I must admit: I’m a fan. As I’ve once admitted to Ms. Reisz on Twitter: “I want to be you when I grow up”.
The Prince follows directly after The Angel. Nora goes with Wesley to Kentucky to try and work out her relationship with her young, virgin protégé. Back in Connecticut, Soren and Kingsley return to the site of their teenage relationship and discover a secret that endangers Nora.
This book develops through three major parts: Soren and Kingsely as teenagers, Soren and Kingsley now, and Nora and Wesley in Kentucky trying to be together.
To be honest, I was much more interested in the Soren and Kingsley sections than I was with Nora and Wesley. Their relationship is cute, but I have my doubts that Nora will really find happiness with him. A kinkster with a totally vanilla boy? While I get that Nora finds relief from the constant demands of a BDSM relationship, and that it might be a nice vacation for her, it’s obvious that she can’t just choose to be vanilla. She is too wild and too assertive to repress this important part of herself. Wesley, as nice and rich and cuddly and innocent as he is, cannot satisfy her forever. He only answers to part of her needs, and I think that Nora needs a more… varied sex diet.
Soren and Kingsley, however, have a relationship that’s just as interesting and tangled as the one between Nora and Soren. They truly are the holy trinity of New York’s underground, with Soren at the top and Nora and Kingsley both, literally, at his feet. Their story is just as heartbreaking and beautiful as that between Soren and Nora, and it’s truly worth reading through. There is no judgement anywhere in the book, nothing to make us feel like their relationship was somehow wrong or unclean. It felt… purifying.
This is the most brilliant insight of this book, and of this series in general: that love is complicated and that it isn’t the safe and sanitary thing of romance novels. Sex and love are messy and painful, but they are also exquisitely beautiful and a truly human thing that needs to be embraced fully. No puritanical bullshit anywhere here: just love in a variety of expressions.
I can’t stop thinking about Bernini’s sculpture of St. Theresa of Avila, where an ecstatic Theresa is about to be pierced by the arrow of God’s love. Nora and Kingsley and Soren are all in this tableau, constantly re-enacting this original ecstasy and never able to reach it again, always grasping for God’s pure, unadulterated love that none of them felt in their life, except through pain. The books expose a truth that very few of us ever get to experience, or even believe is possible: that pleasure can come from pain, and that both of them opens up the most direct path to God. The Hindus got it right, but Christian asceticism has shut it out of our culture. That Soren is a Catholic priest, Nora the daughter of a nun and Kingsley religious in his own way simply make this argument more poignant.
I’m waiting, definitely with bated breath, for the final part of the series, titled The Mistress, to be published on August 1st. Too long, way too long, Tiffany! But expectation is the best part of pleasure, and we will wait for yours, because this cliffhanger of an ending really sets the stage for an explosive finale.