Review: Charlotte Hains’ Introducing Charlotte
When Charlotte bumps into her old friend Anthony she is at her lowest… Shocked by the revelation of her escape from a controlling and abusive relationship, Anthony enlists the help of Nats and Lloyd to help Charlotte find the confidence she once had. Charlotte is unaware, however, of the darker side of her friends’ lifestyle. And although Lloyd is deeply attracted to her, Charlotte is broken, hurt, and lacks control. As Lloyd sets to work coming up with unique ideas to bring Charlotte back to life, she is introduced to an intimate world of secret passions and desire.
Introducing Charlotte by Charlotte Hains is a vast improvement on anything written by E L James. For a start it is very well written (apart from the use of the phrase “lady button” – why not just call it what it is?) with good sentence structure and grammar and a great flow to the narrative. It also has very engaging characters and scenarios that are easy to relate to. Most importantly though, the author has managed to capture a little of the real BDSM relationship dynamic of dom and sub due to actually doing her research. The equality of control in the relationship and the utter devotion of a dom to his sub comes across very well and the explanation that Lloyd gives Charlotte at the start of her exploration into the lifestyle is pretty much accurate.
So is it a perfect or definitive book? Not for me personally, for a few reasons. It was a pity that Charlotte had to come from an abusive relationship into the lifestyle, as this subliminally cements the two together in a lot of people’s minds where that isn’t the case. I understand that the author was likely trying to contrast the two and highlight the differences, as well as giving Charlotte a vulnerability but, for me, it just didn’t work. Also for me there was a lot of peripheral physical description lacking, of people, places, clothing etc, which would have helped to give more depth to the story and allow the reader to become more immersed in it, rather than just being an observer. This is true too of the descriptions of Charlotte’s emotions and sensations of the actual BDSM acts but that is understandable because the author has only done, albeit very thorough, theoretical “on paper” research and, until you have actually felt the sensations, it is very difficult to convey how it feels. Finally, like Lloyd, I found Charlotte’s “smart-arse” mouth i.e. incessant swearing very irritating and wearing, regularly killing off any mood of sensuality or eroticism that the author was trying to create.
All that said though, for a debut novel, especially in this genre, it is very good and I look forward to watching the characters develop as the series continues.
**** 4 Stars!