Laura has a passion for collecting BDSM lesbian erotica. That passion also extends to her fantasy of becoming a real submissive. She never believed there was a way to translate her desires into real life, until her classmate Adele introduces Laura to her mistress, Jeanne. Laura finds herself a willing, if inquisitive, submissive to Jeanne and is transported to to a new level of sensual bondage, both emotional and physical. Yet while Jeanne shares Laura’s passions for art and sex, Adele is not willing to share her mistress with Laura. As Adele’s jealousy and anger spread through Jeanne’s organization, can Laura find a secure place in this erotic world?
Lesley Gowan’s The Collectors has a good premise: a fantasy-turned-reality erotic relationship. Laura desires the worlds she reads about in her BDSM erotica, and when she finds a way to meet a real mistress through her friend Adele, she takes her up on it and never really looks back. Driven by desire for a dominant, and for Jeanne herself, Laura insinuates herself between Adele and Jeanne as she accepts more and more advanced instruction.
This is the point where I start to fall out of the story. While Laura is an obvious novice, her incessant inquires about process and questions to Jeanne about their relationship are enough to strain the credibility of the storyline, even with the punishments she endures as a result. As a reader of other BDSM-focused writing (I appreciate the reference to Pat Califa’s Macho Sluts, as it was one of my first), I cannot conceive of many dominants allowing this to go on for the amount of time it does in this book. The sex scenes varied between borderline erotic to superficial in description and tone, and that forced me out of the book as well. On top of this, the ending seemed to come out of nowhere, shifting the focus from Laura and her entrance into this world to Jeanne and her administrative struggles.
While I struggled with aspects of the story, Gowan does shine light on one woman’s personal journey into BDSM. Those who can ignore the flaws may find this a good read, but readers looking for immersion into the journey will find it lacking.