The Dark Call of the Siren
This beautifully written story was insightful and deep, but ultimately too hopeless for my tastes.
Nora is an erotica author whose most recent manuscript holds the promise of making her not just a successful writer, but a great
writer. She needs a crack editor to make that happen. Englishman Zach isn’t thrilled when he’s assigned to edit her “gutter-snipe” writing, but he soon finds Nora is classier and deeper than any writer he’s known.
Nora’s assistant is a young college boy, Wesley…an interesting pairing. She’s a sex goddess, and he’s a virgin.
Nora says this about Wesley:”He’s a Methodist. He’s trying to save me. Methodists are all about saving people.”
That cracked me up since I’m a Methodist too. ;-)
Wesley is disgusted when Nora shows up bruised and beaten following an anniversary meeting with her former Dominant, Soren.
Soren is one of the hottest and scariest book characters I’ve ever encountered. His profession shocked me, and his presence in the story made the pages fly by.Nora was in Soren’s arms, his mouth on hers. He tasted like fire and wine. She pressed into him, the dawn of her body meeting the horizon of his.
If you seek a philosophical understanding of the BDSM lifestyle, this book provides it. Why do certain individuals seek pain? Why does pain, both giving and/or receiving, turn them on?”That’s why I believe, Zach,” Nora continued. “Because of all gods, Jesus alone understands. He understands the purpose of pain and shame and humiliation.”
“What is the purpose?” Zach asked.
“For salvation, of course. For love.”
Or as Soren explains to Zach as he shows him his playrooms:“Pain is a gift from God. It imparts understanding, wisdom. Pain is life. And here we give pain as freely as we give pleasure.”
Nora compares a preference for Dominance/submission to a language one speaks:Her instincts told her to throw him on his back, tie him down and have her way with him. Lying there so passively while he touched and kissed her felt so unusual, as if he was making love to her in a foreign language, a beautiful language to hear, but one she didn’t understand.
Editor Zach is new to this pain/pleasure dynamic, but even he understands:But there was nothing but the cold, hard truth that loving someone and being loved back was only the beginning, not the end, of the pain.
How true! There were some fascinating thoughts in this novel.
Nora has three men in her life (Zach, Wesley, and Soren), and it’s unclear which one she’ll choose. It’s unclear which one she should
choose. When Soren touched her she became his. When Wesley touched he, she became herself.
The unique characterization of each man is definitely a strength of this novel. I also enjoyed the faltering relationship between Zach and his wife:Zach paused. How could he describe his wife to anyone? To him Grace was the open arms he fell into when he crawled into bed at 2:00 a.m. after staying up reading a new manuscript. She was the laughing water thief in the shower at least one morning a week. She was the quiet comfort and the hand he’d been unable to let go of at his mother’s funeral three years ago.
There are brief glimpses of light in this story, like:“You men,” Nora said. “The bra clasp defeats you every time.”
“I think a demonic engineer must have designed these things. I may have to get the bolt cutters.” Wesley finally got the clasp undone.
“Watch out. Bras are often booby-trapped,” Nora warned.
But ultimately, this novel left me feeling heavy and sad. I like to end with more of a sense of hope in people and in the world.