Author: Key Barrett
Publisher: Key Barrett Publishing
Publication Date: Jan. 24, 2018
A good story, no matter the genre, should engage your intellect as strongly as it does your emotions. It should make you think as much as it makes you feel. It is when mind and body come together than a story resonates, that it begins to feel significant.
Force of Nature is, I am pleased to say, a very good story. Key Barrett engages the emotions in multiple ways, beginning with the character of Andrew. He is gentle, nurturing, and physically smaller than average, a natural caregiver who all too often finds himself in short-term relationships with women who either want to mother him or be best girlfriends. It’s not that we feel sorry for him, but we certainly emphasize with him. His infatuation with Amelia – Officer Nowicki – is so powerful, we feel his crushing sorrow when some misplaced advice to “be a man” leads to first date disaster.
It’s not just that he blew it, that draws us into their story, it’s that in doing so he hurt her. That’s where the emotional side of this story begins, and it only becomes more significant when we come to understand why Amelia was hurt, how she’s been hurt before, and how difficult it is for her to trust anyone not to hurt her again. We’re not given all the ugly details of her past, just enough to appreciate why she’s so difficult with Andrew, and why she’s incapable of what she believes a ‘normal’ relationship should be. These are two damaged individuals, each of them vulnerable in their own way, hurt too often by others before them, and it is in taking care of Amelia after her work accident that Andrew finds the path to healing them both.
While Andrew certainly has many of the qualities of a natural submissive, not the least of them being his sincere desire to care for Amelia and serve her needs, this does not start out as a story of female domination. Instead, Key Barrett leads his characters to that female-led dynamic as a means of dealing with issues of trust and intimacy, two words that resonate throughout the book. It is a story of small steps, with a relationship that stumbles multiple times along the way, and that’s where it really engages the intellect. We get deep into the psychology of dominant and submissive personalities, with some interesting discussion of the theory behind female-led relationships, and we see them rationalize their way through their fears and inhibitions to find the trust needed to embrace their emotions.
I’d rather not say too much about the erotic elements, because there’s a progression there of behavior and activity that I think needs to be experienced to be appreciated, but what begins with the sensual massage of a twisted ankle eventually finds its way to a penetration that completely reverses the male-female dynamic – and, in doing so, brings them to the trust and intimacy they need to be a couple.
I thoroughly enjoyed Force of Nature but, more importantly, I appreciated it for what it has to say about female-led relationships, gender roles, and the pairing of trust and intimacy.
Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ ♀