Friday, 12 April 2013

"The Ivy Lessons" by S Quinn: Book Review


Review: SK Quinn's "The Ivy Lessons."


When Sophia wins a post-graduate place at Ivy Drama College, she can't believe her luck. The college is owned by one of the most well-respected young actors in London, Marc Blackwell – who not only founded the college, but teaches the students.

Known for his strict classes and belief in discipline, Marc has a reputation for being arrogant and aloof, yet Sophia soon finds herself drawn to this cold, fascinating young man.

Soon, Sophia is embarking on a journey of sexual discovery that promises to explore all that is forbidden between teacher and student

Review: Surj 

So this was my first "teacher-student" romance novel but it's not the conventional kind by all accounts... nope... throw in a bit of BDSM and it really does take the book way out there.

I enjoyed reading this book because it wasn't a typical formulaic romance where boy meets girl, romance blossoms, throw in a few issues and they live happily ever after. Theirs was a complex story and not just because he was her teacher.

Marcs' character is complicated and as the story unfolds, we get a hint of a past he desperately wants to forget. Initially he comes across as cold, arrogant and completely unemotional. However, as a teacher, we see a very different side. He is encouraging, supportive and even caring at times:

"You are what you believe you are. If you believe you're not good enough, then you'll fail. Here, at my college, I make sure everyone believes in themselves".

Marc also likes control... in all aspects of his life whether that be in the classroom or the bedroom: 

"You'll do what you're told, and feel what I want you to feel. I'm in charge"

Yup, Marc Blackwell likes his "kinky f**ckery" and not just at home.... in the limo, at the Globe theatre and even in his stationary cupboard (lol). We see canes, ropes and even a slipper (oh how very English!!!)

But when he meets Sophia, his control starts to slip. Marc has always had emotions under check, completely and utterly but the minute their paths cross, we see a change:

"I'm not used to this", says Marc. "I'm always in control. One hundred percent.
And with you just then.... "

He just can't help himself around Sophia although we do see an internal struggle: should he cross that teacher -student line? Should he allow himself to lose control?

Sophia is inexperienced in life. She has spent of her time growing up looking after her father and if not her father, then his new wife and her new baby brother. Going to The Ivy College gives her a new lease of life and gives her the independence to do what she wants. Sophia wants Marc and the attraction is there almost immediately. She knows he is difficult, superior even (and not just as a teacher) but she is drawn to him.

With Marc, Sophia gets to experience a whole new side of life. He teaches her how to bare her sole... and completely and utterly expose herself as an actress without any inhibitions:

"A good actor is always perfectly in control, but totally exposed. That's what makes
makes it such a difficult profession. To show your sole to millions of people,
but without losing yourself in the process".

Let's just say when he teaches Sophia these lessons, it's definitely not in a classroom situation!!!!  Marc is very clear about what he can offer Sophia and its definitely not the holding hands, kissing and cuddling kind of romance most her age would crave:

“If you want hearts and flowers, walk away right now”, says Marc. “You’re a beautiful, innocent girl who any man would want. If I were you, I’d run a million miles from a man like me. But I know I can give you what you need. What you’ve asked for. I know I can bring out of you so much more. Teach you things you’ll like. Things no man has ever taught you before”.

Sophia also has to deal with internal struggles when it comes to Marc.  Part of her knows a teacher – student relationship is wrong (despite their ages) but she wants him. We see a lot of confusion and fear when it comes to the development of their relationship. She’s delving into a world she has no experience of and this is frightening. At times, there is vulnerability and even humiliation but if she searches deep down, this path is one she wants to take:

“You could have said no,” says Marc. “At any time. But you didn't want to. 
If you don’t have any self control, perhaps we need another lesson in that area”.

Although we see Sophia as a submissive, she is desperate for Marc to open up, show emotion and let go of his own inhibitions. And this is where she has control. Sophia  makes Marc feel things he has never allowed himself to feel.  

Marc has always been very considerate of the consequences of their relationship. He has always offered Sophie a way out knowing that once their relationship is revealed, her life will never be the same. He’s even been willing to give up teaching for her. But will Sophia give up everything to be with Marc?

If you’re looking for something a little different, then this is definitely for you. Hearts and flowers it’s not. Marc Blackwell is not likely to make you swoon… he will make you feel all hot and bothered though.  At times a cold shower might come in handy!!!

I have given this book  4 Hearts.

I loved it but would have liked to have seen just a little bit more in terms of the emotional connection develop in their relationship before they decided to go public. Loved the ending…. Can’t wait for book two.

“Where The Ivy Grows” which is out on Sunday 14th April 2013.

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