The review below was by Pam Turner, and originally appeared on the Amazon website on January 9, 2012. She awarded The Pianist four stars.
(Disclaimer: I am no expert in the BDSM lifestyle and my opinions are only my own.)
Reading BDSM-themed books is sometimes difficult because of the misunderstanding about the lifestyle. In certain author’s hands, the dominant-submissive relationship becomes nothing more than a thinly veiled excuse for violence and abuse.
Happily, Erika Moran’s The Pianist manages to avoid this potential disaster and is a rather sweet yet erotic tale of a young woman who learns not only to be a submissive to her husband but finds a talent and an unexpected life-changing experience as well.
When The Pianist begins, Kristina is a spoiled trophy wife of investment banker Jack Blackthorne. Jack’s first wife, Jan, a concert pianist, passed away and Kristina wants badly to fill that missing part in his life. So she asks for piano lessons. Not only does he buy her a nearly $100,000-dollar instrument, he pays for her lessons.
The problem? Kristina cannot abide being told what to do. She’s rude, selfish, and arrogant until Jack decides to utilize some disciplinary action – BDSM style. After having Kristina agree to a set of rather harsh rules, he calls upon Mrs. Collins, a piano teacher who wields a mean hairbrush.
As mentioned above, BDSM is more than inflicting pain and control. Jack is a dominant, as are Mrs. Collins and Dani, a fellow Dom at the BDSM club he frequents. Kristina is unaware of her husband’s past. But she knows she wants to please him. As she’s introduced into the world of a submissive, she discovers new aspects of her personality, including an awakening of more intense sexuality and an understanding of others.
Kristina grows from a spoiled young woman to one who is self-assured and talented. Erika doesn’t make her journey easy. Kristina struggles to reconcile her normal personality with the one her husband demands. But she goes along with his wishes, indicating a willingness to think of others before herself.
One thing should be made clear. Even though Kristina is spanked and quite often, she consents to her punishments. From what I understand in my limited knowledge of BDSM, the relationship between the submissive and the dominant is a complicated one, not only for the rules but also for what each brings to the relationship.
But I digress. As for Jack, I found him to be a stern taskmaster but one who loved his wife and wanted to bring out the more positive aspects of her personality. He also makes it very clear to Kristina how her life will change once she agrees to his conditions. But while Jack is in control of the relationship, he never abuses that authority.
I would have liked to have seen perhaps a bit more development in Jack’s struggle to deal with Jan’s death. Jan becomes a foil, a contrast between her discipline and Kristina’s lack thereof. However, I appreciate Ms. Moran did not allow Jack to wallow in self pity nor play Svengali to Kristina.
That said, The Pianist isn’t perfect. There are a few grammatical and spelling errors and a couple of times a character’s name changes. But those are minor quibbles. Overall, I found The Pianist to be a rather sweet erotic story. Granted, BDSM isn’t for everyone, but if you’re willing to read such a tale, this might be a good choice.