor life choices trigger fears that echo is past tragedy.
The BDSM scenes are absolutely wonderful, involving caning, spanking, rope bondage, teasing, and restraint. Knight does a fantastic job of helping the reader understand what it means to enter subspace, and to illustrate that mental state as something to which you can't help but aspire. It's a gentle kind of dominant/submissive relationship, with more encouragement than harsh punishment, but there are definitely moments where things get uncomfortable, and where Susan has to face the consequences of her inability to submit as completely on a mental level as a physical one.
Equal parts erotic and romantic, The Companion is one of the most well-rounded BDSM stories I've read in a long time. It's genuine and true, never straying too far into fantasy, and comes across as a journey any one of us could follow. The ending may be a bit too perfect for some but, then again, that's part of it's romantic appeal and I wouldn't change a thing about it.
Michelle is a transgender author from the UK who originally penned The Companion as a film script, before adapting it into a novel as the first part of her Submissive Heart series.
She has graciously offered up 3 copies of the paperback international edition to luck readers in Canada, USA, Europe, and Australia/NZ, so I do hope you'll enter, because it is a wonderful read.