Sometimes it is the cover that catches my eye. Something which grabs and tempts me to peep inside. Do I mean some salacious handcuffs, or bared chested bodies or perhaps a grey tie? No. It is a musical instrument. Stick that on any cover and I’m intrigued. (I love books with musical influences).
Naturally, based on this, I had to Ashe Barker’s Darkening, the first part of her Dark Side trilogy.
Not a lengthy book, however, I enjoyed the build up between the two main characters. Eva Bryne is the independent girl who struggles with socialising to such an extent she panics easily. On impulse, having abandoned her academic career, she accepts a post as a violin tutor to a young girl in a remote location in Yorkshire – yes, Bronte country, and I like the setting very much.
The young girl’s father, Nathan Darke, the cryptic kind of man who attracts women, smashes his car into hers on their first encounter and from there it is all eyes on each other.
It is very much a tale of Domination and submission, which is to my taste and though I have to say it has hints of shades, you know what I mean, it isn’t the same. It is better written. I’m not a huge fan of first person present tense, but Ashe carries it off beautifully. Usually I get overpowered by the immediacy of being constantly inside somebody’s head and have to read in short bursts, this didn’t happen – Eva held my attention.
The prologue was unusual in that it jumped into the hero’s shoes and gave his perspective on what he seeks when it comes to his tastes in women. You have no doubts that the book will have BDSM content.
There was a good mix of dialogue, scene setting and in the latter half of the book, majorly steamy sex. Whether it was describing the Yorkshire countryside, which I’m partial too, and I did feel tempted to drive across to sample it for myself, or Eva’s increasing need to be intimate with the dark side of Nathan Darke, I kept turning the pages.
This is a trilogy and would have to be read to completion to really appreciate as the book does end on a cliffhanger (which may unsettle some readers). I’m quite happy to say I will be reading the other two books, and probably the rest of Ashe’s increasing portfolio of books – that’s a sure thing 🙂
The Dark Side trilogy charts the sensual journey of academic musician Eva Byrne as she struggles to overcome painful shyness, sexual inhibition and personal tragedy. Lonely, unsophisticated, desperately seeking love and approval, Eva is easy prey for sensual and experienced Nathan Darke.
He wants her submission, and he knows how to go about getting it. Eva is quickly caught up by the whirlwind of his effortless seduction, though she has her own reasons for agreeing to join him in his world of pain and pleasure, on the dark side.
Inexplicably fascinated and at the same time totally frustrated by his new submissive, Nathan is increasingly drawn to her as she opens up in his hands and he realises there is much, much more to his latest playmate than he ever could have imagined.
The Dark Side charts the turbulent relationship between Eva and Nathan as their mutual fascination builds. They both discover what surrender truly means as together they explore the fragile bonds of desire, trust, risk and reward, and the destructive power of betrayal.