Photograph y Tanith Davenport
Link to buy Photograph (What’s Her Secret?)
Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles
Sting Factor (kink): 2 out of 5
Photograph by Tanith Davenport is a novel of 61,000 words, or just under two hundred pages of actual story. The text is double spaced and easy to read. The writing is smooth and professional with little authorial intrusion. The point of view shifts between the two main characters—twin sisters—for most of the first half of the novel. After that it pretty much stays with Tara, the more conflicted of the two sisters.
Tara and Azure Thornton are fraternal twins. They come from a military family and both were commissioned into the British Army. Azure is invalided out with PTSB while Tara still serves in the Royal Engineers. Azure wins a contest and meets the man of Tara’s dreams: Liam Wilder, billionaire amusement park magnate. After a whirlwind romance Azure and Liam marry. The two sisters become estranged.
The novel opens two years after Azure’s marriage with an attempt at reconciliation. Tara is invited to join Azure and Liam as guests on the mega yacht of fellow billionaire Nik Sugiyama, along with more than a dozen other couples, for a twenty-one day cruise of the Mediterranean. Oddly, the yacht doesn’t seem to have a name. It greatly resembles a luxury liner and the activities on board rarely vary from those you might expect on a cruise open to the public. Except for a few supporting characters, most of the other guests promptly disappear from the story.
Tara still carries a torch for Liam Wilder. She also carries his photograph. The Royal Engineer lieutenant is strong, capable and independent woman. She demonstrates this by protecting her sister from paparazzi at the first stop of the cruise and later on a nut with a gun. But Tara is also the most conflicted. She can’t seem to have a long term relationship, instead bouncing from one night stand to another. She uses the men she meets and then discards them. Then she meets Ryan Hyde, the tall ectomorphic accountant for the Surgiyamas. He is confident and not the least intimidated by Tara. For once she resists dragging him to bed with her on the first night. They get to know each other. As time progresses he slowly displaces Liam in Tara’s heart.
The story unfolds slowly. Readers in a rush to get to “the good stuff” will be disappointed. Most of the sex is conventionally vanilla. It’s only very late in the book that anything to do with dominance and submission appears. It’s also where the reader can find any sort of kink. But it is an essential part of this story.
The book series is “what’s her secret.” All of the main female characters have secrets. They unfold as the story progresses. This reviewer won’t spoil it for the reader. Some are predictable. Some not.
Nerd readers will spot several plot holes. This nerd wonders if the billionaires in this story were all born yesterday: Paparazzi are a known phenomenon, with all their money they couldn’t hire some security and even an advance team?
But all that aside, if the reader wants a leisurely unfolding story with a satisfyingly romantic ending, this is the story for you.
Reviewed by Ted Ursi