by Bertrice Small
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
464 pages; ISBN: 037377026X
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
HQN, Jun 2005, $12.95, 464 pp.
John Swiftsword lives up to his surname as one Hetar’s elite warriors, but will never be recognized as one of the top gun knights because he is too poor to purchase the needed ceremonial insignias and wardrobe to enter the tournament. His wife Susanna, wanting out of poverty, decides to invest in her spouse’s prowess by selling her stepdaughter, a half fairy female. The money they obtain for selling the hauntingly ethereally beautiful Lara would enable John to participate in a tournament and win fame and fortune. Lara would also no longer live the life of a pauper as she would live the life of luxury serving males in a pleasure houses.
Lara seemingly acquiesces as she can become great as a courtesan. However, instead of bringing in the vast fortune her beauty would seem to warrant, jealousy squabbles and fights make Lara worthless. Wanting some profit for the lass, her stepmother sells Lara to the only bidding customer, the forest lords, who abuse and use her beyond human capacity until she escapes. As Lara learns to use fairy magic, she exploits anyone who crosses her path even those with pure souls.
LARA is an exciting romantic fantasy that fans of Bertrice Small’s bondage erotica will appreciate. For others the thought of sexual indentured servitude will prove difficult to accept. The story line makes Hetar seem genuine though a depraved Sodom and Gomorrah. The cast is a nasty lot whether it is her stepmother selling Lara, or her father failing to prevent the sale; even Lara transforms from victim to abuser. Though an intriguing realm, this novel is not for everyone only those who appreciate highly erotic S&M fantasy.
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