Rating: 5 stars
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New York Times bestselling author Alexander Montgomery lives every single day with the past weighing him down. In order to assuage the guilt and the pain of that time in his life, Alex pays for therapy and for punishment in the form of a sadist. He’s been under Eric’s care for two years and there are days that he thinks he can see the light at the end of the long tunnel, but other days he’s unsure if he will ever be normal, unsure if he would be able to ever sustain a regular, healthy relationship. When his most recent series is picked up to be a television show, Alex takes on a challenge of once again being in the public eye, something he’s not at all comfortable with.
Enter Chris Sage – the tall, dark, and handsome new lead for the television series. Sage is everything that Alex wants but is afraid to let himself have. After all, how can he understand Alex’s need for punishment by another man? But the attraction is immediate, and Alex finds himself growing more comfortable with Sage as time goes by, opening up bit by bit.
Spending time with Sage day in and day out is wearing on Alex’s defenses until he finally tells Sage his dark BDSM secret. Unsure how to deal with the needs of Alex, but wanting nothing more than to take care of the man, Sage agrees to take their relationship one day at a time. Jealousy, fear, and guilt take a toll on their budding relationship. And in the midst of getting to know one another on a personal and intimate level, a series of events targeting the characters of the show threatens the lives of their loved ones. All the while, Alex is faced with his most difficult decision – choose between seeing a man that helps him forget about his past if only for a moment and staying with the only man he’s ever opened up to, ever let himself love.
Well, I’m not even sure where to start. Do I tell you of the characters? The beautifully broken Alex and his painful past? The perfectly imperfect Sage and his fear-filled insecurities? Do I tell you of the dark and seedy world that Alex has traversed? Do I tell you of the amazing storytelling that convinced me that I didn’t really need sleep? I’m really not sure where to start. So I will lead with this. I loved this book. I loved it so much that I shall hide it away to read again on a rainy day (or a snowy day, as of late). I loved it so much that I will tell you this is a book that you must read.
Saving Alexander is a book about Alexander Montgomery. Alex’s life, his past, is worthy of this story. He is broken and guilt-ridden. He lives with a pain, with a guilt that is so hard to cope with that he seeks a physical pain to balance it out, or at least to help him forget. He is an amazingly complex character. On one front he is hopeful that he will be able to move past his dark place. He wants to be normal. He wants to have friends and relationships. But on the other front, he is certain that he will never be able to see himself in any kind of normal setting. He is soft and vulnerable, yet hard and jaded. He’s quite possibly one of my very favorite characters ever.
Then Chris Sage comes along. Sage is strong and confident. He is a rock. The man others look to for stability and peace. And truly, he’s pretty much a saint. His patience and forgiveness. His understanding and protectiveness. Sage is the perfect balance to Alex’s self-debasement. But Sage is not perfect. He’s jealous and insecure at his weakest moments. And those vulnerabilities create cracks in the beautiful relationship between him and Alex. But when Alex and Sage are good, they are so, so good. And that’s what makes their relationship one that I was cheering for the entire time.
I was worried when I first started reading because sadism and masochism is not my thing. But Mac Nichol does a great job of describing the need, the craving for what is being done. Even in describing the rules and control. She also goes as far as to explain her writing and S & M in the Author’s Note at the end of the story, which I appreciate. My eyes were open to some things, not that I understand S & M, but I get the basics. Rape is also a large part of this book. No, it’s not described in detail, but it is presented in a painful way, one in which I felt deep hurt for the characters. Also, torture and abuse (not of an BDSM nature but in cruelty born of evilness) takes a large role in this novel. Yes, I understand these are all very difficult subjects, but this author presents them in a way that holds the least offense possible while still presenting a storyline that projects pain and hurt in a way that readers feel as if they were sitting next to the characters.
Finally let me tell you of storytelling so captivating I lost sleep. When I read the first couple of chapters of this book, I wasn’t sure what all of the hype was about. Yes, the guy felt he needed to be punished. Yes, he was attracted to the big, beautiful actor. But I was beginning to feel that there wasn’t going to be a strong connection between the two. But there is. Just keep reading. The story really picks up by the third chapter and after that just hold on. It’s a story of twist and turns, highs and lows. It’s emotional and crazy at times. And not just the romance. The mystery side is amazing. Mac Nichol gives readers a story that is beautiful and scary. A romance and mystery that keeps readers on their toes and wanting more and more until the very last word. It’s breathtaking and wonderful.
This is the first book I’ve read from Susan Mac Nichol, but it won’t be the last. I loved every facet of this story from the characters to the dark, painful subjects, from the fear to the passion. It’s amazing. I look forward to what this author has for her readers in the future. I highly recommend Saving Alexander by Susan Mac Nichol.