L E May’s debut novel is a long and absolutely wonderful read, blending romance, erotica and character drama into something I’ve never really encountered before – a full-length rom-erotica novel in which I both really cared about the characters and was really aroused by the sexual content. But its real genius is how it uses standard tropes of the genre such as a love triangle and a sexually dominant man without ever straying over to the dull clichéd nonsense of billionaires and BDSM contracts.
Olivia Jones is one of the most honest, believable leads I’ve ever come across, and – surprising for me, since I normally favour plot-lines about things like evil cults and parallel universes – I found myself really caring about her expanding business and her quest for happiness in her own body; not to mention her complicated love life. But unlike most love triangles, with Inspired there’s not an obvious good guy / bad guy choice; Stephen is just as flawed as his counterpart/rival Chris, and there is no denying that Olivia and Chris share a sexual chemistry which almost set my Kindle on fire on numerous occasions. The sexual side of the novel may take a while to appear, but once it does it just keeps on giving, cleverly mirroring Olivia’s descent into obsession and exhibitionism. And the progression of the romance(s) and the reasons for the steps towards and away from the love interests make sense and feel really organic, rather than being obviously shoehorned in to force a move from one guy to another.
Side note: as someone who has made the real life transition from sad, unhealthy slob to happy but measured fitness freak, I loved the accuracy and detail in the exercise and dietary stuff!
Inspired by Night is a great read, and considering it’s a full-length novel for the price of most shorts it’s an absolute steal. Like the best novels it played like a film in my head, and the second half of the book made my lunch breaks at work VERY interesting. There is simply no excuse not to buy this book!