– by Brenda Murphy
Picked up “Sum Of The Whole” to try after reading an enthusiastic recommendation about Brenda Murphy. I’d never known about Murphy before but I’m glad I stumbled upon AC Miller‘s post on the Lesbian Reading Group on FB.
In “Sum Of The Whole,” I found several things I truly enjoyed. First off, Murphy’s writing style. Not only was her dialogue compellingly honest whilst telling the story, her MC’s internal monologue was written with such candor that the effect was intensely raw, intimate and resonating in an emotional level. Her characters were fascinating because they were complex and layered – just my kind of lesbian characters! 👌 Jaya, very wealthy, used to work in her family’s business – mercenary-for-hire. Yup, total arse-kicking bad-arse past with scars to show for. A Domme. Restless since her “retirement,” she often vacationed at this exclusive BDSM pleasure house called Rowan House, to pass the time. Sarah, on the other hand, worked at Rowan House as a Submissive….to finance her studies!! Two words. MATHS. NERD. 🤓
I’m not well-versed with the BDSM world in the lesbian community. I’ve only recently just learned about the technicalities of a BDSM relationship, i.e. existence of signed contracts (!), D/s arrangements, proper etiquette of a Domme & a Sub, from a couple of lesfic romance novels involving BDSM. Always a set of rules to follow. Different than a “bog-standard” relationship, so to speak. I thought that was it. I was wrong. So naturally, I didn’t know the existence of BDSM pleasure houses, for one. And the ins & outs of a place like that….until this book. I found truly fascinating!
Anyway, Jaya, whilst at Rowan House, fell in love with Sarah and wanted to whisk her away from that life. But, not so fast! Murphy’s Sarah was not this stereotypical submissive. She was feisty, opinionated, strong-willed, goal-oriented and singularly independent. She would never allow another person to bail her out or “save” her. She wanted to be self-sufficient, she wanted to own her own life, on her own terms. Her goal was to pay her way through her studies, without any help. So, Jaya left, heart broken.
Six years went by. Then, out of the blue, they crossed paths again! Talk about destiny, eh? But it was as if no time had passed at all. Their irresistible chemistry was as strong and alive as ever, flaming with desire, their connection as unyielding, if not more, the second time around! And so began their journey back to each other again. I loved that Jaya’s internal monologue was written so openly that I could really feel her sensitivity, vulnerability and insecurities when she was struggling with her growing feelings for and dependence on Sarah. Jaya’s well-placed internal monologue made her dilemma and struggle acutely realistic, with real-time effect. I felt like I was tapping into Jaya’s most intimate emotions, hidden away in the recesses of her mind.
Sarah was one feisty, brilliant bad-arse! A formidable partner for Jaya. She was adamant about having an equal relationship with Jaya even though she was a Sub. She was equally steadfast about being able to support herself financially. I loved her passion. I loved how she was determined to assure Jaya her true feelings and love for her whilst at the same time wanted Jaya to know where she was coming from in terms of her outlook with them as lovers and partners. I loved how Jaya and Sarah’s dominant and submissive characteristics were not mutually exclusive but intertwined and entangled with each other, both sharing either characteristics at different times, thus mutually complementary between them.
I loved that Sarah was not just smart but also keenly philosophical. She was one bad-arse nerd!! 😍😍😍 I absolutely treasured her philosophical mind that was relevant to her professional expertise – MATHS. Case-in-point, me favourite quotes from Sarah…
“I choose zero because it is the nothing that is.”
“I exist as I am because you (Jaya) exist. I exist for you to empty yourself into me. I exist for your desires and your pleasure. I am the nothing that is.”
I exist not only for you but for myself. I am no longer zero.”
“I need to be me for me before I am for anyone else. And I need you to understand this about me.”
SUM OF THE WHOLE:
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We two are infinitely entangled.”
THIS fabulous quote above☝️…Hence, the apropos of the book title!! BRILLIANT, innit!! 👏😃
I love that Murphy went against stereotype when writing and telling a Domme/Sub romance. Equality is KEY. Doesn’t matter if one is a dominant, the other a submissive. If there’s no equality in a relationship, any relationship for that matter, it wouldn’t work. Period. That’s always my belief. And I’m so happy that Murphy outlined that clearly. Equality CAN be achieved in a loving D/s relationship. Just like any other relationship. Hence, it was utterly enthralling to experience, through Murphy’s profoundly candid and heartfelt storytelling, this complicated dance between Sarah and Jaya as they slowly but surely manoeuvred their way through their romance, falling deeper in love with each other and ultimately committing to each other as ONE. One true love. One shared life. Uncompromisngly equal.
I love discovering new things, different lifestyles, situations, etc…So what I got out of this story wasn’t just pure enjoyment but also a little more education & an eye-opening experience about BDSM relationships for me. I just wish the book was longer! 😅
“Sum Of The Whole” is truly a superbly written love story between two individuals from very different backgrounds but shared an incontrovertible affinity with each other. Insightful. Intoxicating. Passionate. Deeply resonating. Intensely erotic. Emotionally satisfying. I will be re-reading Sarah and Jaya’s complex love story, time and again, no doubt about it! 👍
A bloody fantastic read! 🙌
Well done & cheers, Ms. Murphy! 👏
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