*I received a free copy of The Queen from Harlequin MIRA via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *
Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Once upon a time, Nora and Søren made a fateful deal—if he gave her everything, she would give him forever.
The time has finally come to keep their promises.
Out of money and out of options after her year-long exile, Eleanor Schreiber agrees to join forces with Kingsley Edge, the king of kink. After her first taste of power as a Dominant, Eleanor buries her old submissive self and transforms into Mistress Nora, the Red Queen. With the help of a mysterious young man with a job even more illicit than her own, Nora squares off against a cunning rival in her quest to become the most respected, the most feared Dominatrix in the Underground.
While new lovers and the sweet taste of freedom intoxicate Nora, she is tempted time and time again by Søren, her only love and the one man who refuses to bow to her. But when Søren accepts a new church assignment in a dangerous country, she must make an agonizing choice—will the queen keep her throne and let her lover go, or trade in her crown for Søren's collar?
With a shattering final confession, the last link in the chain is forged in The Original Sinners saga. It's the closing chapter in a story of salvation, sacrifice and the multitude of scars we collect in the name of ecstasy—and love.
The Queen definitely does tie up loose ends, and it also shows the spectacular talent Ms. Reisz has with words… Everything Kingsley, Nora and Søren went through was worth it – because through all the heartache and pain, the found themselves, and each other, again.
My The Queen review:
While I am very sorry the Original Sinners series is over now, what a way to go! The Queen continues just after the end of The Virgin, however, most of the story folds out as a story Nora tells Søren, with only glimpses to the present. As always, Ms. Reisz’s storytelling is far above par, it’s always amazing to me how involved I have become in these characters, and how connected to them I feel – even if they are all so very different from me, and I definitely don’t always like them! In this story, Nora tells Søren about how she became the most famous dominatrix in New York, and everything she had to do and deal with in order to make it. With both a lot of practice, a bit of cunning, some threats and extraordinary skills, Nora became something she hadn’t even dreamed of thanks to King and other people helping her.
Having the story weave the past and the present together the way The Queen worked made it even more compelling to me. Because even if there were some things that I knew had to work out somehow, because of the present time, the excitement of reading about this past that brought Søren, King and Nora together is like a precious gift. And seeing how far Nora was ready to go to make sure Søren would be safe, and continue to be a priest, made me respect her even more than I did before. She was not afraid to make difficult decisions in order to achieve all her dreams, and that is not something everybody can say. Working out her own troubles while also looking out for the people who had become her family made Nora even stronger, though, and it made her see that love comes in mysterious ways as well.
The strong ties between Nora, Søren and King had almost been severed in the past, mostly because of Søren, but because the three of them were all so stubborn, and had such a strong sense of loyalty towards each other, they ultimately managed to have some serious talks to make their relationships functional once more. There are more secrets unveiled in The Queen, and the trust needed to open up the way these characters did is also something that really touched me. Because trust is such an important part of every relationship – if there is no trust, or not enough trust – a relationship cannot move forward in any way, but will either disappear or become intolerable for all involved.
Written in past tense, third person point of view and mostly from Nora’s perspective, The Queen managed to bring all the loose ends together without making the end of The Original Sinners too tidy or seem like something that was easy to manage. My melancholy over the end of one of my favorite series is still strong a month after I finished reading it, and I know this is one I am going to re-visit in the future. And to think I almost didn’t start this series because of the BDSM theme – I am so happy I went out of what I thought was my comfort zone so I could meet these characters and follow their story over several decades to my delight. My emotions were all over the place, from happy to sad, from angry to calm, and of course there were a lot of both beautiful and some slightly uncomfortable moments. If you haven’t started reading The Original Sinners yet, you really should! Now that all the books have been released, you can stay in this complex world for a good while, and just enjoy being taken on a journey that is different from all other bookish journeys I have ever been on.
Some of my favorite The Queen quotes:
After one deep breath, Nora stepped through the open doors and did the one thing she’d sworn she would never do – she walked down the aisle of a church in a wedding dress toward Søren, who waited for her at the altar.
Yes, Kingsley had forced all the staff and the guests to sign non-disclosure agreements, but that was no guarantee word wouldn’t leak that a certain well-respected Jesuit priest passionately kissed a fairly notorious dominatrix at a wedding in Scotland.
“You don’t really think I’m a sociopath, do you?” “You have a conscience. But you know what they call a sociopath with a conscience?”
It sounded like the setup to a joke so Elle took the bait.
“No, what do they call a sociopath with a conscience?”
“They call her ‘Mistress.'”
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: