For Real Lemon Meringue Pie

About six months ago, I got an email from romance writer Alexis Hall. He wanted to know if I’d consider developing a lemon meringue pie recipe for this kinky book he was writing about a chef and a doctor. Of course I agreed and therefore ended up helping with this book, For Real (out everywhere today), in a super small and amusing way. But since I kinda qualify as a beta reader, I’m not going to do a full review. I just want to share some personal and HELLO BIASED reflections on why I thought this was a terrific book. And also pictures of pie. You’ve been warned.

There are lots of things I loved about For Real, mainly the large age gap between the heroes, the realistic, engaging portrayals of BDSM within the context of a really romantic story and the dueling first person, present/past point of view which could have gone really far wrong, but didn’t. Toby is a short-order cook and he’s believably, adorably, relatably nineteen to Laurie’s jaded, cynical, tired thirty-seven. In a quirky way, their relationship kind of works because they have such a large gap in their experience–with life, with work and yes, with kink. When I discovered that Toby is the dominant in the book, I liked it even better because it’s so not the typical romance pattern. Toby is a new dominant and has lots of questions, but also lots of enthusiasm which works for Laurie as nothing else has in recent memory. If I were writing a real review, which I’m not, I’d also go into how the book makes some really insightful points about sex and kink in romance.

Laurence
Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all
played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty
and tired of going through the motions of submission.Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable.  Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he
knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants
him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg,
he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t
surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to
hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It
can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.

– See more at: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/for-real#sthash.jIPDQKcK.dpuf

Laurence
Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all
played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty
and tired of going through the motions of submission.Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable.  Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he
knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants
him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg,
he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t
surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to
hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It
can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.

– See more at: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/for-real#sthash.jIPDQKcK.dpuf

 

And scene with the lemon meringue pie recipe in it is a very kinky, very sexy scene. It’s also creative, funny and tender. But it’s not actually my favorite. For all that For Real is a smoking hot BDSM romance, it’s also incredibly romantic. The scene that melted me was when Laurie takes Toby to a dinner at his old college and at the tail end of this slightly awkward excursion…I can’t even…Toby teaches Laurie to quickstep in a courtyard. I don’t think it’s just because I’m a dancer that this scene put a completely silly smile on my face, but it might be. It’s as sensual as any of the BDSM scenes in the book and even requires Laurie surrendering to being led–in a venue he’s much less familiar with than being tied up. But mostly I thought it was a brief moment of utter loveliness–romance perfection even–that has stuck with me for months and that I now think about every time I quickstep. It’s about love and trust and becoming a “we” instead of a “you” and a “me” in a way that has the potential for a healthy amount of humiliation. And that’s something I love about all of Hall’s books: how he fills recesses of hurt and vulnerability with things that are better. Maybe not all the way, and maybe not perfectly, but better.

For Real isn’t Hall’s cleverest, most daring book, with the lushest language, the starkest metaphor or the largest concept. It’s just real and glorious in equal measures. I think it’s his best one yet.

But hey, I’m biased.

Oh, and the recipe for the pie is in the book. So you should, ya know, get it. In fact, until June 7th, there’s a giveaway going on over on my post at Read a Romance Month where you could win a copy of For Real, Rose Lerner’s Sweet Disorder or any number of other fabulous foodie romance prizes.

Disclosure: In case you somehow missed it, I beta read a section of For Real, wrote the lemon meringue pie recipe in the book, have a review column once a month at All About Romance with Hall and pester him via email frequently. I also received an ARC of For Real from the publisher. So you should obviously ignore everything I have to say about this book because BIASED in all the ways.

One comment

  1. […] simple syrup, but I’ve been wanting to do something combining lemon and thyme since making this lemon meringue pie in January. It’s a good […]

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