Jenre's Reviews > Garnet: A Season In Hell

Garnet by Syd McGinley
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's review
Feb 09, 11

bookshelves: bdsm, contemporary, m-m, romance, transexual
Read in January, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I’ve become rather addicted to Syd McGinley’s Dr Fell books in the last year and so when I saw this short I was interested in reading something by the author outside the Dr Fell world. The story is structured in two parts, both taken from the first person point of view of Cory. The first part concerns the six month ‘ownership’ of Cory by Bill and the second part looks at the period of time after the contract is over and the pair of men are trying to work through some of the issues in their relationship.

The blurb is slightly misleading, I think, because it doesn’t mention that Cory is pretrans male to female. He has agreed to be ‘owned’ for six months on the understanding that Bill will then pay for the sex change operation. Bill is gay, through and through. He’s not the slightest bit interested in women and so forces Cory to be a man for the six months they are together. The problem comes when the men fall in love. Bill knows that should Cory have the operation, Bill will no longer find him sexually desirable. In the end Cory has a choice: Either he chooses to accept himself as a cross-dressing man and keep Bill; or become a woman and lose the man he loves.

It’s a difficult choice and one that made me a little uncomfortable as a reader. I liked Cory. He’s lively and sarcastic and a bit of a woolly-headed drifter, but I sympathised both with his utter boredom of being a slave and his confusion over his feelings for Bill later in the book. It did feel a little like Bill was in control all the time, even later when the contract ended and Cory was the one who was constantly making sacrifices. Having said that, the fact that Cory is so flighty meant that his relationship with the steadier Bill worked well and I was happy with the way that the story concluded.

Despite only getting Cory’s point of view, I felt we that we find out enough about Bill to make him a well rounded character. The fact that I could see both sides of the problem, and sympathised with both men, shows that the author was successful in not allowing only Cory’s feelings to dominate the story.

There’s much more I could say about the story, such as the way the master/slave dynamic was difficult for both men; the wonderfully romantic scenes of the pair once the contract is over; and the way I liked that Bill was a great mix of stern and yet also considerate and tender to Cory. Those looking for an unusual D/s story with a romantic twist will probably like this story. I did and would recommend it.
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