Cherise Sinclair continues her delightfully wicked Masters of the Shadowlands series with Breaking Free
, a tale of dominance and submission set largely in a private BDSM club in Florida called the Shadowlands. The book centres on Master Nolan, an ex-Special Ops soldier who now owns his own construction and contracting business, and Beth Stanton, a landscape designer who fled to Florida after narrowly escaping from her abusive husband. Nolan and Beth struggle to connect and forge a bond, but their relationship is shadowed by memories of Kyler, a man who’s deepest desire is to get his wife back – at all costs.
I have to say that I fell in love with both the hero and heroine of this book, becoming far more attached to them than I typically get with characters in erotic literature. First off, Nolan’s a freakin’ teddy bear. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still strong and domineering and everything a good Dom should be, but he’s also sweet right down to the bone. Sinclair had this way of writing scenes from Nolan’s perspective that showed how intimately in tune with Beth’s mental and emotional well-being he was, and how nothing mattered to him more than her pleasure and sense of safety. Stuff like that’s enough to melt my heart AND my… well… you get the picture. *cough, blush*
As for Beth, she’s a bit of a wounded bird at the beginning of this story, but she comes into her own by the end of the book and it’s a wonderful thing to see. I found that Sinclair approached creating a heroine who has suffered domestic abuse with both skill and sensitivity. She didn’t try to sweep the lingering physical, emotional, and mental effects of the abuse under the rug, but neither did she allow it to define Beth as a victim and nothing but
a victim. Even after suffering countless horrors at the hands of her husband, Beth still had enough spine to flee him, and then the strength to set down roots again. It’s pretty easy to respect a character like that.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about Breaking Free
was the fact that Sinclair told the story not only from the hero and heroine’s perspectives, but from Kyler’s perspective as well. The guy is a sadistic bastard - there’s no question about that. But, by allowing the reader brief glimpses into his head, Sinclair dramatically increased the tension in the plot. It also allowed the reader to further understand what Beth had endured while married to him. As a result, this made rooting for her to be with Nolan and get her HEA a no-brainer.
Verdict: Despite the somewhat darker subject matter of Breaking Free
(when compared to the first two Masters of the Shadowlands books), this story is actually a sweet, often funny read with a lot of heart. This was really more a 4.5-star rating than a 4. Sinclair gets better with every book!P.S:
I am slightly in love with Cullen’s cheeky humour and can’t wait until her gets his own book!