Published by Grand Central Publishing on July 21, 2011
Twenty-something Londoner Natalie Bowen is envied by many, but her personal life is a disaster.
Then she hears about an exclusive weekend retreat called The Haven, a place that specializes in introducing people to pleasures they could never have imagined. Shocked at the idea, but unable to resist finding out more, Natalie decides it's time to put her hears behind her.
Once at The Haven, Natalie meets the enigmatic and disciplined Simon, a man who is used to getting what he wants. And he's decided he wants Natalie...
Natalie Bowen is the successful editor at a London magazine for high-powered businesswomen. She’s assertive, independent, and knows exactly what she wants from men in bed – and is not afraid to tell them either! Unfortunately for Natalie, men don’t seem to enjoy their time with Natalie and she’s been very unlucky in love. When her friend Jan comes back from a weekend trip to The Haven, Jan is a completely different person with an active sexual social life – exactly what Natalie wants. She pressures Jan into giving her the contact information to The Haven and promptly books her own sex-filled weekend away. There, she meets Simon ___, her tutor for the weekend and therefore off-limits once the weekend is over. But sparks fly between Natalie and Simon and soon they must decide if their mutual passion is worth risking membership at The Haven.
Natalie came across as a selfish shrew. I did not like her and therefore found her very difficult to connect with. As for Simon, he didn’t really have much of a personality at all. Since most of this book revolves around how many different ways the characters can have sex, there was little room left over for character building and development.
Haven of Obedience is advertised as “if you loved Fifty Shades of Gray, you should read this book.” Well, this book is similar – a woman learning to bring out her sexually submissive side – but that is about where the similarities end. The Haven’s entire purpose is to teach aggressive, dominant men and women to sexually submit to the other gender. Unfortunately, I found it very hard to get over the manner in which this was taught – there were more than a few “lessons” that came across as incredibly sexist, almost misogynistic. This left a very sour taste in my mouth as there is an extreme difference between being sexually submissive and relinquishing all independence and freedom of thinking.
If you are looking for plot, this is not the book for you. Every chapter is filled with sex scenes. Sex scenes are the ‘plot’ for this story and I felt that some scene fell into the realm of incredulous and non-consensual. Often, a character would be very uncomfortable with whatever was about to happen and the basic attitude of The Haven’s staff was “do it or leave and lose all your money.” Although the characters, usually Natalie, did whatever was being asked of them, it seemed as if they were being coerced or forced into doing so. Also, I also noted that not once did any of these characters use some form of protection or birth control. With as many sexual partners as The Haven’s clientele were juggling, you would think this would be an important safety step not only for their clients, but also for the business’s liability purposes.
Now, I will say that the sex scenes are very steamy, which obviously fits well into this genre. There are male/female scenes, female/female scenes, and even a few male/female/male scenes. If you take away anything from this book, it will be that there are many ways to enjoy sex with your lover. It may even give you some new ideas to spice up the bedroom. There are sensual descriptions and some pretty imaginative positions.
However, there is no romance and very little sexual tension. If you want to read nothing but erotica and do not care about plot or romance, you might enjoy this book. For myself, I much prefer erotica with more substance, character connection, and plot. Haven of Obedience did not have any of those elements. Not to mention the amount of typos, grammatical mistakes, and formatting problems was very distracting.