TITLE: Bound to be a Groom
HEAT LEVEL: Adults Only, Erotic Content
REVIEW: The first thing that struck me as I began to read Bound to Be a Groom was what a beautifully formatted book it is. I have hundreds of books on my e-reader, and most of them have some sort of formatting error. I’ve grown accustomed to overlooking them, putting them out of my mind. From cover to author bio, this is easily the most beautiful book I’ve downloaded.The story is set in Spain and England in the early years of the Napoleonic Wars – just before Wellington joins up with Spanish partisans to repel the tyrant, who is placing his brother on the Spanish throne. But the heart of the story is the relationships being forged between two convent-raised girls, a Spanish nobleman, and an English Duke.I had a hard time getting into the story, at first. In fact, it was not until almost a third of the way through the book that I really became invested in the characters. This might have been because the beginning of the story concentrates on Anna, who has a tendency to come off as rather cold. It’s not until Sebastian begins to play a greater role that I really began to care about these characters. Sebastian truly is the beating heart of this novel. It is his warmth and willingness to give Anna everything she needs that makes possible everything that follows.
It is the way Ms. Mulry handles the complexity of Sebastian’s character that makes the rest of the book work so well. After Anna, Sebastian, and Pia travel to England, reuniting Sebastian with his former lover, Leigh, the story flows easily and naturally to its entirely satisfying finish. Where the first third of the book often seems forced, the last two thirds are deftly written, with a keen understanding of what makes a healthy D/s relationship – and a healthy polyamorous relationship – work. Where Anna is Dominant, Sebastian is submissive – but he is submissive only in the bedroom, in a way which allows him to maintain all of the power and arrogance of Spanish nobility the rest of the time. Pia is a softer sort of submissive personality, and Leigh is another Dominant. Two Dominants, two submissives, each unique and fully realized in a balanced relationship that demonstrates the author’s skill at characterization. The sex is explicit, and though the Dominants are demanding, they are also very loving toward the submissives. Ms. Mulry has crafted a believable HEA among four very different people.
Ultimately, it was a pleasure to read Bound to Be a Groom. If I had picked this book up and read the first chapter, however, I would not have bought it. And that would have been a shame. For all of my frustration with the beginning of this story, I am very glad that I had an opportunity to read it, and would recommend it to anyone interested in polyamory, bisexuality, or D/s play.