This is a cream puff. It’s a sugary, gooey confection you bite into and there is flakey bits all over your blouse and custard oozing out, but you aren’t sorry you did it. Our protagonists, Lady Portia and her faithful bodyguard Denham start out as unrequited, and within a chapter, rush from lust to bed at speed- we aren’t making any pretence this isn’t porn.
With that in mind, if you are looking for exact historical accuracy, this might not be for you. Rich heiress runs a sexual dream society attended by pairings and a triad from other books, and does good works. The past-ish background serves largely as a fig leaf to add propriety to rebel against and peril to intrude. As such, the premises of the plot can fall apart if you stare too long at them.
This is gentle femdom. Don’t expect bondage or sadomaschism more intense than scratches, but do enjoy that our 38 year old heroine and 44 year old hero are plausibly into each other and her control, while also keeping them as firmly defined equals outside the context of their kinks.
Honestly my biggest criticism is the speed the story was rushed interfered with the possability of larger tension and made the peril of the story a bit less fleshed in favour of Denham or Portia yearning for each other. But!
Holy hell is it a breath of fresh air to get a protagonist that is not a professional. Not that being a pro is bad, but the vast majority of femdom romances targeted for the female gaze approach the subject as a story of an idealized dominatrix, usually a service top. The characters like eachother and compliment eachother. They have plausible chemistry.
Davidson looks like she knows what she is talking about, when it comes to femdom, and although her larger suite of offerings covers pretty much the gamut of relationships (looks like M/f, a mmf triad, lesbian and gay make up the other books in her Surrey Sexual Freedom Society series, for example) this is not a tick box sampler or someone writing outside their depth.
This may be pure romance-land in the larger framing, but expect a good fusion of modern tastes and historical vulgarity- nobody does a cockstand or has a mossy grot, but there are no throbbing members. I would have a hard time placing the exactness of period, but they do manage birth control that is both plausible and historically accurate.
In all, I wish Davidson had the time to let this develop properly with more length, but having tasted her wears, even if I might have a stray crumb or two to brush away, I will be back to this particular bakery again.
Want a copy? At His Lady’s Command is a kindle exclusive. I bought it myself on a whim and have received no sponsorship to review.