Lilith Bresson, an independent, successful young artist, is forced to travel from her home in Spain to the wild borderlands of northern England, to repay her feckless father’s latest debt by painting a portrait of the enigmatic Lady Blaine Albermarle.
On her first night at Albermarle Hall she meets Finn Strachan, Blaine’s ‘companion’, a cultured and hauntingly beautiful young man who seems to have it all. But Lilith has an artist’s eye, and a gift for seeing what lies beneath the skin. She soon discovers that Blaine is more gaoler than lover, and if the price is right, depravity has no limits.
As the weeks pass, Lilith finds that she too is drawn into the malign web that her patron has spun, yet against the odds she forges a strong friendship with the damaged, dysfunctional Finn. In a dark, modern twist to an age-old story, Lilith Bresson proves that sometimes it’s the princess who needs to become the rescuer.
Please note that this storyline contains depictions of drug abuse, violence and non-consensual sexual activity.
Genre - Adult/Romance/Dark Abuse
5 Twistedly Dark, Riveting Stars!
Impossibly To Put Down, Bite Your Nails, Thrilling Yet Disturbing Read!!!
Where do I even start with this review!
Fantastic and brilliant in its grim complexity, The Tied Man is a story of dark abuse in the worse possible way and how if you can just hold on and breath through it, there is an opening at the end of a long, closed off tunnel where hope is not wishful thinking, but a living, vital thing that can help you through the despair. This IS NOT a dark erotic novel as the things that happen in this book can’t be considered consensual or salacious. It IS a romance but NOT in the traditional sense. Two people do come together despite the cruelest of odds but it’s an intense and traumatic test of survival to say the least.
This harrowing journey is not for the faint of heart. It has some severely disturbing scenes of sexual abuse and drug use and I shuddered more than once while poor Finn endured the horrific treatment he was forced into. And though this read was alarming and desolate, I couldn’t put it down. Every step, every chapter, every event had me glued to my e-reader. It was well written, well told and one of the best stories I’ve read this year.
Lilith Bressen with her secret past, is an up and coming artist who’s created controversy with her sexually explicit art and made her name a household taboo. She see’s beyond what normal people can see. She can look past the outer layer, deep into a person’s soul, figuring them out within seconds of meeting them. Some might think she’s psychic, but she knows observation is key when trying to suss-out one’s personality to get to the painting underneath. This is her talent. Along with her perceptiveness, she’s also sharp-witted and sharp-tongued. You can’t help but love Lilith. She’s tough, remarkably strong and her will to survive is resilient. When she meets her match in Blaine, she finds her talents and cleverness outmatched but she doesn’t give up, even when things become unbearably difficult. I wish more female leads had her courage and boldness. She is a total badass!
Finn Strachen is a young man of twenty one. His life started out in the slums of Ireland where reprehensible things happened to him leaving him in the life he now leads. His talent and beauty attract the attention of Blaine, who’s been looking for someone like him for a long time. Once she gets her claws into him, his life is spent trying to survive the worse kind of Hell. I was floored by the stark violence Finn has to endure at the hands of his tormentors. His coping mechanism is a surplus of drugs and alcohol, taking handfuls to numb both the physical and psychological pain he is sentenced to. Shocked and repulsed that a human being could be treated in such disregard had my heart and soul bleeding for Finn. But he finds hope when it seems there isn’t a shred of it left in his life. The story of Finn and Lilith was gripping and heroic. They are survivors!
The detestable Blaine or rather Lady Abermarle as she likes to be called, has made a name for herself in the public eye as a philanthropist, but in her personal and private life, she’s a study in deceit and blackmail as she invites well known and public figures with shockingly contemptible taste and a penchant for the extreme, to play in her dungeon. If they are of use to her, she takes advantage of their weakness and exploits them. She’s evil and she’s vile and she lost her soul a long time ago, leaving her to gain enjoyment from making others suffer. She’s the worse kind of human, more akin to evil than humanity. I wanted nothing more than for her demise to be long and excruciating.
The sub-characters were undeniably entertaining. I loved Henry who was in just as precarious a position as the rest of Blaine’s victims. Nat and Gabriel were a delightful reprieve from the storm and I loved their loyalty even though they wanted the very thing they couldn’t have.
The Wrap Up:
I loved this read. It was heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time. Tabitha McGowen has outdone herself with this book and though there wasn’t really a cliffy at the end, I immediately looked up the author to see if there was a book two or other books by her. But surprise!!! This was her debut book!!! And to my absolute delight, there will be a book two,The Tied Man – Unbound coming soon staring Finn and Lilith. No pub date yet, but….Yay!!! Sign me up, Im in!