Original review posted here: http://www.yourentertainmentcorner.com/?p=31463
With the emergence of the inclusion of BDSM (bondage & discipline/dominance & submission/sadomasochism) in fiction, every author in today’s society who writes contemporary/romance/erotica thinks adding kink to their story makes it an authentic BDSM novel. Not so. I think the majority of novels that follow this model are simply taking the author’s romantic fantasies and spicing them up a bit to reach a wider audience. This can be attributed to a popular pulled-to-publish fan fiction novel that will not be named here because I loathe it and what it represents. In the case of The Librarian
, the addition of kink isn’t necessary. You can read this novel without the sex and still have a solid story to follow.
While The Librarian
is not the greatest literary fiction I’ve ever read, beyond its faults it is still readable without too many eye rolls. Regina, the heroine, isn’t a complete Mary Sue figure typical in today’s literature. She doesn’t dwell on her insecurities; she asks questions and stands up for herself when necessary; she’s smart and retains her intelligence throughout the novel. I didn’t have too many qualms with Regina as she didn’t irritate the hell out of me with constant whining about why a man like Sebastian would want her. She asks him once why he’s interested in her and he answers her honestly to her satisfaction. Then guess what, she doesn’t dwell on it anymore. It’s such a refreshing action to happen in a story that I almost did a cartwheel. Almost. I was proud of her for questioning what was going on between them and asking what Sebastian wanted out of a relationship with her. Do you realize how much drama was avoided by this? Tons. I hate books full of unnecessary drama.
The story would have been much better had Belle focused on Regina and Sebastian’s relationship outside of the bedroom. I found some of Regina’s reactions to Sebastian and his introduction to the BDSM world to be contrived, yet I still had hope she would grow as a character. There’s a lot of chemistry between these two characters that could have been explored. I would have loved to get a better look into Sebastian’s photographer side and how that changed the dynamic of his relationship with Regina. This event may not seem like a big deal but it was a turning point in the book that doesn’t get the attention it deserved. I also would have enjoyed an in depth look of Regina’s job as a librarian in NYC. We get snippets of what she does at the delivery desk, but not much more beyond that. I think both protagonists showed growth to some extent, but there isn’t much depth to their characters, which is something I miss as a reader.
It’s interesting how the other female characters (Regina’s roommate and coworker whose names I can’t recall) in this novel know it’s impossible to change a man set in his ways, yet when Sebastian tries to change Regina (for the better, of course), they don’t push her to accept the new things he introduces her to. It makes me want to rage, but then I remember this is fiction.
The designer name dropping gets to be a bit repetitive. We know the novel is set in New York; we know the library is on Fifth Avenue and yes we know Sebastian can afford the most expensive clothing in the world. Must we be inundated with labels of every outfit the characters wear?
I probably wouldn’t recommend Bettie Page Presents: The Librarian
to those who are well versed in the world of BDSM. I know next to nothing about it, but I do know this book scratches the surface of what Erotica is meant to be and will probably upset some readers more educated on the subject. The ending is a bit predictable and cheesy, but you come to expect some type of “Happily Ever After” with novels in this genre. A reader has to take this book as it is and look at it as a form of entertainment, however low-brow. I was provided a copy of Bettie Page Presents: The Librarian by NetGalley and the publisher Simon & Schuster for an honest review.