Friday, March 2, 2018

Book Review: 'The Gilded Cage' by Lauren Smith

Oklahoma author Lauren Smith comes to her second career (she is an attorney) with a rich background of experience: a native Oklahoman, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from Oklahoma State University, studies at Cambridge, in Ireland and in China, and two law degrees from both the University of Detroit-Mercy in Michigan and the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. By day she is an intellectual property attorney in Tulsa and by night she pens highly awarded novels of about every variation of Romance conceivable. As she has stated `Mankind has mastered many secrets of the universe, but the secrets of love are too vast and deep to be solved so easily. I write about romance to explore the mysterious and beautiful power of love. What better way to do this than to explore stories on the page?'

With a fine sense of creating suspense and backstory, repeating her technique she used in Book 1, Lauren opens her book with a newspaper clipping: ` It has been four months since 8-year-old twin boys Fenn Lockwood and Emery Lockwood were kidnapped from their home in Weston Island during a garden party parents Miranda and Elliott Lockwood were hosting at the Lockwood family home. One month ago, Emery Lockwood saw found and returned home. Police and the FBI have been unable to determine the fate of Fenn Lockwood. No body or a crime scene have been discovered and Emery Lockwood is not responsive to questioning due to suffering from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It seems the fate of the beloved little boy Fenn Lockwood may never be known. --New York Times, October 1990 Yet when Chapter One begins we find Fenn (now using the name Smith as a surname) as a broncobuster in a rodeo. And we learn that Emery Lockwood is bonded to the BDSM club called the Gilded Cuff! `The Gilded Cuff was the only place where someone could get access to Emery. The man had lived like a veritable recluse since the abduction. He needed his world to be shaken up. He'd spent twenty-five years hiding, hurting and suffering alone. Hayden knew it was time for him to move on with his life. She had known from the start the sort of person Sophie was: kind, compassionate, a warrior for justice and the right woman to break down Emery's walls. Hayden viewed her role as the instigator of their relationship and saw it as a winning success, since the two were as tight as a pair of lovebirds now.' And it is just this sort of turn of events in which Lauren excels - the surprise that the twins survived, changed, and have encountered strong women - all tied to the BDSM life. And she understands and writes eroticism well indeed!

Lauren's synopsis of the plot is seductive: `: Passion that takes no prisoners, and love that tests the limits of ecstasy. Fenn Lockwood comes alive in the shadows. Though he might have physically survived the kidnapping that stole his childhood, the trauma and pain he lived through have marked him forever. Now the only place where Fenn can be himself is within the walls of his private BDSM world-a place of erotic obsession, where desire isn't just captured . . . it's bound.
Hayden Thorne knows that behind Fenn's hardened exterior is a man worth fighting for. Yet to save him from the past that still haunts him, Hayden will have to abandon every inhibition she's ever had and venture into Fenn's intoxicatingly sensual world. Each tantalizing second she spends in Fenn's searing embrace is more delicious than the last and soon Hayden begins to think that she may never want to leave such torturous bliss'.

Lauren Smith knows her territory and writes very well. This is a romance author at her best - one with polished skill as well as the legal background to boost her books into the wholly credible range. The continuing aroma of success mounts! Grady Harp, June 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.