Reviewing: Tangled Vows by Anna Stone, Narrated by Lexy Rebe

Content warnings: Homophobia, discussion of poorly handled BDSM relationships, sexual abuse, death of a parent, shitty relatives

My Rating: 3 Books out of 5

Highlights:

  • Marriage of convenience 
  • Sexy ladies in suits
  • Gotta love a ‘whoops we have to pretend to be in love oh no we might actually be in love now’ dynamic 

And although Yvonne had a weakness for women who liked to please her, she had no interest in a woman who wanted to please her for money. Yvonne wanted a woman whose need to serve ran far deeper.


Now on paper this book ticked a lot of my buzzwords. There’s a sapphic relationship, a marriage of convenience, fake dating, high stakes, some sexy times…it just missed the mark for me. 

Ruby is an escort, Yvonne is a rich heiress who can only secure her stake in the company by marrying – something her father thought she would never do, given that marrying women wasn’t legal for her when he died, and Yvonne is a lesbian. Now she’s approaching the deadline of the inheritance and 

Now I am no expert on BDSM culture or practices, for reference, but I do read a lot of Romance novels so it pops up occasionally and I try my best to be educated and understanding in general. This is a sex positive blog and I am not here to yuck anyone’s yum. All of this to preface, of course, the elephant in the room. Or more the BDSM in the book. It made me a tad uncomfortable that Yvonne’s preferences for domination are referred to as ‘twisted’ in a book that does try to discuss how incorrectly BDSM can be handled. It isn’t Yvonne at fault, there is discussion of another relationship where the line between consensual domination and abuse of power was crossed and how this was very wrong. Yvonne herself is so concerned about consent she has multiple contracts about it, always clarifying with Ruby what can and cannot be done, making sure she knows that her consent can be withdrawn at any time, performing aftercare – all the good bits. So why use the word ‘twisted’? It just felt a little jarring to me. 

This book was a real mixed bag for me, and it was made all the more complicated by the fact that I listened to the audiobook. When I listen to a book as opposed to reading it in paper/kindle format, a large part of my experience of that book is – understandably, I feel – shaped by the narrator. There are several books that I felt I enjoyed just that much more because the narrator was just spectacular. Unfortunately, this was not one of those times. The narrator’s voice wasn’t for me, and while I have been very careful to differentiate my views on the book and my views on the narration of the book, it did have an effect on my overall experience. Her narration specifically of Ruby didn’t endear me to the character, but I am a pretty picky audiobook listener. 

Yvonne was a very compelling character to me, coping with her father’s refusal to acknowledge her mixed race heritage or her lesbianism and contractually obliged to spend holidays with a family she knows despises her, fighting to keep hold of the business she loves and support those she cares about. She’s a frosty, isolated character with a heart of cold and we love to see it. That’s not to say I didn’t like Ruby, I did – refusing to be ashamed of her past as a sex worker, struggling to decide what she wants out of life and quite understandably smitten with Yvonne, she uses her more outgoing personality to smooth the transition between Yvonne’s isolation and the outside world. I just wish there was a little more of the fake relationship becomes real feelings bonding for them outside of the bedroom. I also found it a bit odd that a group of friends regularly hung out in a sex club, but then my friends tend to hang out with chips and Mariokart so each to their own I suppose. 

That said if you ever get so drunk you end up marrying a stranger, that’s a bad life choice. Fortunately for Ruby this was a nice rich stranger willing to give her a lot of money but still – drink responsibly kids. 

A three star read for me, this was a book with a lot of promise but not a lot of payoff. Some sexiness but overall not enough chemistry and depth for me! 

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