I found an author (Melinda Barron) that I've enjoyed everything she's written. I love it when that happens! Don't you? Its good to know when I pick up a book by them I am certain to like it and usually even love it. Master of the Sun was no exception. It is an emotionally charged story of love and loss that touched me deeply.
The book begins by painting us the picture of the perfect couple: Calliope and Henry. Calliope was insecure until she met Henry who steadfastly broke through her reserve and found the woman within. Henry was not only her husband but also her Dom. She had the perfect life. But it came to sudden end when her husband died unexpectedly right in front of her eyes while on a photo assignment at Silas Hope’s new hotel. Unable to deal with her loss, Calliope retreats inside herself – a realistic reaction to trauma of this magnitude.
Though this story has a BDSM theme, it is a love story so real it rings true to any romantic-at-heart. Melinda Barron is one of my favorite BDSM writers with her ability to create powerful scenes, realistic submissives and Dominants that are caring and loving alpha males. It’s the perfect recipe for a BDSM romance. Absolutely yummy. But in this book she goes even further by showing the healing powers of trust after loss.
Master of the Sun is an unusually serious story for the romance genre (which I have come to realize I really enjoy). The story is incredibly moving as the reader watches Calliope’s journey back to life. Accepting that she still has needs, and BDSM desires that go beyond just her relationship with Henry, and yet acknowledging that those don’t negate her relationship with her late husband is a powerful message. While Barron gives details about Calliope’s grief, she doesn’t bombard us with sadness. Instead the reader gains sympathy and understanding for Calliope.
When Calliope finally agrees to return and finish photographing Silas’s hotel, he is thrilled. His attraction to her has been strong since he first witnessed Calliope and her husband in a scene. Silas helps bring Calliope back to life by pushing her limits as any good Dom would do. But to do this, he had to convince her to open up and accept him as her master. It is a touching moment when Calliope first embraces her future. And their connection is just as beautiful as the one the reader first sees between Calliope and Henry. This connection, I think, is a difficult thing for the author to create. To allow the reader to accept the heroine in a loving relationship with two separate men while still respecting both men and their relationship with the heroine cannot be easy.
There was so much more going on with the story than even just this… while Calliope and Silas are forming their new Dom/sub relationship, a preternatural force is haunting the hotel. The spirit is drawn to Calliope because she shares the feelings of deep sorrow. Now it is up to her to show the spirit how to accept loss and move on. This was a nice storyline woven in to emphasize the concept of letting go and moving on. It also created suspense and brought greater depth to the storyline.
My only complaint, and why I can’t give this book a “5” rating, is that it ends abruptly. The story had great detail and when I was about ten pages to the end, I couldn’t figure out how the author might wrap it all up so quickly. And then BAM – it was over - and it lacked the gradual evolution to mirror the rest of the story. It was disappointing because I wanted to read more on the final resolution to really see how that would play out. But aside from that complaint, I loved the book.
I recommend Master of the Sun to anyone who loves romance. It is a tale of the difficult journey back to life after suffering the death of a loved one. Grab a few tissues before reading.
RATING: 4 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries