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Swan Lake by L.B. Alexander

Ballet lovers and romance readers rejoice, for this is a book you will enjoy (as long as you love lots of dirty talk and BDSM themes).

Blurb: All April wants is a moment of quiet. But due to an ongoing struggle with mental illness, silence has become an elusive privilege she fears she'll never capture. A violent attack has brought her burgeoning ballet career to a sudden halt, and a traumatic experience in a strict rehabilitation facility has rendered her more humble than ever. Now that she has returned to her native Southern California, April is content to conceal the dangerous half of herself she fears under a tenuous mask of control.

But the façade is disrupted when April meets William - her older, mysterious, and disgraced new employer. She finds unexpected freedom in him, for like her, he is also two-natured.

There's a mask he shows the world.

And a dark, true half he hides.

Review: I remember seeing the movie Black Swan with Natalie Portman and staring, in horror, at the screen as the movie delved further and further into madness. Sometimes I think about that hangnail scene and want to die. Thankfully, Swan Lake by L.B. Alexander has no such scene (although I will admit to being nervous the entire time I was reading because I was afraid something like it would happen).

If you have absolutely zero knowledge about ballet, that's okay. This novel doesn't require an interest or knowledge in the subject. It's a main part of our heroines past, but no longer much of her present, other than the lasting side effects of such an intense, rigorous lifestyle.

Alexander's Swan Lake delves into mental illness (an eating disorder, specifically, so if that's a trigger for you then I'd recommend not reading) and a BDSM lifestyle. I'm no expert on the topic of BDSM, but I know that some people get really touchy about accurate portrayals. I cannot confirm whether this novel despicts the lifestyle respectfully, but I wasn't horrified by the scenes or confused about consent or anything of that nature. I've read way, way worse.

L.B. Alexander's writing style is what made this book stand out for me. She writes the way people feel. You never have any doubt how April is experiencing the world around her, but you're not necessary told, rather you're shown. The whole book has a sort of other-worldly feel to it (though it is firmly contemporary), especially the parts in which we gain insight into April's other side (aka. the black swan).

It took me a little while to warm up to William, but I think that it our author's intent. April and he certainly have chemistry though, occasionally too much chemistry that threatens to send our heroine in a downward spiral. Still, the moments of passion are note-worthy and full of dirty-talk and some bondage/spanking/whipping.

If you like dark romances with grouchy, but passionate dominants--and an interesting take on a theme--then check Swan Lake out. First of three books.


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