This is an outstanding and engrossing story, which I cannot praise highly enough. It starts with a rather disturbing scene with all the main protagonists - the Paulson family - introduced together. While I was still digesting what I had just read, the story then took us back five years to set the scene in context.
The meeting of the h and h, David and Kat, is innocuous they meet in grad school and become lab/study partners. The story unfolds in quite an inventive manner with chapters alternating between the past and present and from David's perspective, then Kat's. One of the things I especially liked about this book is that running parallel to David and Kat's story and their fledgling D/s relationship is the abusive relationship between David's downtrodden mother and his bully of a father. Although 'bully' seems a rather inadequate word to describe what the man is. We suspect in the beginning that David is possibly going to go down the abusive road in his interactions with women but when he meets Kat as he himself says she 'completes him'.
I thoroughly recommend this book as an excellent first read if you want to try a book about a BDSM relationship. It is not an extreme, 24/7 total power transfer one so there is none of the objectification, humiliation, branding and name calling stuff involved - the latter of which always particularly rankles with me. The couple are equals in their marriage and in intellect but it is in the bedroom (or their playroom) that Kat's submissive tendencies come to the fore. It is actually she who is instrumental in pushing the relationship in that direction. They adhere to the safe, sane, consensual principle, have a working system of safe words etc. why even the collar David gives her sounds attractive!
A character called Cody, an experienced Dom, becomes a kind of mentor to David and is the means through which David and, I suppose if necessary, the reader also, learns about the lifestyle.
Alongside this there is great drama involving David's parents, which I will not go into as it would give away way too much. I will only say it was dramatic and involving and you may find yourself raising a silent cheer.
I felt like I had been on an emotional roller coaster by the end but content at the outcome and glad that I read the book.