This is definitely going to be a mixed review. In Helen’s Hands by Nanisi Barrett D’Arnuk tells the story of Mickey, a young classically trained pianist who meets her idol, Helen Robins, a world famous jazz pianist. Mickey goes to work for Helen transcribing her music, and eventually becomes Helen’s submissive. The story is told in the first person POV through Mickey’s eyes.
The technical part of this book is not bad. The story is well written and edited with a good pace. The characters are well defined and fit their roles in the tale.
Unfortunately the content of the story is where I have problems. I like reading a good erotic story as long as I can connect with the characters and there is some romance/love to go along with the explicit sex and BDSM elements. Some of my favorite authors and stories do this well. This book does not. It is an intense BDSM tale with little to no romance or real feelings between the characters other than through the dominant/submissive experience. In fact the first explicit scene seemed more forced than consensual, and came off almost as an assault in my eyes. I need some romance or love between the characters to be able to enjoy a book, and this one did not give me those feelings. There is never any mention of safe sex practices which there should have been with this story. I also did not like the ending to this book. Some folks may not mind it, but I try to avoid novels that end this way.
I’ve rated this book 2.5 stars. I considered moving it up to three on the technical merit, but in the end I decided to leave it at two stars. If you like a well written novel with intense BDSM elements and little romance to speak of, this might be a book for you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good one for me.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.