Moving On by Fabian Black
Andrew has a ready wit and a cheeky retort for just about any occasion, but his partner and Dominant, Thomas, has always suspected that his young lover harbours painful secrets. A visit to a Sunday morning car boot sale has unhappy repercussions for Andrew. He comes face to face with a feared object from his past, something he never thought he’d see again. He takes flight, leaving Thomas behind.
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
This is the second Fabian Black book I’ve read and while it’s ok I’m not sure I was invested enough in the characters to care. Additionally this book feels so incredibly close to the other Black book – The Jack and Danny Chronicles – that I worry this author’s books will all be very similar. There seems to be a familiar pattern with older men and incredibly bratty, immature younger men that are involved in a punishment spanking relationship. There is no on page sex and the chemistry is often offset by the bratty behavior thus leaving the relationship without a lot of heat or passion. Instead the charm is supposed to come from the bratty narrators and this is where the book loses me personally.
Once again we have a younger, immature first person narrator this time named Andrew. Andrew is suffering tremendous guilt over the suicide of his twin sister and often feels as though he doesn’t deserve any happiness. To compound the problem Andrew is often directionless and shiftless, needing the strong hand of Thomas to keep him from spiraling out of control. Unfortunately Andrew is rarely honest with Thomas and often lapses into selfish, self centered destructive behavior.
I liked Andrew somewhat better than Danny in the previous book although their behavior is almost identical. At least in this book Andrew had some deep underlying emotional issues that prompt his behavior. That doesn’t make the behavior ok and more often than not I wanted to shake Andrew for his selfish, totally immature actions. Andrew careens through the book from one destructive path to another. The consequences of his behavior are often spanking or paddling, depending on the transgression, but through it all Andrew rarely takes any responsibility. Andrew frequently breaks Thomas’ rules and has temper tantrums in many public places. Through it all Thomas responds with a quiet strength and dignity.
Unfortunately Thomas’ motivations are largely mysterious and other than enjoying the punishment dynamic, I’m not sure what Thomas gets out of the relationship. It doesn’t feel passionate and long lasting, instead Thomas provides a fatherly direction for Andrew while Andrew petulantly acts out. I would have like some on page sex scenes only to see a more intense emotion and some passion between the two men instead of just a punishment orientated relationship. I wouldn’t even call this BDSM though if it is, it’s incredibly mild at best.
I also had some issues with the writing as the British phrasing is awkward and tries too hard in many places. Descriptors such as “psychoanalytic sigh” just kept dragging me out of the narrative, similar to the editing mistakes that were present. The story tends to tell rather than show and Andrew’s voice is a key to the success of the story. If you find him charming, sympathetic, or engaging, then you’ll likely enjoy the novella. If you, like me unfortunately, find him selfish and immature then the story likely won’t work as well. Fans of this author are likely to enjoy this offering as it reads very close to the other novel I’ve read and the familiar arc and character development will appeal to those fans.