Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: Body Politics by Cara Bristol

Book: Body Politics
Rod and Cane Society #3
Author: Cara Bristol
Domestic Discipline, Erotic Romance
Review Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review.

I told you I'd be checking out more of Cara Bristol's books after reading Unexpected Consequences (click here to read my review). Another accolade. This whole series is amazing. 

Here's the blurb:

Feminist Stephanie Gordon knows the instant she meets blind date Mark DeLuca it’s not going to work. Sure the deputy chief of police is criminally sexy, but he’s arrogant, domineering and sexist. Thank goodness after the evening ends, she’ll never have to see him again.

A member of the Rod and Cane Society, an organization of men who spank, Mark DeLuca is attracted to Stephanie like a paddle to a well-rounded ass. He sees beneath the shield of feminist militancy to the soft, sensitive woman she tries to hide. When she storms away in a snit, the chase is on. Can a Dom convince a diehard feminist her true strength lies in submission?

Another beautiful, sexy romance from Cara Bristol.

There are so many things I want to say about this book that I don't know where to begin. The way that Cara Bristol writes is so real, the characters are so real, their emotions, struggles, their connection and sexual encounters... everything just comes to life. I empathized with Stephanie's dilemma in trying to reconcile her attraction to Mark with her preconceived notions of what she should be attracted to... Mark was everything she didn't want to like - masculine, dominant, arrogant, too sexy for his own good (or for her own good, more like). Yet her body couldn't help but respond to him. And when her body responded to him, Cara's gift of prose ensured that mine did too.

The story developed in a very organic way. Mark and Stephanie's relationship progressed quickly, but naturally. It felt right and the way that Cara treated the "feminist dilemma" was also done well. 

Combining feminism and domestic discipline is tricky. Someone is going to get offended. Especially because most people associate feminism with the very extreme bra-burning, all-women-must-work-outside-the-home and be treated with exact equality (no opening doors or paying for dinner or any other chivalrous behavior) movement of the 1970s. It's a common misconception that all feminists think this way. However, the reality is that there are so many different feminist schools of thought that it's almost impossible to keep track of them all (I know, I minored in Women's Studies in college). I've always defined feminism as the right to choose to do what makes you happy without being judged for it. If that means enjoying a domestic discipline relationship with the love of your life then ... why not? 

I think that Cara Bristol did a very good job of showing the "traditional" feminist outlook that Stephanie started out with in the beginning of the book (the PC version of feminism that we're familiar with) and then showing us the progression of thought... to what may be somewhat more "liberated" feminism. Reconciling sexual desires that are not PC within a world where PC is the norm. Showing that instead of having to bury these desires and living a half-life... settling for less than, a woman can enjoy herself... surrender, be spanked... and still retain her identity as a productive member of society, doing something meaningful, making a difference, etc. That one does not impede the other. They're not mutually exclusive. And, most importantly, nowhere does Cara Bristol imply that ALL women need or want to be in a domestic discipline relationship or need a man or that there's only one way to eat a Reese's... 

Some quotes that stood out for me: "After all, that was what feminism was all about: giving women choices." And: "I'm living my truth. For me, domestic discipline creates intimacy. For other women, it doesn't. Isn't feminism about having options?" YES! Yes, that's what it's about. Well said.

Overall, everything about the book was good, the writing, the world that Cara Bristol created within the Rod and Cane Society - it just gives such a community feel to everything else that goes on and is so well incorporated into the story, and characters - Mark and Stephanie and their connection. They were both good people who lived normal lives doing something that they believed in. At first, obviously, Stephanie wasn't sure how she was going to fit Mark into her life, but he didn't let her give up on him. Mark is a force to be reckoned with. He never does anything halfway and once he decided that he was going to be the man for Stephanie, he followed through and led her on a journey of sexual exploration, self discovery, and was there for her when other parts of her life didn't go her way. It was a great depiction of an overall healthy relationship with love and care... and spanking!

So far, every book I've read by Cara Bristol has been well written and sexy and interesting. As I said in my review of Unexpected Consequences, this may not be for everyone, because traditional gender roles may offend some people and domestic discipline is somewhat different from just being kinky and liking a bit of spice in the bedroom. It's actually used to adjust behavior and attitude. But for those who understand the dynamic, this is another beautiful story. Five stars.

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