By Anya Howard
Beyond the Page Publishing
Author Anya Howard, an established writer of such paranormal and erotic titles as Submissive (Kensington Publishing) and Naughty Elizabeth’s Romantic Surrender (Red Rose) has returned with a compelling new title. The Story of Odette: The Swanmaiden’s Unveiling combines mythology, erotica and BDSM in grand style.
Continuing with themes presented in Wings of the Swan from Sexy Beast IV, the book’s title character, Odette is the daughter of Inga, a descendant of the goddess Freja, and Saxton chieftain Rulf. As a young girl, she is orphaned and her half-sister’s husband Thierry takes her to the kingdom of Athla to be trained as a submissive. Odette receives tutelage at the hands-and whips- of her mistress Helrose and master Lord Eryan. Rebellious at first, she soon accepts her fate, serving as a housemaiden in Athla and tending to her master’s needs. She is still a descendant of Freja, however, and her ability to shapeshift has remained intact.
While Odette warms to life in Athla, her cruel half-sister Lady Vanda, has other plans for her. Vanda considers her half-sister an evil pagan and sets out to destroy her, along with her cohorts, the vampire priests of Loki. She sends the warrior Cu’lugh to Athla to retrieve her sister, without revealing her sinister motives.
Complications arise when Cu’lugh falls for Odette, and Odette does indeed return to her half-sister’s residence – without him. She endures the wrath of Vanda and the Loki priests. But her perseverance – and the power she’s retained from the goddess Freja , help her fight back.
Anya Howard weaves a lush tale with many layers of characters, kingdoms and supernatural beings. Odette is a sympathetic yet strong-willed main character, and Vanda is suitably villainous without becoming a caricature. While the accent is on characterization and ritual BDSM, there are a few short but explicit fight/sacrifice scenes scattered throughout the book. The Story of Odette is an entertaining read that will entice you into its sensual, mystical world. - Jade Blackmore
Buy the book here: Amazon.com