Author: Marina Anderson
Serial: The Dining Club, Part 1
Release Date: 20 August 2013
Young, ambitious theatre director Grace has no time for distractions, but she just cannot resist enigmatic city financier, David. Alluring, charismatic and an incredible lover - David never lets Grace get too close. So when he invites her to a weekend at his private club, Grace is thrilled.
Arriving at the secluded location, and excited by her nerves, David reveals the truth behind the Dining Club: a place where guests are taught to open their minds, and their bodies to erotic challenges. If she passes the tests, she is promised ecstasy beyond her wildest fantasies. If she fails, she's forbidden to ever set foot in the exclusive club again. But even as David's seductive commands make Grace feel more daring than ever before, she begins to fear for their future. What if she fails one of the Club's tantalizing trials? Will David still want her or will she lose him forever?
Desire, being the first part in a serialized novel, is a little hard to discuss on it’s own. It’s an introduction, to the characters and to the set-up of the weekend at The Dining Club. I’ll talk a little about my thoughts in these short thirty-odd pages.
Grace and David have been together for six months and Grace believes she’s starting to fall in love. David’s courteous, attentive, loving, and the sex is fabulous; however she realizes that David isn’t quite in the same place as her. He’s holding something back and she’s not quite sure what.
David cares about Grace a lot, and wants to take their relationship to the next level so he suggests a weekend at The Dining Club, an exclusive club at which he’s a member. Here he’ll finally be able to tell her, show her, the things he’s been holding back. Honestly, I find the chemistry between Grace and David a little…forced. I feel like they’re both saying the right things, thinking the right things, but it just doesn’t feel right to me. At first I wondered if this wasn’t going to be a story where she showed up with one person and ended up with another but now I doubt that.
As you might have guessed, The Dining Club is a place where sexual fantasies can be carried out. A place for members to bring their significant others and be safe in finding out if they can fulfill each other’s sexual needs. They meet once a month and there’s only ever one ‘newbie’. This month is Grace. If they work out on this first visit, they’ll come back to go through several more ‘tables’.
Have I mentioned how much I dislike deception? Six months they’ve been together and the implication is that David has still been going to his club every month. I kind of have a problem with this. There isn’t anything in the text about them promising exclusivity, but it’s kind of been implied, and then there’s the scene with the woman at the club just before he goes to pick up Grace.
Look, I like some of the ‘more unusual sexual needs,’ as David puts it, but I also like openness and honesty in a relationship. I like that a lot. In fact it’s kind of one of my must-haves. I’m reserving a bit of judgment on this, but it did bother me here.
My other problem is the treading-the-line of manipulation that David pulls out near the end to convince Grace to stay. Maybe I’m a bit more sensitive to it because I’ve been in that sort of relationship. The ‘if you love me…’ and ‘I thought you’d want to do this for me…’ sort of comments roll off me badly.
Because of the format, serialized, these sorts of things can make or break a story. Because I have the next three installments I’m reserving my thoughts until I’ve read a bit further – and as they’re so short, it could be I do a complete 180 on my feelings for David, and Grace. But this is one of the downfalls of this format. The first one has to set the tone, and right now I’m not too happy with one of the main characters.
Grade: Due to my personal issues, I’m going to grade this in two different ways:
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