Truth By His Hand, Casey Cameron

Truth By His Hand by [Cameron, Casey]

This is my first book by this author after a few attempts to sign up for ARCs prior to this one.  I was surprised to enjoy this book as much as I did.  Not because of the author's voice, but rather because BDSM is something that I don't read very often due to the fact that I just don't care for this particular element of personality and/or sexuality. The synopsis, however, was intriguing because there was something so innocent and interesting about River's self-discovery. That there was almost a promise that this was more than just an awakening to this particular brand of kink. As fortune would have it, that promise was fulfilled.

River has made more of a truce than a peace with his own idiosyncrasies over the years and fully acknowledges his awkwardness and ignorance regarding kink and where he fits on the spectrum. He's finding his place because he wants to but also because he's been strongly urged to learn the complexities he's drawing in his web comic. All of it fits together, his sexuality and his work, in the realm of BDSM, at least it should, but he needs serious guidance. His friends and acquaintances can only do so much for him. What he needs is a teacher, someone to fill the role he has mentally created for his Dom. Something he learns, very quickly, that it doesn't quite work like that. When you aren't sure of what to do and how to be what you think you are, you can't prescribe roles and then dictate who will fill them. Through a little trial and error River learns that who he thought couldn't teach him is actually the perfect teacher.

My favorite thing about this book is River's introspection and insightful understanding of why he does certain things and the articulation of his thoughts and desires. It made things so very clear and touching when he could get right to the heart of the matter. I imagine that was good for Ellison too, but we only get River's POV in this book, so we infer his pleasure by the descriptions of eye-glinting, smirking versus smiling, and the use of "Good boy". The fact that River knew his own mind made a large portion of this book much easier to swallow because I wasn't constantly second-guessing what he says he wants. This particular issue is addressed a couple of times and rightfully so. I was concerned that there would be a bit of that baby bird imprinting thing going on because emotions, self-discovery, expression, sexuality, and life changes all wrapped up in the experience with one person can result in that, but it was dealt with honesty and decisiveness.

It was interesting to read in this book that everyone involved with River and the group he's getting involved in was so open and fluid in terms of sexual identity. Most books have a few angsty closets and identity crises to address as part of what keeps the MC's from accepting themselves or moving forward together. That was definitely not here. The subject of kink is also open and bold and any negative stigma is mostly downplayed or discussed quickly and promptly dismissed. Focus is instead on River's particular difficulties. That seemed a bit simplistic but I didn't really mind too much because my attention could remain solely on River and Ellison's journey.

Overall, I was happily surprised to find that I enjoyed what I read. The book was much, much longer than I anticipated but the length was appropriate for the subject matter and giving enough attention to everything River was experiencing and learning and processing. I enjoyed the conclusion and how he and Ellison came together despite all their struggles with barriers and expectations. Educational, insightful, frustrating, and liberating. A really great read.

 Truth By His Hand, Casey Cameron

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