Publisher: Loose Id
Length: 193 Pages
Characters: Jade Swift, Marcus Wynterbourne
POV: First person
Scene Setting: Victorian England
Sub Genre: BDSM
Book Cover Rating: 4
Jade Swift has always wanted a man to fall madly in love with him and make him his own. He wants to be mastered. When he meets Marcus Wynterbourne, a dominant man with a passion for the whip, it is love at first sight.
Marcus is an MP, gay, and trying to live as freely as he can in 1885 when his sexuality’s not tolerated and his association with the beautiful Jade leads to rampant speculation. Hurt by a past betrayal, and unable to accept Jade’s loyalty because of his flirtatious nature, he casts Jade out of his house.
But Jade loves his Master and wants only to please him. Determined, he will do what he must to win his Master’s trust and restore his reputation amongst others who would ruin him.
I’m going to begin this review with a disclaimer of sorts. I believe that one’s ability to enjoy Precious Jade will hinge solely on one factor and that is whether the reader is capable of sympathizing with its narrator, Jade Swift. If one doesn’t find Jade to be a fascinating character, I don’t believe his story will resonate on any level.
Jade is an eighteen year old boy, a boy who seems content to be the eternal boy. He is a product of an unconventional lifestyle, being raised by a single mother in the theatrical atmosphere of a time when propriety and social standing was a significant factor in where one fit in. Jade and his mother still share the same bed, and while she encourages Jade to leave her and set out on a course for a better life, it becomes evident that she has left him entirely unprepared for independence. With the voice of an angel as a very young boy, Jade sang and was adored by his audience, until he reached puberty and lost both his singing voice and the accolades. Jade has been objectified by his beauty. He is, at once, vain and insecure, innocent and worldly, foolish and perceptive. He is a boy with a submissive heart and an insolent nature, and it’s this contrast that leads to Jade’s ultimate downfall.
Securing a position as secretary to Marcus Wynterbourne, Jade soon finds himself infatuated by the domineering and older man. Marcus is a Master, a Dom who lives as openly as he’s capable during a time when the gross indecency laws of Victorian England made blatant homosexuality a crime. Breaking convention, Marcus has refused to marry for the sake of public appearances, and the rumors of his lifestyle flow rampantly, threatening his position as a Member of Parliament. Recognizing Jade’s submissive nature and compelled by his beauty, Marcus proposes a contract that would allow Jade to become, not only his submissive, but his slave. During the three month trial period, Jade will not only be trained in his position but must also abide by certain demands, one of which is that he must be entirely faithful to his Master, foregoing any other physical relationships. For a boy who claims to be in love with his Master, this should have been a simple directive; however, for a boy who frequently participated in sexual activity as a source of income, and who seems to see himself more object that man, he soon finds that a poor decision and a moment of indiscretion leaves the contract broken and Jade cast out of his Master’s life. When Marcus finds himself in danger of being outed and ostracized, Jade determines to find a way to save his former Master from losing his standing.
I found Precious Jade to be a fascinating character study. Jade’s actions frequently contrasted his words, leading the reader to believe that he is the puer aeternus, the boy who is the eternal child, but he doesn’t find himself dreading being bound by it, rather he longs for it in the most literal way. He yearns for a Master who will fulfill his need to be dominated and influenced by a stronger, older man. His need for the pleasure he finds in the pain he receives at his Master’s hand is a direct reflection of his need for self-discipline.
Marcus was a demanding and authoritative man whose aloof and unapproachable nature leaves Jade with the desire to work harder for each and every scrap of praise he can glean from his Master. A painful betrayal in his past leaves Marcus unwilling to trust and unable to give more than a passing affection to his slave.
Fyn Alexander tells the story elegantly, employing a writing style that allows the reader to become absorbed in the imagery of the time-period the story takes place. This book will certainly not appeal to everyone who reads it; I, however, was sincerely impressed by this debut novel, and while I was frequently confounded by Jade’s behavior, it only served to increase the challenge for me to attempt to understand him. That in itself enhanced my enjoyment of this book.