An ENE Review of the novel
Power Exchange by Madeleine Oh


Reviewed by JZ Sharpe


What would happen if you blended a typical contemporary romance with a bondage tale? You might end up with a novel like Power Exchange, the latest offering from Madeleine Oh. In amongst the whips and chains, can a young schoolteacher find true love? If you read this book, you'll find out.


This is the story of Annie Cavendish, the teacher, and her beloved, an executive type named Mark. Mark has some friends, and those friends share some curious interests. Through various social encounters, Annie meets Alan and Jane, a couple with an open marriage. (In fact, she meets Alan first, as the second male in a hot threesome, and only later finds out that he's married.) She also gets to know Claudine, a dominatrix, and Tom, her submissive who just happens to be a well-known television star, too. Along with several other parties, Annie and Mark travel through a number of well-described scenarios, as Mark introduces his sweetheart to the joys and challenges of sexual submission.


This book does a fine job of accurately depicting several kinds of D/s couples. Many people outside the BDSM culture don't realize that everyone is different, that not all couples play in the same way or do the same things. Readers have, unfortunately, been treated to a good number of cliches elsewhere (such as the submissive always addressing the dom as "Sir" or "Madam") and this book steers clear of those stereotypes. If you want to read good descriptions of BDSM activities, either for edification or arousal, Power Exchange will not disappoint.


In fact, the only disappointment I found was Annie herself. Page after page, poor Annie debates whether she even wants to get involved with Mark and his friends. Even as the book approaches the end, she mentally resists as much as she did in the beginning. Of course, I won't tell you how she ultimately decides, but then, I probably don't need to. Still, I would have liked to see Annie's psychological growth, to see more depth in her decision to become a submissive, a depiction that would have been much more realistic. She seemed awfully rigid at times, what with her mind screaming "no!" as her body screamed "yes!" - doing it all for Mark, of course. Alas, so many submissive characters in so many books fall into the same trap.


But no matter. As a presentation of the great smorgasbord of BDSM activities, Power Exchange is an enjoyable and arousing read. If you're not afraid of floggers flying and people being tied up every which-ways, you'll definitely enjoy it.

Power Exchange
Power Exchange by Madeleine Oh is available for purchase through Ellora's Cave

Mark has found the perfect woman: a born submissive. Nothing is more exciting than the subjugation of an independent woman, but Mark soon discovers that while he can control desires of the flesh he cannot control desires of the heart.

Annie's lover reveals to her a most intriguing side to his personality, a lifestyle she is drawn to that is both fascinating and intimidating. She is about to learn more about her lover and his wishes, and about herself and her latent desires.

For the past five years, JZ Sharpe has been making up for the time she lost in a 20-year writer's block. She lives in the Pennsylvania mountains, where most of her friends and coworkers would be shocked and amazed by her secret life as a writer of erotica and science fiction. JZ Sharpe is a regular contributor to ENE. You can also find her work at About's Amateur Erotica, Adult Story Corner, Biblio Eroticus, Blood Moon Zine , Dare , Erotica Readers Association, HotErotica.Com and Scarlet Letters . Get lashed by the Sharpe Tongue.

Other ENE Features
All Text, Codes, Graphics © 2002 ENE. All Rights Reserved.