Asking for It is an erotic, adult novel about a graduate student name Vivienna Charles who lives in fear. She is actually afraid of her own desires and ashamed to admit her fantasies. Her fantasies involve being taken by force–she wants to be completely dominated by a man without any mercy. The male lead, Jonah Marks, learns Vivienna’s secret and he makes her an offer. They’re almost strangers to each other but they meet in secret to fulfill her fantasy and come to an arrangement that is quite twisted.
There is a cliffhanger in the end that is rather frustrating but otherwise this is a well-written novel. It does have plenty of steamy sex scenes but it also has a psychological aspect to the actual plot. I do think it could have worked better as a standalone novel but everyone seems to be aiming for series these days…
Whether people like it or not, some women do have rape fantasies. In reality, though, no woman wants to be actually raped. It’s about being willingly taken by force. Studies have shown even feminist women have rape fantasies, but that does not mean they actually want to be raped or that there is something wrong with them. It’s great that the novel highlights this taboo subject and freely discusses rape fantasies and forbidden love. It was interesting to learn about the root cause behind Vivienna’s fantasies–they stemmed from an ugly part in her life. As the reader, I did fell sympathetic towards her because she felt helpless and could not help her feelings, her desires, and her fantasies.
This is definitely not a read for everyone since the two main characters grapple with desires many would consider shameful and unacceptable. There’s really nothing wrong with being yourself unless it’s harmful physically or emotionally. The romance isn’t non-consensual and does have aspects of intimacy. The rape fantasy aspect exists but the characters are both willing participants.
Asking for It is full of erotic scenes but there is plenty of focus on character development. I think the romance between the characters will likely be further developed in the sequel.
Benish Khan has her B.A in Psychology and Religion from the University of New York. She’s a psychologist and artist by day, and a bookworm by night. She currently blogs at feministreflections.com.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.