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Pleasure and Purpose: An Order of Solace Novel Paperback – 20 September 2019
- Publisher : Barnes & Noble Press (20 September 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 394 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1078715890
- ISBN-13 : 978-1078715898
- Dimensions : 15.2 x 2.06 x 22.9 cm
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In The Order of Solace books, Ms. Hart has given readers a realm where anything can and will happen, based on the Patrons' needs. This allows for any type of sexual kink and/or emotional growth as long as the Patron is seeking solace. Though these books do not have the emotional intensity of her full-length contemporary novels, I enjoyed them immensely. If you want to venture outside the more fantastical world of the Order of Solace, you should read Broken and Dirty .
The mythology of the stories and the religious order is that there is a holy family who have been divided forever, and when they are reunited, all will be right with the world. The holy family will be reunited when the God Sinder's quiver of arrows is full, and every time a person achieves a state of Solace, Sinder gets another arrow in his quiver. The handmaidens of the Order of Solace have been trained to do whatever is necessary to provide solace to their patrons. In these stories (being erotica), this involves sex, but it doesn't have to (for example, one of the handmaiden's prior patrons was a dying woman who needed to find peace/solace before her death).
The first story involves Stillness and Edward. Edward has a tortured past which has made him suppress his inclination toward sexual domination. Stillness has a tortured past that makes her crave pain/being dominated. Can you guess how they find solace? This was my favorite story of the three.
The second involves Honesty and Cillian, who is a prince of the land. He is looking for a sexual submissive like Edward found in Stillness, but Honesty isn't into BDSM. Nevertheless, while she may not be what he thinks he wants, it turns out she is what he needs. (They have sexy times, but this story is less about that than about the political intrigue surrounding Cillian at court. This story had more plot than the others.)
The third story involve Determinata and Alaric. Alaric, a submissive, has been abandoned by his mistress and is lost in depression and drug addiction. Determinata (Mina) literally beats him into shape.
Though I liked the writing, which was definitely a cut above the norm, I was uncomfortable with the patriarchal structure of this imagined society and with the idea of the handmaidens, who are essentially shipped off to each patron like mail order brides (though they're not actually supposed to stay with the patrons after the patron achieves Solace) whose entire purpose (or Pleasure and Purpose, after the title) is to serve their men. Reading these stories, I wasn't ever sucked into the fantasy enough to silence the feminist voice in my head (picture a tiny, cranky, Rosie-the-Riveter perched on my shoulder, whispering in my ear like the angel/devil characters one often sees in cartoons) which found this premise very uncomfortable, even distasteful.
Stillness has been with the Order of Solace for a long time. She knows exactly what she needs to do in order to bring solace and tranquility to her master. Stillness has been requested by Edward and when she arrives, she finds her job difficult at first but when she is able to read Edward and find out why he requested her, she is able to work her magic. Stillness does her best not to fall in love with Edward - that is forbidden by her Order, but fate has other ideas.
Edward's guilt was predominant in this enchanting novella. He refuses to believe in redemption and it isn't until the thought of being without Stillness or Nessa, that Edward really takes a look at his life. He comes to a decision and he knows that his life means nothing without his Nessa in it. His redemption and forgiveness of himself was a long way in coming but I couldn't have asked for a better conclusion to his guilt. He was sexy, tender, and the perfect partner for Stillness - add in a bit of ménage action and this novella shined.
Honesty is just like her name. She is honest to a fault and if anyone doesn't want the truth then they don't need to ask her a question. Honesty comes from the Order at the request of Prince Cillian. He requested a maiden because he sees what a difference Stillness made in his friend's life. Cillian wants that sanctity for himself but when he meets Honesty he is disappointed. This lasts all of about ten minutes because Honesty has the hidden talent of making Cillian take a look at his own life and what needs to be changed. She does this seemingly effortlessly until Cillian has to be honest and admit that he can't live without her.
"Honesty" was a hard novella to read. Not because it wasn't good - it was excellent. It was almost tragic how Cillian was so messed up inside. I worried he would never be redeemable but he was and for that I have to thank the handmaiden Honesty. She took Cillian's life and turned it around for the better and in doing so, saved her life as well. Their love scenes were erotic and emotional - the heat was often intense and I hated for this novella to come to an end.
Edward and Cillian both have fallen in love with their Order of Solace handmaidens. Their lives are better and because of this, they request a maiden from the Order for their friend Alaric. Alaric has been devastated by a series of events involving a woman and has been unable to shake his depression. Determinata will have no man feeling sorry for himself on her watch and so she sets out to awaken the man that is Alaric. And she does. Quite dominantly.
Mina was exquisite in her determination to reach Alaric. Uncomfortable with his needs almost, Alaric desired a special type of woman - a dominant one. He needed a firm hand to breech the fort in which he held his heart. Let's say that Mina was exactly what he needed and she gave his exactly what he wanted. The results were scorching hot and very, very beautiful.
Three women, three men, three very different novellas. The tie in between the three was the friendship of the men. Each story was intertwined and effortlessly flowed from one novella to the next without a plot break like so many other anthologies. Megan Hart has penned a gripping and outstanding novel with PLEASURE AND PURPOSE. It was fantastical in its setting but realistic in his characterizations. The hero and heroine of each story shined and quite frankly, that's all I can ask for in a novel. When one makes me think about it after finishing, then I know it is a novel of worth - PLEASURE AND PURPOSE is such a novel. Megan Hart firmly establishes her way onto my keeper shelf with this one!
A small side note - I didn't get this on kindle, where they are charging $11.99 for a download - way more than I would ever want to pay, but I got it in paperback, where it's discounted to under $6. I really do feel that it should never cost more on kindle than it does for a paperback, because there are none of the extra paper costs. But for $6 it's very reasonable and good value.
I didn't really know what the book was about let alone it's a three-in-one. Novellas that is. I love Megan Hart's work. Her characters are fleshed out and realistic. Her style is just...real and gritty. You might not relate to her characters but you oddly find yourself cheering them on.
This first book in the series could be considered historical BDSM lite. The three stories are connected and need to be read in order. <And heck, if you're not into BDSM you just may be once you've read this!>
A wonderful addition to your Megan Hart collection.