Colonel Phineas Reginald Bainbridge, the Duke of Stratham, knows how to break a man and leave him a trembling wreck. It’s a talent that Finny has put to good use, as his bank account and vast international holdings reflect. Finny assumes that Captain Everett Palmer will be no different than any other man who has buckled beneath his whip. He fully expects that Palmer will confess to setting off a bomb at the local military base and therefore Finny’s customers will see their contract satisfied.
Everett carries a terrible guilt from the detonation accident that killed more than twenty of his men. He craves pain and absolution, but he has little understanding of his deeper desires. Finny discovers that Everett’s thirst for dominance perfectly meshes with his need for submission and securing a confession is no longer important. Finny realizes that with Everett he has found a true equal and together they can mend the hurts of the past. But in Finny’s business, one doesn’t just walk away from a contract, not without repercussions. As Finny and Everett begin to trust one another and explore the nature of their relationship, unseen enemies threaten to destroy everything.
I really struggled with Submit for Redemption: Submission. More than once I walked away from the book only to force myself to pick it up again. I tend to enjoy novels that focus on D/s relationships, but so much of Submit for Redemption: Submission fell short of expectation.
I will give the authors kudos for creating a generally well-written work. The narrative flows smoothly enough, though occasionally the characters dialogue strays towards the overly dramatic. There is very little rising action, but the book moves steadily and doesn’t often drag. Unfortunately any other positives became pretty hard to find, at least for me.
The plot is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Finny and Everett meet and over the course of a weekend they end up falling in love and proclaiming their need for one another. Their relationship evolves at warp speed and despite their declarations to the contrary, I never believed anything remotely realistic existed between them. I realize that leniency must be given for fiction, but this story travels so far past the realm of believability as to be rendered absurd. The book ends abruptly and there is a sequel, but most of the conflicts in the first installment are resolved through coincidence or happenstance, neither of which is very appealing. The other conflicts are left dangling, presumably to be resolved in the sequel.
Finny and Everett both had potential, but the same lack of realism that crippled the plot trips up most of the characters as well. Everett initially comes to Finny’s seeking punishment to handle his guilt, but after two sessions within a 24-hour period, his guilt is completely resolved and never dealt with again. The idea that someone with that kind of damage could move past it so quickly strains credulity. Additionally Everett seems almost wholly uninformed about the BDSM lifestyle, but over a long weekend is perfectly willing to quit his job as a Ranger and sign a master/sub contract with Finny. I appreciate that the authors attempted to demonstrate how well suited these characters were for one another but it just isn’t believable. Nothing takes me out of the narrative quicker than characters that seem so far removed from reality as to become caricatures rather than creations with whom I can actually connect. There are a handful of secondary characters that seem to serve no purpose beyond initiating Everett into his life with Finny. Habib is perhaps the most well rounded of these and the most interesting, but the others add very little to the plot and tend to clutter scenes rather than enrich them.
The bad guys are numerous and evil in a truly despicable way. Initially Finny is one of them, but his darker side is whitewashed almost as soon as he meets Everett. Which leaves a host of men who enjoy torture and blood, not within the context of supportive S/M relationships, but simply because they can. There is a meaningless and cruelty behind their actions that both repels and rings false, because they lack depth and dimension. They’re just thugs we’re told we should loathe and we do but for all the wrong reasons.
Submit for Redemption: Submission had potential but an unbelievable plot, uninspired and silly characters, and an overall level of ridiculousness left it sadly lacking. I’d have to recommend giving this one a pass.