Publisher - Sphere Publication Date - 28th June 2012 Paperback - 336 pages Genre - Erotic Romance
Source - Purchased
Rating - 2 out of 5: It was ok
Book Info - Twenty-something Londoner Natalie Bowen is envied by many, but her personal life
is a disaster. Men can't cope with her career success and Natalie thinks she'll
never find real happiness.
Then she hears about an exclusive weekend retreat called The Haven, a place
that specialises in introducing you to pleasures you could never have imagined.
Shocked at the idea, but unable to resist finding out more, Natalie decides it's
time to put her fears behind her.
Once at The Haven, Natalie meets the enigmatic and disciplined Simon, a man who
is used to getting what he wants. And Natalie may very well have met her match...
My Thoughts - I saw a lot of hype surrounding this book on Twitter around its release date so I was very excited to read this book. Unfortunately though, it did not live up to my expectations at all.
Natalie has booked herself into The Haven as she is fed up of having one failed relationship after the other. The purpose of The Haven is to teach people to completely surrender their control in the bedroom in order to find happiness. Along the way, there are some incredibly hot sex scenes involving pretty much anything you can think of: group sex, exhibitionism, bondage and so on. I will admit to enjoying some of these parts a lot. Also, the authors style of writing was so quick and easy to read I was able to finish this book all in one sitting, even though it was over 300 pages long - something I am never normally able to do.
Well, that's the good part of the review done. Now onto the not-so-good part. The characterisation is severely lacking in this novel. What little we learn about Natalie is all introduced in the first couple of chapters in the book and, to be honest, she comes across as pretty unlikeable. She is spoiled and looks down upon others. Plus, I didn't really feel as though her character grew at all during the course of the book - she just learns how to have great sex whilst still managing to be the same unpleasant person that she was before.
And as for Simon, he was a complete and utter mystery! All we learn about him is that he is a freelance journalist during his working week and that he considers himself to be such an expert in the bedroom that he feels he needs to teach others how to have amazing sex. I would really have liked to get to know him a lot better, to get a better understanding of him, but as the story was told from Natalie's point of view the reader doesn't get to find out much about him.
The romance between the two of them felt rushed and unsatisfactory. As I've already said, Natalie knows very little about Simon so it is difficult to tell why she falls so deeply in love with him so quickly. They spend very little time getting to know each other so, as a consequence, their relationship feels as though it really does all revolve around sex. As Simon gets to have amazing sex with women every weekend at The Haven, and because the story is all told from Natalie's point of view, the reader never gets to see why Natalie is the one woman out of the many that he's met at The Haven to capture his heart.
Summary - If you are looking for a book that will leave you feeling hot under the collar then this is the one for you. However, if you are looking for a believable romance, likeable characters and plot or character development then you may be better off looking elsewhere.