Review: Passion and Penance by Lana Cordova

passion and penanceReviewed by Joanna

The premise for this book caught my interest out of the sea of requests we receive – a woman taking a housekeeping role in a mansion to pay for her final year studies, the hot twin brothers who live there who both take an interest in her, then her having to make a choice between them whilst exploring the different kinks they have. It sounded empowering and it piqued my interest. Sadly, it didn’t maintain it.

Emily’s our heroine and there must be something weird about her as whenever she goes out in public, people are really mean. She arrives at the train station to start her new job, but the people there assume she must be at the wrong stop. Do American train stations work that way? You can only use certain ones if you’re of sufficient class? Idk. So Emily tries to move her suitcase and is mortified when it bursts open, flinging her big pink vibrator across the waiting room. As she’s hurriedly tidying this and her underwear away, she finds the head housekeeper of her new job has turned up and witnessed her mishap.

The head housekeeper is not impressed but fortunately, the brothers she’s working for don’t share the same opinion. Emily finds Joel in the servants’ quarters where he’s just been screwing one of the other staff members. He makes a move on her which she manages to resist. Next she meets Jackson and finds she’s instantly into him, as he seems to be in her.

Emily is then set to scrub a bathroom for the rest of the day, which she finds most upsetting. Joel comes along and makes the other servants take over the dirty work so he can seduce Emily in his greenhouse. He tells her of a mythical drink he makes from orchids which enables prolonged love-making with multiple orgasms. Emily’s head is turned, but she’s not so easily led. She still likes beautiful but remote Jackson, having spent a whole minute with him earlier. Luckily Jackson’s completely fallen for her and takes her out to meet the local governor that evening. In a helicopter. Wearing diamonds he magicked up just for her. And a beautiful gown with a gossiping maid to help her dress. The maid gives her intel into the family and we find out the twins had a rough upbringing and that’s why they are the way they are.

During the evening, Emily agrees to become Jackson’s personal assistant by day and sexual servant by night. He wants to dominate her and she has to learn how to behave, as well as call him ‘Master’. But she’s also attracted to Joel, though she tries to deny it.

Jackson wants to tie her up and not have sex with her. Joel wants to be her lover, with all his special drink and harem of women and his psychic sex god way of making love. What’s a girl to do? Stick with her love (of 24 hours), or go to his brother?

Now I was hoping this would be empowering, but it really wasn’t. Case in point – Jackson sends Emily off with his credit card to buy her a new wardrobe. She goes along with this and in an extreme version of pretty woman, as soon as she walks in the high end boutique the assistant assumes she’s a thief and orders security to clap her in irons. Another example of how strangely Emily is treated by people. Luckily in this circumstance Joel ‘saves’ her and even more incredibly, for the sake of a pretty dress or twenty, she continues shopping in the store.

There’s actually a fair amount of disempowering of Emily as well as other women in this book. Joel sleeps with the female staff like it’s part of their job description. Then we have the way Jackson treats Emily – I get the master/servant kink but the degree of control seemed more about his cruelty than her pleasure. He patronizes her, tells her she can’t look at Joel; he’s jealous and passively dominating, he exposes her to his staff and Joel (naked whilst dinner is being served).

Then Emily doesn’t really do herself any favors. She’s pretty violent and tries to hit both of the brothers on different occasions. Sometimes randomly. This bothered me.

I also had issues with the pace and the timeline. So much happened, was decided and cemented in the first two days. E.g. He’s given me so much, I’m just a housekeeper, will he ever sleep with me or is he too messed up? Our mental separation is driving me crazy.

Quote – “What if I never learn to behave the way my master wants?”

She met him yesterday.

Jackson throws a hissy fit and accuses Joel of sleeping with Emily, via the power of his mind. Jackson then dumps his love and leaves on a helicopter to go to Iraq. Then the kindly servant has a lovely chat with Emily and basically gives her permission to sleep with both brothers if she wants – as one can’t love and the other loves too much. Then the poor dear drops down dead to the floor. Okay. Oh, and Jackson doesn’t really go to Iraq, he hides out and watches Emily have sex with Joel.

Then a whole load of plot happens in the last 20% or so, some of which it would’ve been better to know earlier rather than later.

There is a little bit of kink sex. It’s mostly orgasm denial from one brother and tantric sex from the other. Beautiful sacred space meets wand of light. But the sex scenes seem to be abbreviated and never really get going.

Overall if you like a bit of kink and a choice of guys and don’t mind missing out on story, this could work for you. But this book was not for me.

Rating: D

Click to purchase: Amazon

Passion and Penance
by Lana Cordova
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Torquere Press

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