The best way to review this book is to compare and contrast it to the modern classic Fifty Shades Of Grey. From a brief scan of the synopsis, you could be forgiven that these two books could be very much like, but trust me, they are not!
For those of you who don’t know, after the original Fifty Shades trilogy, which admittedly is something of a distant memory for me now, the author wrote the same trilogy again, but from Christian Grey’s POV.
(I only completed the first trilogy, because the first one of the second trilogy was really slow, didn’t provide much insight into what was going through Christian’s mind at different junctures, and basically just felt like a cut-and-paste repeat of the original.)
However, unlike Fifty Shades, this story is told from two POVs in the same novel. And this takes it to another level.
Emerson Grant is a wealthy owner of an exclusive sex club, where all the company founders live out their sexual fantasies during the working day.
Charlie (21), meanwhile, has just broken up with her boyfriend and was told to pick up her half of the cheque for their apartment from her ex’s dad, who is none other than Emerson.
When Charlie goes to collect the cheque, Emerson mistakes her for one of his role playing fantasy women, getting Charlie to kneel before him, which she then does.
However, when he expects more, Charlie explains who she is and why she is there. Emerson, naturally is embarrassed, and hands over the cheque.
Then, in a bid to win his son back into his life, he offers Charlie as job as a secretary (an actual secretary), in the hopes that it would give his son an excuse to come to his work, and get him back with Charlie.
However, Emerson is not prepared for just how strong his attraction to Charlie is. Emerson tries to keep his hands off her he just can’t. And as Emerson introduces her to the ways of this sex club, Charlie finally starts to feel truly wanted and sexy.
This book is not merely a string of sex scenes and erotica, but is also a powerful love story, and a story where several characters grow and mature.
But if you only wanted to read this book just for the sex scenes, you won’t be disappointed, there are many, and they are effective. They are predominantly done through Charlie’s POV rather than Emerson’s however, which is why it falls into the same target audience reader as Fifty Shades.
This provides a much better insight to what’s going through the character’s minds. And whereas in Fifty Shades it took time for the characters to fall in love, in Praise this has a more of a real feel to it, with tell-tale signs of feelings developing early on.
There are various scenarios where the character’s feelings are palpable, and it is clear to the reader that the passion is not just sexual.
In the role play between Charlie and Emerson, Emerson is a dom and Charlie is a sub, just like Fifty Shades. And also just like Fifty shades, the dom has to introduce the sub to her role gradually. Charlie plays it well, and Emerson can’t get enough of it.
Everything is consensual, and there is no unusual sexual activity (i.e. not vanilla) until about 70% of the way through (don’t worry, I don’t do spoilers).
And just as in Fifty Shades the characters progress in their relationship and the relationship becomes more standard and normal, so to in Praise.
But whereas this happens so seamlessly in Fifty Shades, in contrast Praise features grandiose gestures, words, and actions.
Emerson is infatuated with Charlie, but sees her as someone he can never have because of his son’s feelings. But Charlie is enamoured with Emerson, and would never go back to dating the ex who always brought her down. She is curious and excited about the club and everything that goes on there.
Things come to a head at one point, and a turning point is reached.
There were times where Charlie questioned herself, and wondered whether despite everything being consensual that she wasn’t demeaning herself at points. And whether Emerson just loved the part she was playing and not her.
I would argue that this is in contrast to Fifty Shades where Christian treats his sub more like a fling, rather than just a sub until they fall in love.
However, Emerson has nothing but praise for Charlie, and Charlie is a sucker for it.
The role playing didn’t do anything for me. I don’t like the idea of being false in relationships.
I expected that since this book is the first in a series that the book would end in a cliff hanger, but thankfully it did not. The second book in the series centres on an entirely different character, someone who was a more minor character in the first book.
I may read the second book at some point, but not yet. I think I need a palate cleanser, and something that’s intense and dramatic in an entirely different way.
There are scenes in there that may not appeal to everybody, so if you think you may have triggers, be sure to check the trigger warnings before you read.
I think it’s a shame that so many romance novels focus so heavily on sex scenes too early in the relationship. I think it’s more romantic when you know it’s your personality they’re attracted to and not almost solely your body.
I enjoyed it, it was intense, but I’m ready to go back to non-fiction and psychological thrillers now!
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