The time of the annual Festival had arrived and Graye Manor bustled with a frenzy of activity. Its rolling, manicured grounds echoed with the sharp sounds of a whip striking human flesh and shrill cries filled with both pain and pleasure followed, bringing excited smiles and eager anticipation to the faces and hearts of the listeners. The time of the Cirque de Sade Festival had finally arrived and, with it, the final magnificent display of skills, beauty, and selfless service that would end at the auction block. Guests would be arriving from all over the globe to be served, and entertained, by the staff of this unique establishment. The outside world knew nothing about its purpose, or the real history behind the cold stone walls, and Dorian Graye intended it to remain that way. Things happened in the Manor—things that the real world would never embrace…
Pride, Integrity, Loyalty and Love, the acronym of PILL, is a hard one for many to swallow in the eyes in today’s society. In honor of his mentor’s vision for a rich alternative to the old world ideas of domestic service, Graye Manor was founded. Select applicants, known as Graye’s Maids, are trained in the classic skills of a domestic – with one major difference. Each is drawn to the darker side of service and flourishes under the command of a hard palm upon a bare backside- or even, in more hardcore cases, the slash of a whip.
Dorian Graye is a master of the Florentine long- tail whip, and has made an art form of throwing the braided snakes to paint a human canvas. Like his namesake, he plays hard, but he loves even harder. Under the slightly sadistic exterior is a man whose greatest desire is for each of his beloved maids to find happiness. He allows nothing to stand in their way, and is willing to sacrifice anything to grant them their heart’s desire… even if the journey to that desire means suffering as the door to previously unspoken taboos are opened and explored.
The Whip Master is a story about power, surrender, difficult choices and sacrifice during the decadent Cirque de Sade Festival, where anything is possible, and everything is probable.
I’m a relatively new fan of Hayse’s work, and I have found that I do enjoy them for the most part. This story caught my attention and I did enjoy it, but at the same time I was a bit confused about it as well.
I loved the story behind how Dorian Graye became who he was, and the training that he did with the Maids. I felt like Hayse did a great job at explaining all of that as well as including a bit of erotica to the story overall. I felt like Dorian’s character was very strong, and it was very easy to connect with him – you could tell that he really truly did care about the Maids that he had.
The problem that I had with the story overall though was that so much of the story was focused on Annie I felt. This story to me felt like it was a prequel to her story and that the information given about Graye and the Manor was just that – information given to lead up to Annie’s story. Don’t get me wrong, I did still enjoy it, but I was hoping for more about Dorian personally. Also the ending of the story felt very rushed as well.
I did enjoy how Hayse added different elements to this story that I haven’t seen in others before. Like the different types of displays that were shown, as well as the whipping scene. While I am personally not a fan of whipping scenes, this one was done extremely well to where I actually enjoyed it.
Overall, I did enjoy this story, and I do plan to read the next book which is about Annie.