REVIEW: Kidnapped for Christmas by Evangeline Anderson

Plus-sized and practical, Jillian Marks is the responsible one in her family. She got all the common sense and her little sister Sabrina got all the skinny genes. When Sabrina plans a custom kinky kidnapping as a Christmas present for herself, Jillian tries to talk her out of it but her ditzy sister won’t listen.

Muscular and intense, Kyle Stephens is a Dom who is looking for a permanent sub—a curvy woman who can submit in the bedroom but still think for herself. He takes Sabrina’s file but mistakenly ’naps the wrong sister, grabbing Jillian instead of Sabrina. Now Jillian is bound and gagged in a dungeon, learning to submit to the man of her dreams who has her…Kidnapped for Christmas.

Warnings: dubcon, body shaming

Category: M/F

Kidnapped for Christmas is an incredibly cheesy, short and sweet BDSM smut book. It explores consensual non-consent play, the world of Pro-Domming, and is filled with corny romance tropes. While it is set around Christmas, it’s not exactly a Christmas story in any way other than incidentally, and is mostly just porn with a sprinkling of melodrama plot.

WRITING
The writing here is fine, the prose is well crafted and the main character’s voice comes through well. There isn’t a whole lot to the story here; Jilian’s sister Sabrina buys a kidnapping roleplay scenario from a Pro-Dom company, but oopsie: Jilian is the one they pick up by accident! It’s an interesting way to get dubcon out of a con-noncon kink scenario, and adds a good amount of drama and spice to the narrative and content. That said, I would have liked it a lot more if it wasn’t so pre-occupied with weight, kinkshaming, and not-like-the-other-girls complexing. The book advertises itself as a plus-sized romance; meaning that the main lead woman is a bigger girl, not skinny. This is great, and I am all for more body diversity in erotica since it is a genre that is sorely lacking in body diversity. The problem however is the narrative’s focus on shaming skinny women instead of simply uplifting bigger women. Lots of passages about how stupid and flaky Jillian’s skinny sister is, about how Jilian is proud of having more intelligence than skinny girls, how skinny girls are just “bags of bones”…. lots of misogynist ideas about women being applied solely to skinny women here but that doesn’t make them less misogynist. Add to that the kinkshaming that goes on in how both Jilian and Kyle talk about girls who like kink play, and it can get a little exhausting.

EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
Of course, we don’t come to this kind of erotica looking for a lot of emotional depth or dynamic character exploration and development. Its cheesy and its entirely one-dimensional, and its emotional narrative is entirely taken up by miscommunication. I never understood the apparent chemistry between the two of them, didn’t really get much of a connection from them aside from just that they found each other hot. To be perfectly honest, as a person who is less visually oriented in attraction, this just wasn’t enough for me to be invested in them. But then again, this is just an erotica novella that really isn’t trying to be anything more than porn. It isn’t presenting itself like its an in-depth character study or a big emotional epic, so its hard to fault it for lacking in this department.

WORLDBUILDING
For all that this is presented like its a Christmas book, it really has nothing to do with Christmas aside from taking place around Christmas time. This is a common complaint I have with ‘Christmas’ stories, and I won’t pretend like its a surprise or a unique failing of this book in particular. But I was hoping for a little more set dressing, maybe some Christmas-lights bondage or something. It just felt like Christmas was tacked on to the story as an afterthought and I wish that more of an effort had been made to make this feel like a Christmas story. Of course the other aspect of the worldbuilding here is the Pro-Domming kink scene. And… I honestly don’t know how well researched that was. I don’t doubt that there are, in big cities, Pro-Domming packages like this- I have never had the pleasure of living anywhere where such a thing was accessible to me, or I’m sure I’d be a regular customer! But it doesn’t really feel like the author knows much about it, even if it is based on a real service. Even the non-pro kink scene that some of the characters talk about feel like the author knows kink exists, but hasn’t really delved into it much. This ends up feeling like a picture of what a person interested in kink thinks a kink scene might be like.

STEAMINESS
The writing in the sex scenes is pretty well done, and there is a very nice feeling of tension once the kidnapping scene has commenced due to the lack of Jillian being able to tell her ‘kidnapper’ that he’s got the wrong girl. This turns an otherwise con scene into a dubcon one, as Jillian gradually realizes how much she actually likes the kink play. Interestingly, I actually felt more unsettled for Kyle than for Jillian here, since he thinks he is playing with a willing partner/paying customer. What ended up killing the scenes for me, however, is just how often Kyle breaks character. If I had paid someone to kidnap me and give me a scare, and they kept breaking scene to say things like “you paid for this, I don’t know why you’re fighting so much” or “you know you can use your safeword, right?” I would probably want my money back. It’s also that very unrealistic “usually sex workers wont date their clients but YOU’RE the SPECIAL EXCEPTION” trope which is… well, I get why it’s an appealing fantasy so I can’t be too mad but it sure made me roll my eyes.

All in all, this was a decent premise, but could have been much better executed. Its got potential, but I think the author needs to let her plus sized characters be plus sized without constantly framing them in relation to skinniness, and to let her dubcon be more dubcon without the constant checking in. There’s a certain amount of handholding of the reader that the narrative does that I could have done without, and for the love of Christmas please don’t talk shit about “freaky girls” in a book advertising itself directly to freaky girls.

Have you read Kidnapped for Christmas? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!

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