Top critical review
She's written much better works
May 1, 2016
Pam Godwin is a good writer, but this was my least favorite of her works. It failed for me for a number of reasons. First, the characters were not deeply drawn enough for me to see how this relationship could possibly have been "love at first sight". Emeric - super rich, super talented, super good looking - was immediately enamored of Ivory from the moment he saw her - so much so he was willing to cross that legal line to have her. Why? He had his pick of attractive, submissive women. He had just been fired for an inappropriate relationship at work. Nothing about him screamed that he was the kind of guy who lived life on the edge (until the hard to believe climax), and yet, he risks everything for a girl he has nothing in common with except music because she's hot and submissive. I get why she would be attracted to him - she was desperate for attention and he was such a control freak that he gave her lots and lots of attention. Having said that, aside from music, what scintillating conversations could they possibly be having since she's barely an adult and had, aside from inappropriate sexual relationships, few real life experiences with which to fill up the inevitable conversational lulls between their frequent bouts of sex.
Second, the book's tonality shifted from somewhat dark and gritty at the beginning to hearts and flowers at the end. It felt like the author realized that the people who would eventually rate this 2 or 1 stars because she was underaged and he was kind of predatory needed to be appeased. The climax was completely out of character with Emeric's actual behaviors (not fantasized behaviors) and it range false. The book lost it's way for me as it unfolded from despair to a life's dream fulfilled and strolled straight into fairy tale land.
Last, the "clever" literary devices on sonatas, notes, concertos etc. were overdone and at times, nonsensical. They also occurred more and more frequently as the book progressed and at times they took me straight out of the story.
If you are fan of this author, I still recommend reading this book. I think it was a decent attempt to mainstream/enable a taboo relationship into an acceptable love story. That was always going to be a challenge to readers beyond her fan base (think about how the author of Nine Minutes turned into an apologist in the sequel with the lame "Ginny was really 18, not 15" when Grizz took her.) While not her best, she is still a better writer than most of the other authors covering this genre and therefore worth the read.